Principles in Patterns (PiP) : Evaluation of Impact on Business Processes

Macgregor, George (2012) Principles in Patterns (PiP) : Evaluation of Impact on Business Processes. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

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The innovation and development work conducted under the auspices of the Principles in Patterns (PiP) project is intended to explore and develop new technology-supported approaches to curriculum design, approval and review. An integral component of this innovation is the use of business process analysis and process change techniques - and their instantiation within the C-CAP system (Class and Course Approval Pilot) - in order to improve the efficacy of curriculum approval processes. Improvements to approval process responsiveness and overall process efficacy can assist institutions in better reviewing or updating curriculum designs to enhance pedagogy. Such improvements also assume a greater significance in a globalised HE environment, in which institutions must adapt or create curricula quickly in order to better reflect rapidly changing academic contexts, as well as better responding to the demands of employment marketplaces and the expectations of professional bodies. This is increasingly an issue for disciplines within the sciences and engineering, where new skills or knowledge need to be rapidly embedded in curricula as a response to emerging technological or environmental developments. All of the aforementioned must also be achieved while simultaneously maintaining high standards of academic quality, thus adding a further layer of complexity to the way in which HE institutions engage in "responsive curriculum design" and approval. This strand of the PiP evaluation therefore entails an analysis of the business process techniques used by PiP, their efficacy, and the impact of process changes on the curriculum approval process, as instantiated by C-CAP. More generally the evaluation is a contribution towards a wider understanding of technology-supported process improvement initiatives within curriculum approval and their potential to render such processes more transparent, efficient and effective. Partly owing to limitations in the data required to facilitate comparative analyses, this evaluation adopts a mixed approach, making use of qualitative and quantitative methods as well as theoretical techniques. These approaches combined enable a comparative evaluation of the curriculum approval process under the "new state" (i.e. using C-CAP) and under the "previous state". This report summarises the methodology used to enable comparative evaluation and presents an analysis and discussion of the results. As the report will explain, the impact of C-CAP and its ability to support improvements in process and document management has resulted in the resolution of numerous process failings. C-CAP has also demonstrated potential for improvements in approval process cycle time, process reliability, process visibility, process automation, process parallelism and a reduction in transition delays within the approval process, thus contributing to considerable process efficiencies; although it is acknowledged that enhancements and redesign may be required to take advantage of C-CAP's potential. Other aspects pertaining to C-CAP's impact on process change, improvements to document management and the curation of curriculum designs will also be discussed.


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