Teaching and learning projects have become increasingly popular in universities as a means to investigate new ways of teaching and engaging students in learning. Successful projects can be used to provide evidence of the impact of teaching innovations and make valuable contributions to the scholarship of teaching and learning.
This toolkit provides you with a range of resources, guidelines and ideas for managing and evaluating teaching and learning projects.
If you have any questions, please contact Yvonne Oberhollenzer (ITaLI Project Manager) at email@example.com.
What is project management all about?
In 2007, the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) commissioned The Learning Partnership to facilitate a workshop on leading and managing projects for managers of projects funded by ALTC. As a support for these workshops, they developed a set of guidelines to help teaching and learning project leaders optimise project success. More information about the guidelines can be found here.
In March 2016, ITaLI led a working session to explain the core tenets of the project management lifecycle in the context of teaching and learning, and explore approaches to current teaching and learning projects using project management principles. You can download the resources used during the working session here:
How should I plan a project?
The project scope template provides a starting point for asking key questions at the beginning of the project to ensure that everyone is on the same page about the project’s objectives and direction.
This worksheet helps you and your team to think through the scope of your project by answering three simple questions: What is the project? What is it not? What do I still need to clarify? Having a clear picture of what is included (and what is not included) in a project can be helpful for managing expectations about what can be achieved.
ITaLI has developed a project proposal template for collaborative teaching and learning projects, which provides guiding questions about the various aspects of the project that you should consider, including evaluation, dissemination and stakeholder engagement. It is more detailed than the project scope template and is designed to help you consider in more depth how you will implement your project.
For the Faculty-ITaLI Partnership Projects, ITaLI developed a matrix of roles and responsibilities for participating team members. This document may help you get ideas about how you could document the roles and responsibilities of your own team members.
When you start planning a project, you will need to consider institutional strategies and goals to which your project should contribute. Some current UQ strategies that you may wish to take into account are:
- UQ Strategic Plan: A key document in the University's cycle of planning and accountability that articulates UQ’s focus through a set of strategic objectives.
- UQ Student Strategy: UQ is developing a comprehensive student strategy to ensure that UQ provides transformational learning experiences for all students. A Green Paper was developed in 2015 to start the conversation about UQ’s future direction and priorities, and the Strategy will be released shortly.
Who are my stakeholders and how do I engage them?
The purpose of this guide and accompanying online resources is to provide UQ staff with an overview of best practice change management methodologies based on rigorous research. The aim of the guide is to assist in the development of change strategies that complement your work area and its operations (including change project planning), whilst supporting UQ staff through change. More information is available here.
Effective and efficient communication strategies have been identified as a critical success factor in project management. This ALTC paper highlights some of the issues to consider when developing a communications strategy.
This ALTC resource is intended for project leaders who are considering how they might use workshops within a project to support the achievement of project outcomes. The suggestions are relevant to seminars, plenary meetings, colloquia, learning circles and other dissemination strategies that seek to engage stakeholders interactively in order to build and support change practices in learning and teaching.
Stakeholder engagement is critical to the successful implementation and sustainability of projects. This resource, developed by Dr Deanne Gannaway, Lecturer in Higher Education, ITaLI, can be used to identify your stakeholders, map their influence and importance with regards to the project, and develop targeted communication strategies.
How can I disseminate my project outcomes?
This booklet is a how-to guide for project teams and others seeking an evidence-based approach to building dissemination into project design. It explores some key literature, provides a brief overview of D-Cubed project findings, introduces the D-Cubed Dissemination Framework, works through the development of a dissemination strategy and selection of dissemination activities, and provides a number of resources that address aspects of dissemination design.
The IMPEL model provides a framework for describing different types of change that can be achieved through educational development projects. Impact is the difference that a project makes in its sphere of influence, both during and after the funding period. Le Trobe University has a succinct overview of the IMPEL model here.
Dissemination of findings, materials and tools is key to the success of teaching and learning projects, as it provides an avenue to communicate innovations to others at the university and identify stakeholders who are interested in expanding the work into a new School or Faculty. ITaLI has put together a list of ideas for how you could disseminate your project ideas and findings to a broader audience.
One way to disseminate your project findings is to develop a case study. This case study template can be used to document the outcomes of collaborative teaching and learning projects. The case study template provides an opportunity to present information about your project with a summary of the evidence you have collected to a public audience. An example of how this template has been used in the past is available here.
UQ is the first Australian member of the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI). The ELI community is designed to facilitate the sharing of ideas and innovations among higher education professionals committed to advancing learning through IT innovation. As part of this membership, UQ staff can contribute case studies to the Seeking Evidence of Impact (SEI) program, which enables the collection of evidence to help staff make decisions about adopting and investing in best practices. A case study example can be found here. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to take advantage of this membership.
ITaLI’s interim and final report template can be used to report on the outcomes of collaborative teaching and learning projects. It is also a handy document for collecting information that can be used for other dissemination purposes, such as outreach sessions, case studies and presentations.
How can I evaluate my project?
This ALTC resource is designed to provide guidance and assistance on project and program evaluation. It focuses on what project evaluation is and what constitutes good practice in the evaluation of learning and teaching projects.
On 19 April 2016, Dr Kelly Matthews, Senior Lecturer in Higher Education, ITaLI, and Lucy Mercer-Mapstone, Research Assistant, ITaLI, led a session on how to make sure that the outcomes of teaching and learning projects are evaluated and published. Participants had the opportunity to learn about examples of published institutional research, design a research plan, and discuss how ITaLI could provide further support. The Session 1 slides “Applied research: Translating institutional research and SoTL into publications” can be found here and you can download a copy of the research proforma here.
ITaLI has developed an evaluation plan template to help guide project teams’ thinking about how to incorporate evaluation into their project plans. This guide is designed to outline a threshold approach to evaluation for a broad range of projects. It assumes that project outlines or plans have been previously developed before evaluation planning can occur. However, a summary of project considerations has been included to assist with the planning, implementation, monitoring, and finalisation of projects.
The theory of change framework may be used to explain how and why a project realises the results it achieves. It attempts to develop an understanding of the relationships between outcomes and the activities and contextual factors which may influence the outcomes. Professor Mick Healey, Higher Education Consultant, has used this approach to evaluate multiple teaching and learning projects.