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First course for students in secure environments which involves them in the design

Prisoner learning

An OU researcher has received funding to deliver the first course for students in secure environments which involves them in the design.

New models of co-operation

Dr Rosalind Crone, Senior Lecturer in History in the OU’s Faculty for Arts and Social Sciences is Principal Investigator for the History of the Prison Module project, which has just received £72,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to explore new models of cooperation between higher education providers to better serve the needs of prison learners.

The project, which will begin on 31 August 2019, will develop a new open educational resource (OER) on the history of prison education in the British Isles with the assistance of former and serving prisoners.

Ensuring learning credits

The OER will be designed for and through the Prisoners' Education Trust’s (PET) Prison-University-Partnerships in Learning network (PUPiL) and will be included in the OU's level one module, Make Your Learning Count, which will ensure that prisoners gain credit for their learning through a route which is coherent and supportive of progression.

Furthermore, with accreditation from the Chartered Institute of Continuing Professional Development, and through existing networks cultivated by PET, Dr Crone and the OU, the OER will be promoted to prison governors and education officers as a valuable tool for staff development as well as to staff in prison reform charities, and those in probation and aftercare services.

Celebrating pioneers of prison education

As PET and the OU remain the leading UK institutions for the promotion and delivery of higher education in UK prisons, their coincidental, milestone anniversaries in 2019 (OU 50 and PET 30) will be used to promote the OER to the wider public.

Dr Crone said: “This is the first course for students in secure environments which involve prisoners in the design and production process. It will expand the provision of free, higher-level learning to prisoners while also offering them options to earn credit for their learning and will show how history can be used to equip present-day practitioners and policymakers in their decision-making and planning for prison education in Britain today.”

Dr Crone will collaborate with PET, OU students in secure environments and with the OU’s Open Media and Informal Learning unit, to deliver the OER within a year and then to run a pilot in a prison before making it publicly available.

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