CAIeROs and Course Redesign

The primary mechanism for course redesign at Northampton is through the CAIeRO workshop (more details below). However, this is not the only way that ILT can support programme, subject and module teams with the redesign of their modules or programmes. In 2014, the University introduced a team of Learning Designers as a way to provide additional resource as we move to a new approach for learning and teaching at Northampton. If you would like help with any aspect of course redesign - from a 1:1 session looking at a particular aspect of your module or programme (for example, Learning Outcomes, storyboarding, assessment practices etc), through to a full collaborative design workshop (the CAIeRO), then please contact LD@northampton.ac.uk

What is CAIeRO?

"CAIeRO - Creating Aligned Interactive educational Resource Opportunities, is referred to as Carpe Diem in the literature. Carpe Diem is a transformational process that develops institutional capability in online learning design (Conole, 2012) by enabling academic course teams to design for effective, participative online learning (Armellini & Jones, 2008; Salmon, Jones, & Armellini, 2008; Salmon, 2011). At its heart, is a two-day structured workshop (Armellini, Salmon, & Hawkridge, 2009). The ‘planner’ used in the workshop is itself an open resource.

Carpe Diem delivers a blueprint and a storyboard for the course being designed or redesigned, a set of tested e-tivities (Salmon, 2002) and an action plan for the course team to develop the course further. Carpe Diem’s transformative nature has enabled staff and students to capitalise on the affordances of many learning technologies and existing learning resources, which participants integrate into the design and delivery of curricula." (Armellini and Nie, 2013)

You may want to read some of the following resources to get a better idea about CAIeRO:

Below are some resources from the LearnTech blog giving you more information about the CAIeRO:



CAIeRO (elsewhere known as Carpe Diem) is a two-day workshop. The CAIeRO process focuses on helping your team to design for effective and participative online and blended learning. Its strap-line is ‘invest two days of your time and get your course online’, although it applies to blended learning as well as 'pure' online delivery. The whole course team + learning technologists are required for the whole of the process.

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What is involved in the CAIeRO process?

Essential to the process is the pre-CAIeRO Meeting. Ideally this occurs a week or two before the CAIeRO event and involves the full programme or module team as well as the CAIeRO facilitator, although it may occur with only the module or programme leader present. The purpose of the pre-CAIeRO is to explore key themes emerging from module feedback from the past three years, clarify expectations about what the CAIeRO itself will involve, gain an understanding of any key areas of focus during the two days along with an appreciation of the current direction of travel in learning and teaching at Northampton.  It is also a crucial opportunity to clarify any logistical issues (room, timings, equipment, lunch!).

The CAIeRO process is a participant-centred session (meaning: participants are expected to work hard!), over two days, where the facilitator takes the course team through six stages, on which there is quite a bit of research already – see  references at the bottom (deliverables in bold).

  1. Blueprint for the course or module – a revised and agreed spec.
  2. Storyboard: The storyboard incorporates any face-to-face and online components (synchronous and asynchronous), aligned to the learning outcomes and assessment.
  3. Prototyping: We design specific elements of the storyboard straight into NILE. Not content, but what learners are expected to do with it (e-tivities and assessments).
  4. Reality checking: Students are invited to review the team's work and feed back any changes. The team needs to 'appoint' a reality checker for 1pm on the second day. Their task will take about 90 minutes.
  5. Review and adjust: We take those suggestions on board and modify things accordingly.
  6. Action Plan: Participants commit to specific actions by certain dates, which will be reviewed at the follow-up session.

Because of the structure of the process and the team-building nature of it, CAIeRO is not a workshop that people should 'dip in and out of'. The sudden appearance (or disappearance) of team members half-way through the day is disruptive and can potentially slow down the process, making the session less effective. Plus, it prevents those members from taking ownership of what is being created. We therefore request that those who attend, make a commitment to this and stay for the whole day, both days.

CAIeRO at Northampton

CAIeROs have been in use at Northampton for a number of years. A summary of how CAIeRO has been used and integrated in different schools at Northampton can be viewed and downloaded here. This document was developed by Rob Howe, Head of Learning Technology.

Next step

To arrange a CAIeRO workshop for your course team, contact your L&T Excellence Coordinator or further discuss with the Learning Design team.

If you are the sole tutor on a module, you may find that the CAIeRO for Individuals is more appropriate. This workshop is open to any academic to attend.

Further reading

  • Armellini, A., & Aiyegbayo, O. (2010). Learning design and assessment with e-tivities. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(6), 922-935. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2009.01013.x
  • Armellini, A., & Jones, S. (2008). Carpe Diem: Seizing each day to foster change in e-learning design. Reflecting Education, 4(1), 17-29. http://tinyurl.com/58q2lj
  • Armellini, A., & Nie, M. (2013). Open educational practices for curriculum enhancement. Open Learning, 28(1), 7-20. doi: 10.1080/02680513.2013.796286
  • Armellini, A., Salmon, G., & Hawkridge, D. (2009). The Carpe Diem journey: Designing for learning transformation. In T. Mayes, D. Morrison, H. Mellar, P. Bullen, & M. Oliver (Eds.), Transforming higher education through technology-enhanced learning (pp. 135-148). York: The Higher Education Academy. http://bit.ly/1XL7ncN
  • Salmon, G. (2013). E-tivities: the key to active online learning (2nd ed.). London and New York: Routledge. See especially Chapter 4.
  • Salmon, G., Jones, S., & Armellini, A. (2008). Building institutional capability in e-learning design. ALT-J, Research in Learning Technology, 16(2), 95-109. 
  • Salmon, G., Gregory, J., Lokuge Dona, K., & Ross, B. (2015). Experiential online development for educators: The example of the Carpe Diem MOOC. British Journal of Educational Technology, 46(3), 542-556. doi: 10.1111/bjet.12256
  • Salmon, G., & Wright, P. (2014). Transforming teaching through Carpe Diem learning design.Education Sciences, 4, 52-63. doi: 10.3390/educsci4010052