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.
Since early January 2017, the School of Computing and Communications (represented by Senior Lecturer in Networking, Andrew Smith), the Open Media and Informal Learning (OMIL) Unit and the Open University’s Development Office have all been working with Cisco on a sponsored project to create content about computer networking for teachers (and school children). The content covers the national curriculum ‘computing’ domains of computer hardware and network engineering.
The resources are hosted on OpenLearn Create – the creative commons portal of the OpenLearn MOOCs.
During the academic year 2015-16 I worked with a group of 22 teachers from 12 different schools (primary and secondary) across the Enigma Maths Hub. I’ve recently published a report about this work (Lee, 2016).
The purpose of the programme was to support teachers in applying some of the ideas from research about Maths resilience to their practice and therefore to improve the classroom experiences of children learning Maths.
The teachers took part in a year-long action research project to introduce mathematical resilience into their classrooms. The teachers worked in pairs in their schools supporting and challenging each other to work differently and to make a difference.
Professor Richard Holliman, The Open University. Credit: Michael Francis.
In a recent post on the Guardian Science Policy blog I wrote, among other things, about the need for a vision for citizenship that moves science communication and engagement programmes beyond activities designed for ‘gifted and talented’ children and young people.
‘Cloned’ approaches to public engagement with research
In part, my concerns about this lack of diversity can be traced to research findings that showed how academics limit their framing of publics, purposes and processes when they plan their public engagement activities (Holliman and Jensen, 2009). My concerns were also born out of experience, working with teachers during my PhD research.
What is a Labcast?
A ‘Labcast’ is an interactive, live web broadcast that integrates video streaming and instant messaging to enable a conversation between two or more locations.
A short video explaining the concept of a Labcast can be viewed in the short video below.
Access to ‘cutting edge’ research
Initially developed for Open University (OU) undergraduate teaching, the Labcast model offers a number of advantages:
1. Provides access to a working laboratory and researcher.2. Provides more opportunities for curriculum links than a ‘lab tour’ format;3. Does not require students to be taken off timetable or transport costs to be found.4. Has fewer implications for laboratories that are heavily used.5. Contextualises researchers and their science in an authentic working environment.
Elizabeth Chappell, The Open University, and interviewees
‘We live in an era of the witness’, wrote Annette Wienorka in her 2006 book, The Era of the Witness. I recently gave a talk on witnessing the survivors of Hiroshima for the English department of the Open University Post Graduate Research conference held on 22 November 2014 at the OU’s Camden Centre. I spent the last part of my travel grant, provided by the Great British Sasakawa Foundation, on a trip to Hiroshima in September this year. During this trip I interviewed about a dozen witnesses — known as hibakusha in Japanese — as well as those who work with or study the history of the hibakusha, (from hibaku, explosion, and sha, person, in Japanese).
Left: Mairi Walker (maths PhD student). Right: Vincent Trott (recent PhD graduate in history)
The Brilliant Club is an educational charity that works to widen access to higher education by placing postgraduate researchers in non-selective state schools to deliver university-style tutorials based on their research. Not only is this a great chance for researchers to develop their teaching skills and engage non-specialist audiences in their work, it’s also a fantastic opportunity for pupils to carry out their own research and get a taste of what university learning is like.
The Brilliant Club works with higher education institutions around the country, and has a strong partnership with The Open University. Many Open University researchers work as Brilliant Club tutors and recently the partnership has extended to include an internship scheme, sponsored by Santander.
In other words, I was interested in surface-dwelling plankton. When conditions are ‘optimum’, these creatures grow in large numbers. But does this increase in numbers affect how surface-dwelling plankton build their shells, and if so, why? Answering this question will give us a better understanding of their ecology and how they will respond in the future to environmental changes.
I studied a species of foraminifera called Globortalia inflata to investigate how the thickness of their shells has changed over the past 20,000 years and then compared my results with published data on the abundance of G inflata (a measure of optimum growth conditions).