Back in July this year, we were part of a group of ten students selected to participate in a week long attachment at the Open University. Our aim at the start of the week was to produce two short films, exploring how scientists have been represented in popular culture. To do this, we split into two groups; each group produced one film.
Four teams of six year 9 students, each representing a different Milton Keynes school competed on the day to build two successful rockets 2 litre plastic bottles and simple craft materials.
I was working on the competition as one of the organisers, working with a team that included: Richard Holliman, Ben Dryer, Vic Pearson, and Diane Ford from the Open University, Mark Russell and Val Hawthorne from Denbigh Teaching School, and Jessica Carr who was working as an intern.
In this post Andy Squires (Director of Denbigh Teaching School) and Helen Brown (Assistant Headteacher - Denbigh Teaching School) talk about partnering with the Open University on their SUPI Project: 'Engaging Opportunities’.
It was with great enthusiasm that we partnered with the Open University to submit our Engaging Opportunities SUPI project bid, some 21 months ago, and we have accomplished so much in this time.
Week 3 of my internship on the OU's PER Catalyst was a bit quieter, but it doesn't mean I wasn't busy!
I spent this day working from home. For a 21 year old this is a very novel idea and it meant that I had to have some serious self control. I have to say that it went very well though, as I hope can be seen in my previous blog.
I also got to comment on the media training film made by OU postgraduate researchers. The piece of OU research they focused on, the field network system, is a collaboration between the OU's Knowledge Media Institute and the Field Studies Council. The videos was very high quality. I have to say the presenter, Frazer Bird, was very impressive.
Blogging is something slightly alien to me, especially in an academic sense. As an Open University intern it is part of my role to blog about what I’m doing and quite simply, it seems that the activities I'm currently a part of are just too interesting to keep from you all! ...continue reading →
Can you imagine a scientist? Alternatively, can you imagine yourself working as a scientist? These are questions that Liz Whitelegg, Richard Holliman and myself, all members of the Invisible Witnesses team, have been asking school students. ...continue reading →
Leadership; Mission; Communication
Champion’s blog; star date 2014.03.10 (in effect, an update on the first post on this blog, 'An open research university').
Nearly two years of the mission completed; 14 months of funding left. "Where do we boldly go from here?"
I was interviewed late last year by Lucian Hudson, the OU's Director of Communications, to explore this question. We also discussed progress with the core mission of the OU's Public Engagement with Research Catalyst.
You can see the results of our discussion in the video below. If you'd prefer to read the text of the interview, select transcript.
Teamwork is key to successful planning
When we're producing courses at the Open University we tend to work in teams; many of them are multi-discplinary and almost all of them combine academics with other forms of professional expertise (e.g. editors and media professionals). For example, the last course I chaired (with the catchy code, SH804) involved more than 70 people during the production phase (including academics, media professionals, editors, librarians and web developers).
Over the years I've been lucky enough to work with some excellent colleagues in various course teams. You might expect me to say that. But it's not always straightforward working as a social scientist in a Faculty of Science. One of the many colleagues I've really valued working with is Professor Simon Kelley. We worked together as part of a larger course team on Science in Context.
Serendipity meets planning for diversity and inclusion
Spin forwards several years: I'd been working on the Engaging Opportunities project for about nine months when we began to think seriously about organising the first of the three annual lectures that we'd promised RCUK we would deliver.
I’m an astrophysicist and my research is mainly concerned with what may be called the “time domain universe”, or simply: stars whose brightness varies with time.
Stars can have a variable brightness for one of several reasons: they might be intrinsically variable due to pulsations of the star’s atmosphere; they might be in orbit with another object that periodically passes in front of it; or they might suffer some form of catastrophic change that causes flaring or outburst behaviour, for instance.
One way to carry out research in time domain astrophysics is simply to monitor the brightness of all the stars in the sky and see what you find. This is, in effect, what is done by the WASP (Wide Angle Search for Planets) project, of which I and others at the Open University are part.
A day in the life of a field geologist
Earth Scientists like me study the Earth: how it formed, how it changed over geological time, and how all the different ‘bits’ such as the atmosphere, oceans, soil and rocks interact with each other.
In detail, I’m a geologist – I specifically try to understand the rocks beneath our feet. And in even more detail, I’m a field geologist. Nothing excites me more than the prospect of getting to spend weeks in a tent up a remote mountain somewhere (although preferably not in the rain), collecting rock samples for analysis back in the lab.