Will wonders ever SiSE?: Designing for Students in Secure Environments

A plant grows from a brick wall, surrounded by barbed wire
Marko Lovric via Pixabay (https://pixabay.com/photos/freedom-prison-jail-jailed-1125539/)

by Hayley Johns

During my work with the Open University so far, I’ve been really privileged to work with students from all walks of life. One key part of the OU student community, and a new one for my own practice, is students in secure environments. The OU’s work reaches over 200 prisons and secure hospital units around the country, and students who are studying from these institutions can take undergraduate modules across all four faculties (FASS, FBL, STEM and WELS), as well as Access modules for those who are new to higher education or haven’t studied at university level for some time.

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Playful Learning 2022: Reflections and conference-in-a-pod

It’s a few weeks after the Playful Learning conference, and even after a bit of time to decompress I’m still a buzzing, overstimulated mess. And you know what? I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

In this article and accompanying podcast, I’d like to share my take on the conference: my impressions, my takeaways, my general experience. It’s been a highlight of both my professional and podcasting career to date, and I’m hoping that through the process of reflecting on it I’ll identify some of the reasons why it resonated with me, and how I can translate the experience into my practice.

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Fit for learning: CPD as a daily exercise

photo of a peacock displaying his feathers
Image courtesy of Scorpions and Centaurs on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sshb/3930039788/)

By Paul Astles


So what is CPD?

CPD stands for Continuous Personal Development. Often, CPD can be perceived as something that happens through mandatory training sessions rather than being an active process that you can be involved with daily. Al-Asmari (2016) discovered that some staff viewed CPD as a challenge to overcome rather than a supportive process.

The logic of using reflection as a tool for CPD is not new (Yearley, 2003). One important consideration (explored by Yearley) is that reflection should be a guided process to be meaningful in relation to CPD.

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Working together in module design

Grafitti spray painted on a wall. It says 'Together we create'.
Image via: https://unsplash.com/photos/bq31L0jQAjU

By Amy Leon and Catherine Du Baret

High quality, online and distance education materials, building on a huge legacy of groundbreaking distance education. This is what Learning Designers and editors, working alongside academic colleagues, at the Open University shape and hone during the creation of new modules.

The Open University (OU) creates around 150 new modules each year, to sit alongside over 350 represented modules offered to students. The Learning Designer and Digital Development Editor roles are pivotal to the development and production of new modules and are involved right from the start, working alongside authors and faculty colleagues, to support and advise on plans. Other specialists, such as video and audio producers, interactive developers and graphic developers, are brought in at various points in the development, as and when they are needed. If you’re not familiar with Learner and Discovery Services (LDS) at the OU, LDS teams work closely with colleagues across the University to design, produce and deliver online and printed learning materials for students. This is a collaborative arrangement which engages our dedicated Learning Design, Learning Innovation, Development and Production, and Commissioning teams.

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