Category Archives: Teaching Project Management

Designing assessments that are meaningful, equitable and manageable in UK higher education

Designing assessments for very large classes is often a problematic experience for academic staff, a challenge that is magnified in today’s highly internationalised student environment. In this post, which has been published on the Higher Education Academy website, I discuss the considerations and constraints that must be taken into account when designing assessments that are meaningful, equitable and manageable for both staff and students alike. The post will be of particular interest to the “newbie academic” or those facing the challenges of large class teaching for the first time. You can read the post here

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Using the VLE to support large class postgraduate teaching

Over the last 7 years I have learned to live with large class sizes.  Its not my preferred way of teaching as getting involvement and interaction from serried Screenshot 2015-07-14 16.18.10ranks of learners can be difficult, especially when many come from very different academic cultures and are not native English speakers.

So, I rely heavily on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to support my teaching.

Here is why I do this.

1. I want students to view the face to face lectures as only the start of the learning process and so I would like students to be able to access a range of additional resources to help their learning.  For example I have written a traditional module workbook that contains the core unit content for those students that prefer this approach, but have supplemented this with links to case studies, videos and narrated slide presentations to help students who learn differently. Continue reading Using the VLE to support large class postgraduate teaching

Context – The DNA of Professional Learning

My School of MACE colleague and Director of the Project Management Professional Development Programme, Callum Kidd has written this guest post on how context is embedded within the DNA of good professional development programmes. He argues that PMPDP image

“Professional Learning differs from traditional approaches to learning in that it encourages us to reflect on what we already know and understand, framed in a given context. It is the context itself that will determine whether or not our actions are successful, not the ideas or theory. Once we understand the context, we are better placed to critically evaluate those ideas and determine appropriate actions. However context is an ever-changing framework. We need to develop PM professionals that not only understand the context of today, but can plan ahead for the changing context of tomorrow “ Continue reading Context – The DNA of Professional Learning

Conceptual and practical approaches to managing project uncertainty

EPR Reactor LayoutIn safety-critical organisations such as civil-nuclear and aerospace, managing uncertainty is of particular importance as the consequences of failure can be potentially catastrophic. The challenge facing project managers in these complex, socio-technical environments is how to better understand the sources of project uncertainty and how to navigate a path through them in pursuit of successful project outcomes.Gas turbine engine

My Exploratory Study, just published in the International Journal of Project Management (Feb 2015), drew on interviews with project management practitioners from several large-scale projects in civil-nuclear and aerospace companies in the United Kingdom to identify four conceptual approaches that may be adopted by project managers to manage project uncertainty.

The first conceptual approach was a structural one: Continue reading Conceptual and practical approaches to managing project uncertainty

Safety–critical industries: definitions, tensions and tradeoffs

The purpose of this blog post is to define what is meant by the term safety- critical industry and to identify the tensions and trade-offs at play in these complex organisational settings in which my research is situated.Gas turbine engine

Falla defines safety-critical systems as ones “which need to possess the highest levels of safety integrity, where malfunction would lead to the most serious consequences” (Falla, 1997, p2). Wears describes safety-critical industries as “complex socio technical systems comprised of people in multiple roles and their societal and technical artifacts” (Wears, 2012, p4561). Combining these two definitions, a safety-critical industry can be said to be a system comprising individuals, technology and organisations in which safety is of paramount importance and where the consequences of failure or malfunction may be loss of life or serious injury, serious environmental damage, or harm to plant or property. A number of authors exemplify this broad definition of safety-critical industries by listing specific industry sectors which exhibit these characteristics. Commonly quoted examples of such industries are nuclear power plants, off-shore oil platforms, chemical plants, commercial aviation, and rail transport (Baron & Pate-Cornell, 1999; Amalberti, 2001; Kontogiannis, 2011; Wears, 2012). Continue reading Safety–critical industries: definitions, tensions and tradeoffs