Project summary

The Open University in the South West is collaborating with regional voluntary sector network South West Forum to develop vocational Open Educational Resources (OERs) for the voluntary sector.

We are cultivating a community of practice for shared curriculum development in which the user community, policy makers and academics all participate in improving, updating & creating new resources via OpenLearn. The resources we are beginning with are for trustees, and our first stage is to explore existing education & training resources, particularly in relation to the National Occupational Standards published by Skills Third Sector.

This collaboration forms part of Higher Education’s relationship with a sector that currently employs 778,000 people, an increase of 6.5% over the last year. As the UK Government’s ‘Big Society’ policy aims to further promote the voluntary sector by giving them a greater role in public services, this initiative aims to provide innovative education that equips people to perform these new roles.

The OU is represented in this collaboration by Project Officer Lois Thorn, Assistant Regional Director Meriel Lee & regional academic Tony Coughlan.

4 Responses to Project summary

  1. Hannah Harris says:

    Are Open Educational Resources free, and will they be recognised by Ofsted?

    • Tony says:

      Hi Hannah, Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse, without charge.

      OpenLearn enables you to save and print a record of your activities on OER study units which you could use as evidence of your ongoing professional development. But note this is not the same as formal, assessed qualifications which you achieve by studying as a paying student.

  2. Maire Grattan says:

    Hello Tony

    I have worked for over 12 years in the voluntary sector. Studying with the OU and working with the flexibility of the OU approach has been invaluable for my professional development in the voluntary sector. I would welcome a move to produce flexible and if possible accredited learning modules for the sector which are linked into the National Occupational standards for community development and campaigning. I increasingly network online with other websites aimed at the sector for resources and general information (NCVO, Third Sector, KnowHow etc.).

    There are however a lack of study modules in some areas for the sector.

    I wish you luck in your programme.

    Kind regards

    Maire Grattan

  3. Catherine.pestano says:

    Hi I think it sounds great. Having taught and studeid with the oU and worked in the vol sector for many years I know how great the OU resources are. My particular interest at the moment is the community arts sector. This sector has been particularly hard hit by the recent swathe of Arts council funding cuts. I chair a national charity Sound Sense which supports community music practitioners and organisations, who I can see as benefiting greatly from this opportunity. I also suggest publicising the course on the Cultural Leadership Porgrammes website as they have been cut but many managers and cultural leaders are still using the site for information.

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