The Open University is over 40 years old. To celebrate this anniversary the university decided to document the rich social history of the OU.
As a social historian I was delighted to be given the opportunity to lead this project. Below I document some of the contributions Open University students have made to an open research agenda.
Constructing distributed publics of learners
Since it was opened to students in 1971 The Open University’s structures and pedagogies have shifted the notion of public research. A ‘public’, Michael Warner argued, is formed when texts (in the broadest sense) circulate among strangers and enable those people, through those texts, to organize together and to have experiences in common. ...continue reading →
Engaging opportunties: Water rocket competition
In July 2013 five teams of six Year 9 students and one team of six Year 10 students from Slated Row Special School competed in a competition to launch water rockets. The teams, representing five schools from Milton Keynes, were judged on the distance the rockets flew, whether they could successful land an egg, and the design of their rockets.
The teams were supported on the day of the competition by Open University researchers, staff from Denbigh School and teachers from their home schools. The organising team included: Richard Holliman, Mike Bullivant, Vic Pearson, Kris Stutchbury, Peter Taylor, Mike Batham and me from the OU, and Andy Squires and Val Hawthorne from Denbigh School.
A panel of judges, including the Mayor of Milton Keynes Brian White and Professor Peter Taylor from the OU, assessed the entries. The team from Milton Keynes Academy were the winners, launching their rocket over 90m. They received a trophy, which was designed at Denbigh School. All the competitors received a replica of this trophy in the form of a key ring.
As Project Manager for the project I was responsible for the organisation from the Open University side of things, working closely with Val Hawthorne from Denbigh School.