For more than 100 years the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) has provided training for dance teachers, enabling them to teach students, enter candidates for examinations and thereby spread the joy of dance. They are an examination board but also a registered Charity – their chief objective is ‘to educate the public in the art of dancing in all its forms’.
The ISTD truly represents the diversity of dance – with 11 faculties covering a wide spectrum of genres from Ballet to Ballroom, Street to Salsa and from Classical Indian Dance to the brand-new Contemporary syllabus. With approximately 7,000 members in over 65 countries worldwide, ISTD conducts over 150,000 examinations each year. They have been listed by Ofqual as one of the top 20 largest awarding organisations in England and are in the top five for delivery of performing arts examinations.
During a period of research and development for their new teaching qualification – the Diploma in Dance Education (DDE), ISTD explored the possibility of learning ‘online’ and capturing assessment through a learning management system. Through research, they recognised that they needed to support their members and future proof their qualification for some of the following reasons:
For many years student teachers have submitted their work to the ISTD in the form of paper-based portfolios. This was posted to London via Royal Mail from the UK and Europe. It was fraught with issues in terms of cost and efficiency. The system was cumbersome, laborious and expensive with issues such as missing portfolios and late submissions. Assessors were required to attend London Headquarters to mark work four times a year for several days resulting in costs of up to and beyond £15,000. As an international organisation assessors flew in from Italy and Greece. It was time for change and working with Accipio has enabled ISTD to do this.
Accipio worked with ISTD to design and deliver a 21st century learning and assessment platform using Totara Learn.
This digitalised many manual processes (especially assessment), and integrated a previous Moodle site.
Key features of the project included: