3.3 Working within and across the institution

Practitioner research can provide opportunities for practitioner researchers to work with and potentially influence a range of people within the institution. Certainly, experience from the CETLs suggests that the projects undertaken by practitioner researchers influenced both the development and delivery of modules, particularly in relation to online assessment and the use of social media.

Practitioner research clusters

A number of faculties have established networks to promote the scholarship of teaching and learning, and so it is unlikely that you will be the only person interested in doing some form of practitoner research. These practitioner research or SoTL networks, such as eSTEeM in the Science and MCT faculties, offer practical research support. Being part of these networks can also provide a wider research community and potentialy help your project gain a higher profile than would otherwise be possible. Unfortunately, there is no list availiable of such clusters and so it is question of keeping your ear to the ground.

Practitioner research interest groups

There have recently been a number of intitiatives established to promote and support practitioner research within the Open University. 

The first is the Action Research Interest Group which seeks to bring together academics who are interested in either in pursuing their own action research or supporting action amongst other practitioner groups.  There is, as yet, no website for the group.  However, meetings are to be held at regular intervals in Milton Keynes and presentations will be recorded for wider dissemination.  Anyone interested in the group should contact Trish O'Flynn (patricia.oflynn@open.ac.uk)  

The Scholarship Site for Staff Tutors and Regional Managers advertises regular discussions via Elluminate and has a website with links to practitioner research resources.  As time goes on, it should also be a repository for practitioner research projects:http://kn.open.ac.uk/workspace.cfm?wpid=9733

Research groups

In addition to the scholarship clusters operating within faculties, the Open University has many well-established research groups. Although the majority of these group are not specifically focussed on scholarship or practitioner research, some, particularly in CREET (Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology), provide a useful environment for sharing ideas and developing skills related to research into practice.

Although not a complete list, the following list of research groups provides a good indication of the range of potentially relevant research being undertaken within the Open University:

  • Applied Language and Literacies Research Unit (ALLRU)
  • Computers and Learning Research Group (CALRG)
  • Educational Dialogue Research Unit (EDRU)
  • Higher Education Policy and Practice Research Group (HEPPRG)
  • Policy, Professionalism, Leadership and Lifelong Learning (PPLL)
  • Technology and Learning Research Group (TLRG)

Teaching and learning conferences

There have been a number of conferences at the Open University over the past few years which have been either solely focussed on teaching and learning or where a teaching and learning context has been relevant to a broader conference theme.

Last modified: Tuesday, 4 Mar 2014, 16:19