Are you a doctoral supervisor using LSP?

This study is now underway. I am no longer looking for study participants.

Dear colleagues,

I am conducting a research project around the use of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® in doctoral supervision. The project has been granted ethical approval from the Education Faculty at Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom.

This invitation to participate in this study is open to doctoral supervisors who use LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® within the supervision process and/or for doctoral researchers’ development activities.

As a study participant, you will be invited to complete a short survey and participate in a remote interview. The interview will be between you and me. I expect that the interview will last no longer than half an hour and will be conducted remotely using Skype.

If you would consider participating in this study and would like to receive the information sheet and the consent form, please let me know by emailing c.nerantzi @ mmu.ac.uk (without the spaces).

Please share this invitation with others who might be interested.

Thank you in advance,

Best wishes,

Chrissi (Nerantzi)

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getting ready for our next #creativeHE making conversation

making

CC BY by Chrissi Nerantzi

Our next #creativeHE conversation is approaching… We start on the 6th of March and I have been thinking how to engage in a meaningful way. The conversation will be about making. But it won’t be just a conversation!

Creativity in the Making March 6-20, 2018
Led by John Rae & Norman Jackson
A little bit more info here
To join us, jump into the #creativeHE community!

In the last few years I have enjoyed spending a little bit of time in the summer with my sister making objects out of clay. I miss my sister a lot for many reasons. She is really good at working with clay and does complex structures. BTW, also a fab cook!!! I seem to like simple and flat stuff, two dimensional mostly when I am working with clay.  But I enjoy it enormously and feel relaxed when I am immersed in the creative process and far far away from reality… in a different world where everything is possible.

Illustrating is definitely one of my passions (photography too) but am obviously not a professional illustrator and lack the confidence to tackle a whole picture book project on my own. But Norman encouraged me to go ahead. I think I need to listen this time. I am going to listen!

I decided to focus my making project for our next #creativeHE conversation around illustrating a story I have written. I will go through this process to explore how something like this could be used for learning and teaching. While I have been using story for some years now in academic development and frequently used Storybird for example, this time it will be making everything from scratch.

The story, I would like to use during our #creativeHE making conversation, is for children and adults alike. I would love it to be published properly as an open picture book when it is ready. And raise money for charity. At least raise awareness, is stage 1. This is the plan. For the education of children, refugee children. Perhaps the Children’s University can help. And it would be wonderful if the story could be translated into other languages too.

Colleagues from Bookdash kindly introduced me to the open access picture book creation platform StoryWeaver and I have added the storyline there already. The platform will enable me to make the story into an open book and I can look into translations of this work too. So I think I am in a good place to start. During our #creativeHE conversation, I would like to focus on the illustrations for this booklet.

As I mentioned already, I am not a professional illustrator and I am not a professional writer of children’s stories either. But I used to translate children’s stories in one of my previous lives and one of my own stories was published many years ago.

I was looking for an individual who would like to collaborate with me on this open picture book project. I am interested in minimal illustration and clean lines for this story so that the reader can use their own imagination to complete the picture. To engage with the story in a different way.

linedrawing.png

CC BY by Chrissi Nerantzi

Eureka!

And it didn’t take me long to find a fantastic collaborator.  Artist Gail Spencer. I am so so excited she said yes. We agreed that our collaborative illustrations/collage for the open picture book will be made available under a creative commons licence, via Storyweaver initially.

bookmaking

CC BY by Chrissi Nerantzi

For now, I have created an empty version of the picture book out of ordinary paper using my basic book making skills and tools and copied the storyline into it. This will help me start thinking of illustrations for the 12 scenes. Gail is making hers and we will be meeting soon to share our initial thoughts and ideas and bring them together. I have seen some very first drafts and I love them!

We are getting organised for this #creativeHE project…

… and I will be working on a second making project with Haleh Moravej but more about this later. April update: We are making good progress with this too and have used the above tree image style in that project. So I managed to recycle that idea. Later in April/May we will be able to release the output of the project with Haleh and MetMunch.

