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Technologies for STEM learning

The Use of Learning Analytics in STEM over 4 years

Project leader(s): 
Tom Olney and Carlton Wood
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Current
Body: 

In 2017/2018 the research team completed an eSTEeM project that used a social informatics approach to explore the extent to which, and how, two learning analytics tools (OUA and SPM) were being used in STEM by tutors and presentation module teams. The findings led to recommendations about the use of these tools in STEM1.

Through a series of semi-structured interviews proposed for 2022, this research study aims to follow-up with original participating academics and curriculum managers, or new teams now associated with original participating modules, to see how their practice has evolved in the particular circumstances and contexts of their working situations. The research team intends to employ the Theory of Practice Architectures2 to investigate and evaluate the particular arrangements that constrain or enable learning analytics practice in STEM. With this information the research team hopes to develop effective support strategies for module teams as they engage, or not, with this growing field of teaching and learning.


1 Olney, Walker, Wood & Clarke (2019) Piloting OUA and SPM on 12 STEM modules – eSTEeM executive summary (https://www.open.ac.uk/about/teaching-and-learning/esteem/sites/www.open.ac.uk.about.teaching-and-learning.esteem/files/files/2019-08-Carlton-Woo-Steve-Walker-Piloting%20OUA-final-report-executive-summary.pdf)

2 Mahon, Kemmis, Francisco & Lloyd (2017) Introduction: Practice Theory and the Theory of Practice Architectures. In Exploring education and professional practice, pp 1-30. Springer, Singapore

OpenSTEM Africa: Ghana - Test and Learn with the University of Cape Coast

Project leader(s): 
Kerry Murphy
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Current
Body: 

Improving access to STEM education is viewed globally as a route to economic empowerment. OpenSTEM Africa is a collaboration between The OU (involving academics from WELS and STEM) and government partners in Ghana to co-create virtual instruments and onscreen immersive laboratory experiences to support the teaching and learning of practical science in chemistry, physics & biology, focussing on Senior High Schools and learners with limited or no access to laboratory resources. In addition to the virtual laboratory, the project has also co-created a suite of CPD materials to support science teachers as they transition to new hybrid ways of working and Leadership materials to support Heads of Science as they manage this change. These Open Educational Resources can be accessed here: OLCreate: OpenSTEM Africa: Ghana OpenSTEM Africa: Ghana

Later this year the OpenSTEM Africa virtual laboratory and support materials will be launched on the Centre for National Distance Learning & Open Schooling’s internet portal (iCampusGH), serving approximately 1 million Senior High School students.

The aim is to run a ‘test and learn’ project with the Department of Science Education at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in Ghana (https://scienceeducation.ucc.edu.gh/science-education-programmes). This department provides both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes to train future Senior High School science teachers and thus represents an ideal population to test the efficacy and suitability of these transformational assets in both the training of teachers and as future practitioners. The OU has an existing MOU with UCC and this work will strengthen this relationship.

This project will run alongside a ‘test and learn’ project funded by WELS Education Futures programme with the University of Ghana (UoG). Here the focus in on the use of the OpenSTEM Africa virtual laboratory to support the teaching of mainstream science undergraduates. The objective of this project together with the WELS project is develop our collective understanding as to the effectiveness of the teaching and learning of practical science through virtual/digital means and based on the evidence that we jointly collect, to be able to share and publish our findings.

Kerry Murphy poster

Student progression through linked interactive screen experiments: building confidence and competence

Project leader(s): 
Mark Hirst and Christopher Heath
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Current
Body: 

We plan to seek information from students taking the module S290 Investigating Human Health and Disease. We wish to gather their views about the interactive screen experiments (ISEs) that they undertake throughout their study, their ease of use and whether completing the ISEs has improved their scientific skills/thinking and their confidence to tackle scientific problems. We will achieve this by asking the students to complete questionnaires and to keep video diaries/blogs at specific intervals during the module to capture their thoughts and ideas on recent learning experiences.

This mixed methods approach will yield both qualitative and quantitative data which will be collected and analysed by appropriate methods (textual analysis and statistical analysis). The outcome of this research will be a better understanding of students’ needs when studying practical science and will also identify any technical or accessibility issues that might be improved.

Mark Hirst, Christopher Heath and Hilary MacQueen poster

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