A single source of truth for curriculum management at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Manchester Met’s journey towards a single source of truth for curriculum information: In this case study we hear from Lucy Mullan, Curriculum Management Systems Coordinator and Julie Watson, Director of Curriculum Management, about Manchester Met’s key drivers, challenges, and learnings with Worktribe Curriculum.

University College London

The drivers for finding a new system:

Before Worktribe, all unit and programme documentation at Manchester Met was recorded in a range of formats and stored in various locations.

“When a request for a document or information came to our team, it was likely that multiple folders would need to be searched and different trackers checked to find the correct version. We would always work it out, but that process was not an easy one. There was no consistency and as we are a large institution, the amount of documentation required was, and still is high, and it was becoming untenable. Therefore, we started the process of identifying a Curriculum System to implement and the decision was made to go forward with Worktribe.” – Lucy Mullan


Manchester Metropolitan University requirements for the new system:

When looking through the original list of functional requirements for a curriculum system, Julie Watson said the number was approaching 100 in total. 

“But if you had asked any of the officers involved in the curriculum approval and amendment process their wish list would be simple:

-Reduce the proliferation of paperwork.

-Store the documents in a single location, with simple access.

-Deal with the nightmare of versioning.”


The team, the approach, and the challenges:

Manchester Met had a very small team within Curriculum Management tasked with the Worktribe project. The team’s approach was to start with developing a strong foundation, replicating Unit and Programme specifications in Worktribe. Early on in the process Covid19 hit which impacted the management of the project. As teaching delivery methods were adapted to suit online/hybrid delivery, there was an increase in the volume of curriculum changes that would need processing at pace, diverting staff resource away from the curriculum build.  Working from home removed the opportunity for an impromptu chat or quick brainstorming session in the office. All training had to be provided over Teams. It became evident to the team that the original deadline of December 2020 to have all their units and programme records built in Worktribe was not going to be met, and a revised deadline was agreed.


Gathering data and preparing for a change of systems:

The first task was to download all the curriculum from the current student record system, and manually cross reference this against the data in all the other sources.

“Due to the large volume of amendments undertaken over recent years, one of our main priorities was to ensure that what was being built in Worktribe matched with the most up-to-date version of the curriculum in our student record system” – Lucy.

At that point, changes in delivery model and delivery patterns were determined one academic year at a time, and it was not envisaged that the changes/disruption would last as long as they did.  A one-off, at pace process for recording amendments evolved, with the process for recording amendments changing each year resulting in an increase in the volume of changes that would have to be subsequently updated in Worktribe.

Data quality was a top priority said Lucy. “Checking the data against the curriculum in our current system, to ensure alignment, and it is still something we do now. We also undertook a lot of manual checking of build completed by agency staff, as without the curriculum knowledge there was more chance of a misinterpretation of our curriculum content.”


Worktribe’s support through implementation:

Prior to switching over to the live system, Manchester Met went through Worktribe’s implementation process with access to a test system. Through this whole process, Julie said that the team was extremely well supported by Worktribe. “As well as having weekly meetings with our account manager, we had training and development sessions.  They were our sounding board on numerous occasions, and our account manager was able to provide examples of how other institutions have tackled some of the set-up issues, and also check some of our proposals in terms of simplifying some complex programme structures.”


Taking Worktribe live!

Now with a live system, the Manchester Met team has a new source of assistance from the Worktribe Support Team. Through Tracker they can raise bugs and ask questions, which are usually dealt with on the same day within a couple of hours. “No question is too small or unimportant, believe me, I’ve asked a lot of trivial questions!” said Lucy.

Another form of support is through the Worktribe user groups and Client Partnership meetings. “This has been an extremely positive and rich experience for us, whether it’s getting a different point of view on how to approach an activity, or simply building our confidence knowing that similar institutions are approaching things in the same way. It does feel that our feedback is important to Worktribe, and we are hoping to see some of this reflected in future upgrades.”


What’s next for Manchester Metropolitan University, Curriculum and Worktribe?

“Lots more!” said Julie.

Manchester Met plans to enhance the breadth of data captured in Worktribe to support wider institutional requirements, to inform and support workload planning, and improve curriculum efficiencies.