Updates

7 March 18: Gail and I have been working on conceptualising ideas for the pictures, materials and style. We met today and only needed 30 mins to agree on a style and construct over 50% of the scenes. We had given ourselves the target of 3 scenes for today but we have 8. A massive achievement. I think we now have a good understanding of each other’s tastes and we experimented with possibilities. This exploration was really useful to find a way forward that would work for both of us. We went for a cut-out style and lots of empty space that could be filled by the reader. And different coloured background. We decided with a “less is more” approach that helps the imagination imagine. As you can see, in the end go we didn’t go with the above idea (but I hope to use this style in  another project).

Gail and I both felt that we need to give ourselves time for our ideas to mature and stabilise and can see that at the moment the ideas might still be very liquid and dynamic and we are definitely prepared to make changes and bring this project to fruition. We said that we would probably have finished draft in four weeks. We said this before we started. After what we achieved already, it is very possible that we will have a first full draft much earlier. A sign of a smooth collaboration? I am very excited!

While we work on this project, I am also thinking how such an activity would be of value for students. How could it work with students from two disciplines? What could the purpose be? I suspect there would be individual and collective benefits and I would love to explore this further when we have finished working with Gail on this.

14 March 18: A relatively short meeting with Gail as we have now agreed on style. We discussed details for some of the pictures and have now a full set ready as ideas in our heads and described on paper. We know where we are going. The path is there in front of us and some pictures are growing and taking shape already. I can see it all in front of my eyes already and our approach is definitely, “less is more”. Instead of adding we take away and it is a liberating feeling.

I suspect that in a few weeks, we will have it all together. In my head I can see it all. I am now thinking about the colourful backgrounds and if these could be added digitally. I will need to seek some advice on how to do this. Adding the backgrounds digitally will give us even more flexibility but also harmonise everything so that it all goes together nicely. For now I am adding here some sample pages, not ready but you will get the idea… there is plenty of room for the imagination to wonder and that is the plan. We would like our readers to engage with the story also through visualising it themselves in the pages of the book. Will it work? We will see.

picturebook14March18

by artist Gail Spencer

22 March: We met again today with Gail and the path we are now going is clear. We refined a few last details and agreed how to tackle some of the more challenging pictures. While teddy was going to be bigger and browner, we actually like him now hanging from the page as he is. I feel that Gail had such a good idea of assemplying Teddy on the page. This approach we realised will also help us with some of the other pictures. So can’t wait to see them all together next week. We decided to scan the pictures in on a white background and then add colour to them digitally. This way we will be able to select what we feel works best and harmonise them throughout the story. I can’t wait.

bookpictures2

by artist Gail Spencer

28 March and 11 April: We met and finalised all pictures. It was a very smooth process and we now have all 12 pictures. It feels good. We decided to scan these in on a white background and also take some photographs so that we can then see what we can do digitally. We decided to do this so that we can find backgrounds that really go well with the pictures but also that link nicely to each other so that it feels like a collection of pictures that go together and tell a story. It is truly amazing what we have achieved so far and I am now looking forward to working with Gail digitally on the pictures and putting the book together. Can’t wait to see it as a book!

allpics

all pics… almost all here…

2nd of May: We met again and Gail had already digitised all the pictures. In a short meeting we managed to agree backgrounds, size and locations of the images on each page. It was amazing. While we initially seemed to look at pale backgrounds, we felt that the vibrant backgrounds actually added more emotions and drama, so we decided to use bright colours.

gail_book

working with the wonderful Gail Spencer

3rd of May: This is the day when Gail uploaded all the pictures to Storyweaver. It took us a little while to fix some of the images, as we didn’t check the dimensions in advance (but it was a useful lesson for future projects). An amazing feeling filled me when I pushed publish and it was suddenly there. Really really enjoyed the process of working with Gail on this and am looking forward to seeing where this little project will take us.

What will today bring storyweaver

the published open picture book is now available here.

