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12th call for strategic innovation and scholarship projects

Posted 29th January 2018

Welcome to the 12th eSTEeM call for projects. As in the previous round we are interested in supporting individuals and groups of scholars at the Open University and we would like to receive both:

  1. fully worked up proposals by individuals or groups, and

  2. expressions of interest from individuals who would like to join others working on particular themes but do not yet have a defined project. We will then match people according to interest and help you set up a new project group. If you are seeking to gain recognition as a HEA Fellow or Senior Fellow, a completed eSTEeM project can be helpful to support your claim for professional recognition against the UK Professional Standards Framework via Applaud.

After consultation with faculty colleagues, we have identified the following priority areas that would be of strategic value and interest in this next round. This does not preclude you from suggesting other projects that you feel would fit within the eSTEeM portfolio.

1. Learning design

a) Online study – we would like to encourage projects which focus on the specific ways in which students approach their learning on online only modules, in particular what types of online assets are used and valued by students and how these assets enhance learning.

2. Innovations in STEM

a) Innovation in educational technology – explorations of using technology in new ways and gaining a fuller understanding of changes in student expectations and aspirations in this area

3. Supporting students

a) Proactive student support – a range of proactive support activities are currently being delivered to STEM students by the Student Support Teams (SSTs) following funding provided by the More Students Qualifying (MSQ) portfolio. Activities range from proactive support to students deemed 'at-risk' of not completing their module using predictive analytics, to proactive contact of stalled and lapsed students. We would like to encourage proposals that evaluate the impact of those activities on student experience and success. If you would like to know more about current and planned activities within individual subject areas, please contact your SST Faculty Lead.

4. Employability

a) The University continues to work closely with employers to ensure that our curriculum provides graduates with suitable employability skills. This area will explore the importance of accreditation by professional bodies and what effect this has on student motivation.

5. Equality and diversity issues in recruitment and attainment

a) Over the past year several of our STEM schools have undertaken detailed gender analysis of student data as part of their submissions for Athena SWAN awards.  This has revealed previously hidden gender differences in enrolments and progression on several programmes.  We welcome specific proposals to investigate these gender issues as specified in departmental action plans.

b) We would also like to encourage investigations of other diversity issues such as the degree awarding gap of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) and disabled students.

6. Demonstrating excellence

a) Projects that are aligned with subject-level TEF criteria. This includes exploring issues around progression from module to module within STEM qualifications and effective engagement of students with learning including feedback and teacher interactions with students. 

What to do next

Pre-bidding workshop, 8th Feb, 14.30-16.00

We will be holding a pre-bidding workshop to assist colleagues with the preparation of an eSTEeM project proposal and to discuss any project ideas that you may have. The workshop will take place on Thursday 8th February, 14.30-16.00 in Meeting Room 2, Ground Floor, Chambers Building and will particularly useful for those who have not submitted an eSTEeM proposal previously. Please confirm your attendance, either in person or remotely, by visiting the registration page by Monday 5th February.

The estimated duration of the projects above is around 12-18 months with each team member expected to commit a minimum of 10 days. If you would like to register your interest in joining a project group please email esteem@open.ac.uk indicating which area you are interested in and why. Alternatively, if you already have a worked up proposal in mind then please download the project plan submission form below.

The deadline for registering interest and the submission of proposals is 17.00 on Friday 2nd March 2018.

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us.  We look forward to receiving your proposals.

eSTEeM project plan submission form (Word)

eSTEeM project plan supplementary information (PDF)