Clear goals: accept the curve
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Methodology Design Narrative Template

(Information about the template at


  1. Situation

 An open course in Systems Biology, 4 weeks in length delivered at Masters (MSc) level and designed to given potential PGT students a taste of the subject area (background, methodologies, tools and outputs and ... potential employment prospects).



  1. Task

 Define a set of success critieria for the course - agreed by all stakeholders and visible to the senior management team.



  1. Actions (How did you try to address the issue?)


 The course management team put togther a set of goals and success criteria for the running of the course - circulated for comment by all stakeholders. These comments were then integrated. 

Activity goal(s) or intended outcome (“X”)



Activity title & description


Activity materials



The “how” (steps A, B, C, that lead to Y or the activity outcomes)


 Success critera were listed and  defined under three different categories:
1. Minimum expectation (What we want at a minimum)
2. Normal expectation (What we would like)

3. Bonus (What would be a bonus)


Activity outcomes (“Y”) (positive)




 An agreed set of success crtieria against whihc to develop and run the programme. One of the key items on this list was the expected completeion rate - bearing in mind the evidence from other MOOCs on teh high drop-off that would be expereinced.


  1. Reflection

 Having a clear set of goals is important when you have multiple stakeholders. What maybe seen as success in the management team's eyes may be seen entirley differently by the marketing team and likewise by the learning technologists and designers. Whta made this a valuable exercise was that the agreed goals kep everyone focused and the team did not become distracted by changing  focus mid-stream. For example - to not over react at the drop off curve and accept this as normal for an OOC and therefore in our agreed success criteria the potential high drop off rate was already accounted for. 



Author(s): Steven Warburton
Published at: 07 Jul 2014 15:07 GMT
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