The OU centre for STEM pedagogy
22nd June 2016
In April this year eSTEeM commissioned Professor Lynn Clouder, Director of the Centre for Excellence in Learning Enhancement at Coventry University, to carry out an evaluation of eSTEeM.
It is concluded that eSTEeM is in an excellent position to consolidate its STEM leadership, influence and impact to achieve even greater prominence. The aim of this review was to assess the effectiveness and current vision of eSTEeM, addressing four specific questions posed by the eSTEeM directors. These are presented below with summary responses.
1. How can we ensure that eSTEeM is ready for the external community with regard to its credibility and potential to initiate and contribute to UK and international STEM scholarship?
On the basis of formal documentation, interviews and observations at the 2016 eSTEeM conference, eSTEeM appears to be well placed in this regard. Specific recommendations are:
2. What is the effect of eSTEeM in terms of impacting teaching and benefitting students? Is it an effective use of their chief resource which is academic staff time?
Maintaining a centre for STEM education as an autonomous centre within the Faculty as a hub for STEM scholarship, creativity and innovation ensures that high level attention to teaching and learning as opposed to substantive disciplinary knowledge. There is evidence of significant impact on teaching and learning and benefit to students’ progression, retention and engagement. Projects over the past 5 years have addressed a wide range of fundamental issues. It is recommended that:
3. Is eSTEeM adequately resourced for current and future projects (particularly those relating to software development and onscreen engagements which are generally more expensive)?
Projects have been successfully carried out with relatively small pots of money and the themed projects have optimized use of resources on focused aspects of the curriculum. Since this approach works it should continue. It is recommended that eSTEeM:
4. What steps should eSTEeM take to ensure its outputs are quantifiable and well matched to the proposed Teaching Excellence Framework?
Specific recommendations are:
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