Our first reviews arrived quickly… here are some of them…

“What will today bring?” by Dr Chrissi Nerantzi is a picture book aimed at refugee children in host countries. The theme is current and relevant. Dr Nerantzi travels us to the moving reality of a little girl who following a journey through the seas, finds herself alone in a refugee camp searching for her parents and Hope. Does the girl find her parents? Does she find Hope? Dr Nerantzi’s simple use of language is full of imagery, creating a captivating narrative that triggers profound emotions. The powerful messages are supported by the wonderful illustration by Gail Spencer. I would strongly recommend the book to all professionals working with refugee children.” Dr Gerasimos Chatzidamianos, FHEA, CPsychol, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Manchester Met

“Hi Chrissi, This is absolutely beautiful! The illustrations work so elegantly with the story – well done to Gail! This is such an important story – and handled so poetically. You’ve both created something flexible and resonant for so many young readers – it’s a delight.” Dr Meriel Lland, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, Manchester Met

Prof. Norman Jackson invited us to write an article for the Creative Academic Magazine. This is currently in preparation and will be shared when ready and published. The Greek translation of the story is also ready as an open picture book and I would like to thank Dr Gerasimos Chatzidamianos and Dr Eythymia Karaouta for their valuable comments and suggestions.

We are looking for an organisation that would help us print the book, raise awareness and identify ways to help children in need. 

We can all do a little something to help…

Inside Government event 18 1 18

I am now on my way back to the North. The train has just left London and I am taking a few moments to reflect on the day. I was invited to share my work at the Embracing Technology Enhanced Learning in Higher Education event (I would have linked to the programme page but this has now disappeared…) today organised by Inside Government. I was invited thanks to being awarded Learning Technologist of the Year 2017 by the Association for Learning Technology, which is a very special award for me.

The event was a valuable opportunity to share some of the work we are doing within the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at Manchester Metropolitan University in collaboration with many colleagues from other institutions and organisations in the open through informal collaboration but also with colleagues across my own institution and their students. I found the event particularly useful to find out about practices and pedagogical and technological dilemmas in other institutions and organisations.

What I did notice is that there was a common theme that emerged during the day and this was that technology is about the people. First, I think it was articulated by Sheila MacNeill, Chair of ALT. Sheila also noted that the technology becomes the facilitator to build community. This would make a wonderful title for an article I thought… during a break Sheila co-ordinated a periscope clip to connect with the BYOD4L event that was offered and enabled some of us to share our thoughts around collaborating and building communities. Thank you Sheila.

london

Sheila in action with Peter, Stathis, Maren, Nick and Peter

I tried to remember if in my contribution I mentioned specific technologies… my focus was on the people and what we can achieve together enabled by technologies 😉

Going back to the start of the day now… George Evangelinos opened the day with a provocation that we just keep using digital technologies to do traditional tasks and not utilising them to engage in new and exciting ways with these that have the potential to transform the way we learn, teach, work and live. I was looking forward to finding out about different realities. Sarah Davies Head of Higher Education and Student Experience at Jisc shared some very interesting data from the Student Digital Experience Tracker survey. The findings show that students really value the convenience and flexibility digital technologies bring for them and that students are now using their own devices for learning. However, still mainly for accessing resources on the go, much less for interactivity and interaction with others. Sarah highlighted that the findings show that students seem to be using their devices very little for learning with others. Later Sarah made a further important observation which was linked to the research findings that reach the light of dissemination. What can we do to also share findings that are perhaps not success stories? Thinking about this would have provided me with opportunities to share even my work differently and note some of the challenges and failures that however are leading to new explorations. But also are there methodologies that are perhaps more open and more inclusive than others? I instantly thought of phenomenography where all data is used and the categories of description and the qualitatively different variations all emerge through the full data set. Something to think about a bit more…

Getting dizzy on this train… so will have to continue this later…

Mmm, I thought, perhaps my work around collaborative learning could help? What role can staff development play and what type of staff development would be appropriate? Research including my own, suggests that immersive experiences can be so powerful for academics. Being a student, a learner helps them see and experience the world from the other side, through the eyes of their own students.

