Waterside Readiness

Understanding what it means to be 'Waterside ready' has been the subject of much debate in recent months and years. This page pulls together a set of resources to help academic staff redesign their modules and programmes and reconceptualise their learning and teaching practices in order to deliver an effective, tailored, learning experience through a blended mode of delivery.

Below you can find an explanation of what the final programme, or modules should look like in practice, with links to supporting documentation as appropriate. Further down this page you will also find information as to relevant C@N-DO workshops that will support you in your redevelopment work and also with the consequent changes to your learning and teaching practices.

On the right are the 6 videos that will give you an overview of learning and teaching at Northampton and the recent videos looking at contact time and who can help you become 'Waterside ready', as well as two case studies from members of staff who have made the shift in practice to blended learning - warts and all!

What does being "Waterside ready" Mean?

The following statement explains exactly what a 'Waterside-ready' programme will look like: 

The programme is taught through student-centred activities that support the
development of subject knowledge and understanding, independent learning and
digital fluency. Our face-to-face teaching is facilitated in a practical and
collaborative manner, clearly linked to learning activity outside the classroom.
Opportunities are provided for students to develop autonomy, Changemaker attributes
and employability skills.


What does “not being Waterside Ready” mean? Pedagogically, a programme isn’t 'Waterside ready' if one or more of the following statements is true:

  •  It makes regular use of broadcast (non-interactive) lectures
  •  NILE is primarily a content repository
  •  Online activity is an add-on to the face-to-face sessions
  •  It has not been through a CAIeRO or equivalent in-depth design intervention in the past 3 years
  •  There is no evidence of systematic enhancement since the last PSR

What does contact time mean?

"Contact time refers to the time allocated for students to get guidance and feedback from tutors. This time includes activities that take place in face-to-face contexts such as seminars, labs and workshops, as well as work-based learning, placements and educational visits. Contact time also includes structured, focused and purposeful activities that take place in online environments. Online contact time can be synchronous (using real-time environments such as Skype or Blackboard Collaborate) or asynchronous (using tools such as discussion forums, blogs or wikis). Online contact time is always characterised by personalised tutor presence and input within a specified timeframe. This definition is based on the one provided by the QAA (see page 4 of this document).

Contact time, together with time allocated for independent study and assessment, determines the total student study hours for a module or programme. Although there are separate hours allocated for each of these activities, they should always be clearly linked together in order to support effective learning."

Who can help us redesign our programmes and modules?

A useful contact point is the Learning Design team, on LD@northampton.ac.uk. They can advise on pedagogic design matters, facilitate workshops for you and your team and direct you to other sources of help where needed, for example, the Learning Technologists. Colleagues in the Institute of Learning and Teaching can also provide extensive guidance (Ale Armellini, Director of the Institute of Learning and Teaching; Shirley Bennett, Head of Academic Practice; Rachel Maxwell, Head of Learning and Teaching Development and Ming Nie, Research Assistant).

In addition, there are many resources available, case studies, videos and literature. Two key starting points are the LearnTech Blog (regularly updated with excellent examples of what works and what doesn’t) and of course our website, throughout will find information about Waterside readiness. 

Other teams that can support you in this transition include CfAP (The Centre for Achievement and Performance) and also the Academic Librarians. Both teams are available in the libraries at Park and Avenue.

C@N-DO Workshops to support blended learning and teaching

The following workshops are the most appropriate ones to attend in terms of aligning your learning and teaching practices with Waterside. To find out more, please click on each link, or speak to Shirley Bennett, Head of Academic Practice

* A word about Peer Observation ...

  • Would you like to see how some of these new approaches for Waterside are working in practice?
  • Would you like to experiment, with the opportunity for a colleague sharing the experience and helping you work out what worked well?
  • Are you already starting to put into practice new ideas, perhaps from a CAIeRO? Would you like the chance for peer feedback exploring how it's going?

Collaborative Observation can help you prepare for Waterside by giving you the chance to see active learning in practice, in the classroom or online, seeing how students actually respond to the new activities, with the opportunity to discuss the challenges and successes with other staff.  If you are starting to use new ways, again in the classroom or online, Collaborative Observation can give you a chance to ask a colleague to give you some feedback on how you are adapting your teaching style to the new context, or help you work out strategies for effectiveness.  

The choice of context, the focus or 'agenda' for the observation, the approach to feedback and discussion, and the person you work with are all yours.  


Please watch this video for an overview of the University of Northampton's approach to learning and teaching.

Terry Neville and Jane Bunce discuss teaching large cohorts, timetabling the working day and the academic year at Waterside.

Professor Ale Armellini, Director of the Institute of Learning and Teaching, discusses what it means to be 'Waterside ready'

A closer look at what is - and what isn't - in the definition of 'contact time' 

Lt for becoming 'Waterside ready'ooking at sources of support

Senior Lecturer in Law, Simon Sneddon talks about how his teaching is becoming "Waterside Ready"

Senior Lecturer in Education, Kyffin Jones, talks about how his teaching is becoming "Waterside Ready"