Creative and technological skills
Creative and technological skills

Turning course design on its head - Leeds Trinity University

24 Apr 2019

To address the digital skills gap, Leeds Trinity University (LTU) has worked with local businesses to co-create a new Computer Science degree which went from inception to launch in just 15 months.

LTU works with a network of more than 3,000 businesses, includes two compulsory, credit-bearing placements in all its degrees and uses Employer Advisory Boards to ensure all degree programmes seek and react to industry feedback on curriculum content and skills.

In June 2017, LTU hosted a meeting with local employers to consider solutions to the digital skills shortage, resulting in an institutional decision to create a new Computer Science degree.

The context for development of this was New Skills for the New Economy: The Leeds Talent and Skills Plan 2017-2023 which highlights the city’s significant economic growth and outlines the risks associated with economic success – the possibility of demand outstripping supply in the city and falling behind other areas of the UK in terms of productivity and inadequate skill levels.

LTU saw an opportunity to use its work with employers to bridge the gap between these two contrasting aspects of Leeds and particularly related to the desire to create a “more inclusive economy in a compassionate city”, a vision which resonates with the mission, vision and values of LTU.

Rather than using a traditional and internal-facing course design process, utilising employer feedback at the end of the process, LTU turned degree development on its head with a four-stage process:

  1. It organised a course design workshop with key local employers, including Sky, Sky Betting and Gaming, BJSS and Infinity Works.
  2. Employers were given a basic degree framework to populate with skills required and suggestions for modules
  3. Academics, placement staff and a project consultant worked through the resulting material to identify three content pathways through the degree and came up with a programme structure which went back to the employer group for comment
  4. A second, assessment design workshop was run to consider the best ways of assessing students in each module to ensure the work they would undertake was relevant to industry practice. The staff team were then able to develop module outcomes and more detailed content outlines

A guiding principle throughout the process was the need to produce graduates who understand the creative, collaborative and team-driven nature of the digital and technology sector in the Leeds City Region.