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Ultraversity : the new way to graduate

Ultraversity Project Description
Background and Rationale

The Ultraversity project started in July 2003 with the aim of developing an undergraduate degree programme BA (Hons) Learning, Technology and Research. We have develop a personalised programme that enables students to gain a degree in three years through researching into their current work role. The focus of the degree is on students ‘understanding why and knowing how to ’ and develops individuals to become articulate, critically reflective problem solvers within their work context.

Our rationale for undertaking the project was that we wanted to provide a choice for students whose needs are not met by other undergraduate degree programmes. The students we were interested in helping were those who because they have family responsibilities and are committed to their work cannot easily attend a University to study face-to-face. In wanting to make this degree as inclusive as possible, we were mindful to keep costs to students to the minimum so that those with lower incomes are not excluded.

Innovation

The success of the project was made possible through the combination of the use of ICT technologies, student centred approaches to teaching and learning and assessment that combine to offer an innovative approach to an undergraduate degree programme. Our belief in a social constructivist philosophy of learning lead us to develop online communities of inquiry that provide the environment for collaboration and learning together as well as providing the social support network that helps students through their studies.

Research

Findings from the Ultraversity research project can be found on our project blog.

Project Aims

1. Create a programme of undergraduate education based on a synthesis of workplace learning, reflective practice, and action research in an online community of inquiry

2. Meet the needs of learners who want to study at undergraduate level but find it difficult to follow the traditional Higher Education routes because of work commitments and family responsibilities.

3. Research new forms of formative and summative assessment utilising online tools

4. Research new forms of organisation and work practice for teaching, administration, and support staff to change the practice of undergraduate Higher Education

Progress

In July 2005 our first 6 graduates were successful in gaining their degree qualification. The first large cohort of around 150 students successfully graduated in July 2006.


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