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Unclear about Nuclear?

Project leader(s): 
Liz Whitelegg
Over the past 6 months, Liz Whitelegg, Sam Smidt and Nick Adams have been working on a project to develop a short online unit about nuclear energy accompanied by an ‘App’ (for iPhones/iPads and Android phones). The £32K of funding for the unit and the App was provided by the National HE STEM Project, and it was a condition of the funding that all outputs from the project had to be made freely available to other HEIs.
The unit and App are aimed at young people, aged 18 to 25 years, to encourage them to engage with learning about nuclear energy and to provide them with a start on a learning journey that could move them towards a career in the nuclear energy industry.
The App is designed to appeal to young people in particular by using a gaming approach to investigating their personal energy usage, guided by a robot from the future called N.E.I.L. (Nuclear Engineered Intelligent Lifeform).
The 20-hour unit has re-used existing module and study skills material from a number of OU sources plus BBC Horizon and ‘Bang Goes the Theory’ video extracts. These resources have been re-versioned and re-edited them to make it suitable for NVQ level 3 learners with no previous science, technology, engineering or maths background beyond GCSE. Both the unit and the App are being trialled by young people during June before being launched.
In order for the unit to be freely available to other HEIs it had to be presented on an open source platform so it will run from the Learning Space on OpenLearn.
The project has met the funder’s aim by delivering study materials that will feed into the skills pipeline by offering those interested in exploring employment in the nuclear industry, further learning and skills to support more advanced training programmes. For the OU it has given the staff involved experience of developing a short package of learning out of existing resources in a very short timescale and with minimum staff. We have been pleased also to work with Learning and Teaching Solutions (LTS) Corporate to produce the unit and App and it has provided an opportunity for staff in this area to further their skills in developing mobile technologies for learning.