Taking Part from a Distance: Doing Participatory Research during Covid-19, an IET literature review 

By Johanna Hall

Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on how we live, work and do research (Ruppel, 2020), and most significantly when that research involves working closely with those in the field to build trust and co-produce knowledge. Participatory approaches such as Participatory Action Research (PAR) seek to improve social practice through a reflexive process of planning, implementing, observing and reflecting (McTaggart, 1989), and maintaining equity and openness between participants and researchers.  

When social distancing needs to be maintained or travel to fieldwork sites becomes disrupted due to lockdown measures, how can we ensure the equity and openness of participatory approaches are maintained? Furthermore, how can we support participants, especially those in developing countries which may still be experiencing the negative effects of lockdown, through what is, arguably, one of the most stressful global events in recent history? And how can equal-power relationships be maintained between researchers and participants if they are geographically dispersed, sometimes in dramatically different social and economic climates?  Continue reading

Guidance: Designing Learning for Autistic and Neurodiverse Students

Designing learning for autistic and neurodiverse students

Collaboratively created guidance from the OpenTEL Open & Inclusive SIG, July 2020

Autism and neurodiversity

Autism and neurodiversity are labels used to describe people who have certain differences in the way in which they think and in the way they interact with society. Typically, people on the autism spectrum may be less aware of, bound by, aligned to or responsive to societal expectations or constraints. This different way of thinking can be an enormous strength, and some great thinkers and innovators are autistic. However, this can lead to challenges for autistic people, especially in settings like the workplace and education, where specific things are expected that might not align with an autistic person’s skills or abilities.

This guide aims to help raise awareness of some of the differences autistic people may experience, and to help educators design learning, activities, tutorials and assessment that can help autistic students demonstrate their potential on a more level playing field.  It was collaboratively created with autistic people (OU staff and students.)

Terminology

Language and terminology used to describe autism is highly debated, so we start with a note on the definitions and terminology chosen for this guidance.  Continue reading