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Teaching and impact

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Links between Research and Teaching

Research on relationships, sex and sexuality delivers core Psychology and Counselling curriculum. In the counselling module, D240, the work of Meg-John Barker is supplemented by research on relationships from Jacqui Gabb and the ESRC-funded project Enduring Love? Couples Relationships in the 21st Century. OpenLearn materials related to the BBC programmes ‘Prejudice and Pride: The People's History of LGBT Britain’ focus on previous uses of aversion therapy (Darren Langdridge) and advances in parental rights (Jacqui Gabb) and legal status (Avi Boukli) since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967. Andreas Vossler and Naomi Moller’s research on ‘internet infidelity’ features in core psychology teaching and in an OpenLearn video drama I-Spy: Internet infidelity and its impact on couple relationships. This research also features in the new Psychology MSc module D803 which draws upon a range of OU Psychology research. Lisa Lizard writes on ‘motherhood’ and ‘sexual harassment’, and, in collaboration with Rose Cadevila, writes on young women and ‘selfies’. Darren Langdridge and Meg-John Barker feature their research on sexualities non-monogamies.

Research is also playing a key part in the production of new Criminology curriculum (BA Hons Criminology and MA in Crime and Justice). These qualifications are influenced by the critical mass of scholars in the department of Social Policy and Criminology. Criminological research here is characterised by its focus on social harm approach (zemiology) and how these impact on society. Research in the area of ‘Private Lives, Public Intimacies’ includes studies on victimology, sex trafficking and victim services (Avi Boukli), sexual exploitation and youth justice (Jo Phoenix), the sociology of prisons and punishment (Abi Rowe), and the criminalisation of underprivileged groups within society (Daniel McCulloch). The multi-award winning BBC documentary series Exodus: Our Journey to Europe (Victoria Canning, Marie Gillespie, and Umut Erel) also features links to OpenLearn materials on the ‘refugee crisis’, the reality of seeking asylum in the UK, and the making of the documentary itself. Research on ethical issues and accountability within police investigations (Louise Westmarland) underpins DD301 Crime and Justice and also features on OpenLearn.  Research on bereavement, care and family relations in Senegal features in K220 Death, Dying and Bereavement within Health and Social Care as an example of experiences of death and grief in different countries. The methodological and research expertise of GENIES members features heavily on DD215 Social Research: Crime, Justice and Society, through topics such as visual methods (Dan McCulloch), and qualitative research methods (Jacqui Gabb, Umut Erel, Kathryn Medien).

Impact and Public Engagement

Transforming migrants’ security, representation, and public participation

OU research improved migrants’ safety and generated alternative representations of migrants. It promoted better understandings of migration and greater participation in public life. It led to a new digital platform for migrants that challenged smugglers’ disinformation, improving security for over 53.4 million users. It underpinned the co-production of the multi-award-winning OU/BBC documentary series Exodus: Our Journey to Europe that reached 4.39 million viewers globally. It inspired collaborations with Tate Exchange, Royal Museums Greenwich, British Council and UN Women, mobilising transformational, participatory ethnographic methods that created new opportunities for participation and solidarity, and new archives and exhibits that fostered informed citizenship and international understanding.

Improving couple relationships using evidence-based resources 

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OU research has helped to transform how couples understand and maintain relationships. The global reach of sustained media coverage, with the audience totalling over 170,000,000, has shifted public debate on the ordinary practices that are valued and help to sustain a partnership over the course of adult life. Research evidence has informed school and youth services educational materials and teaching practice, and adult relationship support services including Relate. Research tools have been adopted and applied in clinical practice and assessment and therapeutic interventions.

The research-based Paired app, downloaded over 100,000 times, has modified relationship maintenance behaviour and improved relationship quality for couples. There are, therefore, four areas of impact characterized: Public attitudes; Relationship education and guidance; Therapeutic approaches and relationship support services; and Improving relationships through (Paired) app interventions.

Photo credit for page banner: Disabled and Here.

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A-Z of Brexit: A guide to Brexit terminology

This glossary has been designed to explain some of the key terms used in relation to Brexit.

Download the guide

Year of Mygration

250 insights into how migration affects all of us, not just migrants.

Posted throughout 2018, 5 days a week for 50 weeks, ahead of the OU’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2019.

Learn about the campaign

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Check out the October 2018 newsletter:

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