I loved the beard story, yes beard story, told by Peter Bryant about how theLSE is now moving passionately and in mass? Away from the written essays and exams and introduce more diverse assessment practices that focus on learning through making and actually assessment through making or making as assessment? Making might be a strategy commonly used in Art and Design for example but perhaps much less in social sciences. What is the potential for all of us? What I took from Dr Kay Hack from the HEA is that we need to learn to let go of control and that imposed innovation (if there is such a thing…) won’t work (very well). Who wants to be told what to do? Enabling and empowering individuals to make choices and be flexible might be a useful way forward for people powered innovation. It was lovely to meet Dr Maren Deepwell, Chief Executive of ALT, thank you for saying “yes” to a recent suggestion to collaborate (more about this soon), also  Nick (I can’t remember his surname) who I first met at another conference and does interesting research in open education (I must find his surname and check if he is a member of GO-GN!), Dr Stathis Konstantinidis from the University of Nottingham who shared an impressive array of award winning open initiatives he and his team have developed and Annabeth Robinson from the University of Salford who shared her work around virtual landscape games. I am so happy that she joined us the day after for our #creativeHE meetup and I am very much looking forward to finding out more about her exciting work.

stathis

Stathis in action sharing team achievements

It was also wonderful that Peter Shukie joined us as his work around community open online learning is important and relevant to my work and what the day was about. We are looking forward to your TLC webinar and a future tweetchat. Further colleagues from the University of Wolverhampton, the University of Lincoln and the University of Brighton shared their innovative work in the area of digital learning and teaching. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to speak with everybody on the day.

Thank you everybody for such a rich experience.

Chrissi

ps. further posts relating to this event 
Maren’s post  
Sheila’s post 
Sarah’s post

pps. Sheila and I were looking forward to seeing Government/political representatives at the event… we couldn’t spot anybody.

pppps. My presentation is below

thesis now live in full and open to all to read ;) #go_gn

thesis (2)

Over the last 4.5 years I have been working on an exciting phenomenographic study through which I explored the collaborative open learning experience of learners participating in open cross-institutional academic development courses. This study brought new insights relating among others to the power of cross-boundary professional communities and the opportunities these bring for academics and other professionals who teach or support learning in higher education when learning collaboratively in the open.

The following is an commentary by Prof. Linda Drew about my study included in her pre-viva report shared with me on the 8th of September 2017, the day of my viva:

“The candidate has made an original and satisfactory contribution to the field of study. I enjoyed reading it. The candidate’s obvious enthusiasm for the topic area – and her commitment to collaborative open learning – is clear, leaving me in no doubt that this is an independent, authoritative and substantial piece of work.

The conceptual framework is clearly explained and the candidate’s personal standpoint in relation to the study is outlined in considerable depth. The choice of methodology seemed appropriate and linked well to the conceptual framework that had been established. The choice of methodology and research methods were well articulated and well defended. Limitations were acknowledged appropriately.

The work reads well overall, and is extremely systematic. The candidate is well able to explain and critique her field of research. The thesis presents a sustained argument throughout, which is well-developed in a persuasive way.

The study takes a novel, arguably radical, stance in relation to the field of academic development. I consider this to be a particular strength of the thesis. It’s novelty lies in the ways in which it evidences and illuminates participants’ experiences of ‘alternative’ continuing professional development opportunities for academics.”

My thesis has been made available in full through the Edinburgh Napier University repository. To access it click on the link below.

Nerantzi, C. (2017) Towards a framework for cross-boundary collaborative open learning for cross-institutional academic development. PhD thesis, Edinburgh: Edinburgh Napier University, available at https://www.napier.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/research-search/outputs/towards-a-framework-for-cross-boundary-collaborative-open-learning-for 

Thank you everybody who helped me get there! See who they are in the thesis. A big thank you also to my examiners Prof. Linda Drew and Prof. Kay Sambell. I will never forget viva day and what a valuable experience this was 😉

