The Centre for Engineering and Design Education

Project Portfolio

A project for the School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering (AACME) to standardise the admin processes, forms and methods of support for placement activity across its three departments using the Service Design approach.

1. Background

The project adopted a Service Design approach to standardize the student placement processes across the AACME departments. It aimed to engage service users and service providers, students, admin staff and tutors, in the co-design of an efficient and friendly placement process. Service Design is a method that has been adopted in other research projects within CEDE and the project draws on, and contributes to, activities within the Jisc ‘Pedestal for Progression’ project http://progression.lboro.ac.uk.

2. Aims and Objectives

The project aimed:

  • To map the current procedures across the three departments
  • To make recommendations on what elements should be consistent and where each department would be better to keep their own processes.
  • To work with Anne Cage, Pat Griffin and Vaidhy Vaidhyanathan to define new processes across the departments
  • To involve students in the activity using Service Design and to ensure recommendations are made with a consistent student experience in mind

3. Overall Approach

The project adopted a Service Design methodology and Blueprinting techniques to achieve objectives outlined above. The project required the participation of administrative staff, students and co-tutors and interviews. Workshops adopting Service Design engagement tools, including co-design, were organised to encourage the buy-in of service provides and service users (administrative staff, students and tutors) in developments to the placement process. The work was structured in iterative phases of discovery and development.

The work addressed an important issue of efficiency both in terms of the processes adopted in the placement of students across the school: standardising the process allowed for collaborations across the school in terms of employer recruitment and of monitoring students in their places of work and ensures quality. The approach has been devised to safeguard administrative and tutoring staff from the imposition of practices (including those shaped by the purchase of commercial software packages) that and not tailored to individual school requirements. The success of the project was to be determined by the satisfaction of service providers and service users.

4. Outputs

Outputs included:

  • A new process map,
  • Recommendation of practices for administration and support for placements across the Schools
  • Standardised forms (see links below)
  • Guidance information for student and industrial tutors (see cheat sheet below)
  • Modifications to LEARN or the student portal to increase the access of students to placement opportunities (http://learn.lboro.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=9369)
  • Updates to Co-Tutor to help efficient in administration or monitoring http://co-tutor.lboro.ac.uk
  • Skill and experience within CEDE in the use of Service Design techniques

5. Outcomes

The impact on student experience of an improved and efficient placement processes across the schools will be significant. Service Design techniques to encourage participation in change will ensure that improvements to processes will be tailored both to the needs of administrators and academic staff, as well as to students. Outcomes will include:

  • an efficient placement process rolled out across the schools, adding to Loughborough’s already excellent student experience;
  • a more inviting placement process which will increase employer and student engagement, and;
  • a skill base within CEDE in the use and adoption of Service Design.

Photo of Melanie King Photo of Glynis  Perkin