How transferable are the models to other institutional contexts and subject disciplines?
It is important to note that the models used in the open classes are not definitive and that there is no ONE model. Each class was adapted as appropriate to the course content, student needs and changing needs of open media professional education. These developments have led to new UG and MA courses which reflect the lessons learned by the team as they developed and adapted the Open media Classes. Coventry are working to examine how these models can transfer to other departments and courses. Other institutions and individuals are also currently taking some of the models an applying them in different contexts.
It is important to note that for the team at Coventry these open models are not aiming to become the ‘norm’ but are part of an ongoing investigation into how HE might respond to continuing political, economic and social changes and challenges. Whilst others could adopt elements of these models they have not been presented to the wider community as a single solution – they have been as much a part of the process and not simply a product.
When staff from the Department go out and talk about the open classes the responses from the HE sector are interesting as individuals find the approaches compelling but the barriers to adopting these approaches at their own institutions quickly emerge. Barriers around the problems of changing cultures within different kinds of institutions, across different subject disciplines and lack of institutional commitment are often cited and reflect findings from the UKOER Programme.
Although the open classes have now led to the development of open courses at Coventry, they were developed incrementally, allowing the staff and students time to adjust and they were part of a traditional campus based validated course. The impressive outcomes and widescale mainstream press interest can be a powerful indicator to Institutional managers of the benefits to both students, staff and the Institution. Although Coventry initially had supportive senior managers, they have still had to continue working hard to convince other staff in the institution that these approaches have made an impact and are sustainable. This approach would allow other institutions to take similar small steps to openness. By linking open class approaches to developing digital literacies, a wide range of subject disciplines could adopt these approaches. All professions need people who can articulate their stories through digital media – this applies to all disciplines and can be seen as an important element of professional development. This presents opportunities for staff in a range of subject disciplines to try some of these approaches.
PhonarEd was developed by Jonathan Worth in response to conversations with other educators where he discovered that people felt they were copying or cheating in some way if they adopted his approaches. In effect he wanted to move from being ‘passively open’ to ‘actively’ open by providing a back channel using the hashtag #Phonar-Ed for instructors to come together, share experiences and highlight examples of best (open) visual story-telling practice. This is an attempt to empower and enable other educators and is further evidence of the generosity and dedication to open collaboration.
As such our first step in this evolution of the project is to syndicate #phonar2013 and #PhonarEd with World Photo Org to it’s 68,000 photographers and 250 universities. Hopefully PhonarEd means syndication turns to collaboration on a grand scale and we can move beyond photo education to digital and visual literacy, and then Applied Learning – in terms of [visual] journalism this will be game changing, it is Education as agent for change. From Reclaim Open Learning, September 2013
See other findings: What critical factors led to the development of the open classes? | What kinds of institutional and departmental structures, strategies, policies and processes can support these models? | What kinds of support do staff need to implement these new open connected approaches? | Open classes curriculum design and delivery | What was the impact of the classes on the various stakeholders?