Abstract
This phenomenographic study, explores the collaborative open learning experience of academic staff and open learners in cross-institutional academic development settings, and adds to what is known in these settings. It provides new insights for academic developers and course designers about the benefits of crossing boundaries (i.e. open learning) in an academic development context and proposes an alternative model to traditional academic Continuing Professional Development (CPD). It engages academic staff in experiencing novel approaches to learning and teaching and developing as practitioners through engagement in academic CPD that stretches beyond institutional boundaries, characterised by diversity and based on collaboration and openness. Data collection was conducted using a collective case study approach to gain insights into the collective lived collaborative open learning experience in two authentic cross-institutional academic development settings with collaborative learning features designed in. At least one of the institutions involved in each course was based in the United Kingdom. Twenty two individual phenomenographic interviews were conducted and coded. The findings illustrate that collaborative open learning was experienced as two dynamic immersive and selective patterns. Boundary crossing as captured in  the categories of description and their qualitatively different variations, shaped that experience and related to modes of participation; time, place and space; culture and language as well as diverse professional contexts. Facilitator support and the elasticity of the design also positively shaped this experience. The community aspect influenced study participants’ experience at individual and course level and illuminated new opportunities for academic development practice based on cross-boundary community-led approaches. The findings synthesised in the phenomenographic  outcome space, depicting the logical relationships of the eleven categories of description in this study, organised in structural factors, illustrate how these contributed and shaped the lived experience, together with a critical discussion of these with the literature, aided the creation of the openly licensed cross-boundary collaborative open learning framework for cross-institutional academic development, the final output of this study. A design tool developed from the results is included  that aims to inform academic developers and other course designers who may be considering and planning to model and implement such approaches in their own practice.

Keywords: Academic development, collaborative open learning, boundary crossing, cross-institutional professional development, open education, social media, framework for cross-boundary collaborative open learning

About this work
Crossing boundaries with #byod4l – some thoughts on sustaining and extending open: design, resources, practice by Sheila MacNeill, 28 January 2018

Almost there now… new #open booklet in preparation #legoseriousplay #LSPHE #opened #creativecommons

The first full draft is ready (22,000 words). I have decided to share co-authorship with Alison James (@alisonrjames). Together we have done interesting work in the area of playful learning and LEGO. Bringing Alison in will enrich the booklet further as we will be able to incorporate her voice and perspective.

What it is? A booklet about using LEGO(R) SERIOUS PLAY(R) (LSP) in Higher Education (HE).

I have been using LEGO(R) since 2010 before discovering LSP when writing up some related research. Using LEGO(R) came natural to me as I have always been playful and experimental and tried new things as a learner, in my practice as a teacher, translator and academic developer but also in my life more generally. I still do. My curiosity and the novel opportunities problems present seem to be my driving force. In 2013 I completed my LSP facilitator training with Robert Rasmussen. The journey has been fascinating so far. LSP opened my eyes and mind to new ideas and possibilities that have extended my repertoire and toolkit as a facilitator aiming to create stimulating and meaningful learning experiences that help us understand ourselves, others and the world around us better and make valuable discoveries through playful making and shared reflection. I have created a range of LSP workshops and courses and am often invited to work with colleagues and their students to develop tailor-made LSP provision and courses for staff development. LSP  is such a versatile method and the potential to use in diverse HE settings is there and waiting to be explored further.

LSPbook_coverSo, what is in the booklet? After an introduction into the LSP method and its potential uses in higher education, a series of short LSP stories follows. These stories showcase how specific practitioners from a range of disciplines and professional areas currently use LSP in an higher education context. I would like to thank the following colleagues for making the time to contribute their LSP story to the collection:  Dr Stephen Powell, Neil Withnell, Sue Watling, Prof. Alison James, Graham Barton, Lesley Raven, Prof. Dr Tobias Seibl, Dr Thanassis Spyriadis, Dr Sean McCusker, Lisa Higgings, Haleh Moravej, Prof. Rebecca Lawthom and Dr Catherine Hayes. Also a big thank you to Alison Laithwaite, Dr Gayle Impey, Dr Maren Deepwell and Tom Palmer for commenting on specific LSP activity sets.

The basic structure of the LSP in HE booklet is the following:

  • Part 1 Method
  • Part 2 Stories
  • Part 3 Activity sets
  • Part 4 Variations
  • Part 5 Final remarks

Within part 3, a selection of practical activities, quite a lot of them, have been designed and added, arranged as you can see as activity sets. These are intended to support LSP workshop design and planning activities in a wide range of HE contexts:

  • LSP warm-up activity set
  • LSP activity set for learning and teaching
  • LSP activity set for recognition of teaching (HEA)
  • LSP activity set for academic development (SEDA)
  • LSP activity set for use of learning technologies (ALT)
  • LSP activity set for coaching and mentoring
  • LSP activity set for research

These LSP activities included in this booklet can be used and adapted by practitioners in their everyday practice. The booklet concludes with the introduction of LSP variations. These have been tested and used in HE settings and provide food for thought for other practitioners to consider tailoring the standard LSP method to their needs were needed and/or mixing with other pedagogical methods, frameworks or models.

