Working with Nuffield Research Placement Scheme co-ordinators, Dr Pallavi Anand promoted the scheme across STEM to host nine ‘A’ level students during the summer of 2022. Students were placed in various academic schools in the STEM Faculty.
My placement was evaluating the application of data science and machine learning in different research areas (e.g. identifying transaction fraud in finance, or identifying patterns in lifestyle or medical records in patients with a specific disease or illness), and exploring it through Python.
During the summer holiday, I took part in a research placement with Dr Pallavi Anand in the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at the Open University, organised by the Nuffield Foundation. The placement involved coding a MATLAB toolkit to a more accessible program such as Python that would use paleoclimate data to solve for past seawater temperature, oxygen isotope and salinity.
This year, The Open University celebrates its 50th anniversary. Happy birthday to us!
As part of this celebration, the university is hosting an exciting programme of events and activities.
Yesterday I watched my colleague Martin Weller discuss the ongoing (and increasing influence) of openness in education. (You can access a recording of Martin’s lecture from the link in the previous sentence. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to watch the recording.)
It seems fitting, given the complementary nature of our work, that I was scheduled to deliver my inaugural lecture in this programme shortly after Martin.
Watching the lecture
If you’d like to attend the lecture on 12th March (6-7pm GMT) in person, select How to register. (It’s free to attend, but you need a ticket.)
From 5pm on the day, colleagues will be demonstrating various examples of engagement outside the lecture theatre.
To watch the lecture online, select Watch the webinar. The link will become live shortly before the start of the event. You can submit questions via email or Twitter from the same page.
The lecture will be recorded and made freely available after 12 March.
School students in East Anglia publish a research paper in a peer reviewed academic journal. English teachers in Bristol are inspired and equipped to teach on the Romantics at GCSE. Young people in Milton Keynes support the production of free resources to help them (and others) Manage their Money. Researchers in Manchester gain new skills as they support school students doing extended project qualifications.
These sentences hint at some of things that have been happening as part of School-University Partnerships Initiative (SUPI), an experiment to see whether it was beneficial for schools and universities to partner together to bring cutting edge research into the classroom.
Funded by Research Councils UK, SUPI involved 12 projects, each involving partnerships between schools and universities keen to build effective ways to work together.
One of the SUPI PoP Tool Character Cards.
With such rich learning, we hope the project inspires others to think hard about the opportunities presented by school-university partnerships, and how they can be realised. To support this we have created two resources:
SUPI Lessons: a booklet summarising the key lessons learnt from the programme, illustrated by taster case studies.
SUPI Perspectives on Partnership (PoP): a brilliant resource to help schools and universities consider how they might like to work together. We know that schools and universities want different things from working together – the resource illustrates the experiences of teachers, school students, researchers, and university brokers for different types of partnerships – and is a great tool to talk about what everyone is hoping to achieve.
I’ve recently had a paper published as part of a collection that explores professionalisation in science communication (Trench, 2017). In the paper, I review the purposes, definitions and criteria designed to embed ‘engaged research’ as a strategic priority with universities, and explores some of the challenges of implementation (Holliman, 2017).
I argue that surveys of academics have shown various understandings of, and attitudes to, the practices of engaged research, but also impediments to realising the aspirations it expresses.
Drawing on my experience as the academic lead for engaged research at the Open University, I go on to explore questions of professionalisation, for example, through training, support mechanisms and measures of recognition for engaged research.
I conclude the paper by arguing that, if done well, engaged research can promote epistemic justice. So what is epistemic justice, and how can engaged research deliver what Medvecky (2017) calls ‘fairness in knowing’.
How can you plan effectively for engaged research? What are some of the common pitfalls, and what counts as best practice?
Colleagues and I from the Open University and Denbigh School in Milton Keynes recently published a chapter in a new edited collection (Kucirkova and Quinlan, 2017) where we offer practical advice on how to respond to this important question in a pragmatic way (Holliman et al. 2017).
The framework has been designed to be applicable to any researcher and discipline, and to be adaptable to all forms of engaged research.
The chapter documents a worked example of the framework, involving an activity mediated via digital tools and technologies and involving scientists, an educational technologist, several teachers, 25 sixth-form students, and an evaluation researcher.
Martin Upton, Director, True Potential PUFin, The Open University Business School.
Badged open course launched to combat growing debt problem among 16-18 year olds
The Open University Business School’s True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance (True Potential PUFin) has joined forces with University Challenge star and Arithmophobia Expert, Bobby Seagull, and MoneySavingExpert’s Martin Lewis, to develop a free badged open course on OpenLearn, specifically designed for the financial education needs of 16 to 18 year olds.
Managing My Money for Young Adults, (MMM-Y), which launched on 3 November, is delivered through video content, animations, case studies, activities and quizzes and provides 24 hours of learning broken into eight bite-sized sessions (see below for further details), to offer learners a strong foundation of personal finance knowledge to help them avoid bad debt in the future.