January 2018 update: Prof. Alison James has joined as a co-author. We will be working on finalising the draft of the booklet soon. 

Oh and by the way, the LSP in HE booklet will be openly available online under a Creative Commons license so that we can all use it and further develop it, together as practice diversifies and related research grows.

Chrissi @chrissinerantzi


If you are new to LSP in HE, the below might be a useful starting point:

  1. In this clip colleagues share their LSP experience through an LSP course I led at Manchester Met.

2. An example of how we have used LSP with a colleague in an undergraduate module at Manchester Met is the following. This has been written with the colleague and one of her students: Nerantzi, C., Moravej, H. & Johnson, F. (2015) Play brings openness or using a creative approach to evaluate an undergraduate unit and move forward together, JPAAP, Vol 3, No. 2, pp. 82-91, available at http://jpaap.napier.ac.uk/index.php/JPAAP/article/view/141

What are our big ideas about a #coopuni? 9 November 2017 in Manchester

coopuni.jpg

#coopuni event, 9 Nov 2017, Manchester

I attended the inaugural event about a future Cooperative University as I was intrigued to find out more about it. Could a cooperative university present an attractive alternative higher education model? Thank you Ronnie for bringing this event to my attention.

A cooperative university, is a thought provoking idea. But what is the need for such a university? What would it achieve that other universities don’t and how? Is an alternative higher education needed and could such a university progressively transform existing institutions? Is this desirable? Are there opportunities within existing universities to have cooperative clusters, for example? How about open cooperatives?

I was looking forward to find out more about the cooperative university and meet Ronnie Macintyre my open practitioner buddy and others who have a vision to create alternative higher education opportunities through democratic participation. However, is this not what open education is also working towards? How does the idea for a cooperative university link to the ethos and values of open education?

Furthermore, I was interested in finding out how my practice and research in open education (Nerantzi, 2017) and particularly in open and cross-institutional academic development and collaborative open learning relates to cooperative ideas and the cooperative movement.

The aims of the day as communicated at the opening of the day were
> bring ideas together
> facilitate a mutually supportive environment
> establish a co-operative higher education forum (CHEF)

From the delegates list, I could see we were around 90 from a range of backgrounds. In the morning, after an introduction to the history of the cooperative college and related activities especially since 2010, a range of cooperative projects from across the UK were shared. After listening carefully, I think what is different in these educational initiatives is how they operate.

This is what I noticed: I can see how they are (more) cooperative. Or are they actually collaborative? I don’t know much, or very little I should say about the governance dimension of cooperatives. This is something I would like to find out more to better understand what this is all about. But I suspect that the area of governance is what differentiates a cooperative from other initiatives and businesses. It seems to me that cooperatives have the community at the heart, the collective. They aim to empower individuals but also the cooperative as a whole. The cooperative as a community. I think also to create a sense of belonging. The example from Spain of the cooperative University of Mandragora illustrated this really well through its flat structures, autonomy of faculties and the lived and dynamic culture of innovation in learning, teaching and research. It was refreshing to hear about this model that was not just an idea but something that was implemented and working. I would have liked to ask questions especially around the challenges and how these are resolved but we watched a recording so this opportunity was not there. I will have a look online to find some more information about this university as well as related research.
In the earlier examples, learning for life and for learning’s sake where mentioned, often as an alternative model to a focus on employability which is often the case in universities. While I can see value in empowering individuals to love learning, often the people we would hope to reach, are the ones who might be disadvantaged and helping them get a job would be a great achievement. Otherwise, I think otherwise any cooperative university could become exclusive and elitist? Don’t know where these thoughts are taking me now but it is something that popped into my head and wanted to share.

I can see the potential links between the idea for a cooperative university and open education but I struggle to articulate them. Could the cooperative movement provide an attractive business model for open education? Could you have open cooperatives? Not sure if business model is the right term here… but is there an opportunity to marry the two?

As I was seeing the links between open and cooperatives, it was obvious to me. I was expecting to hear something around open education, open practices, open educational resources, open badges but none of the examples shared mentioned something related. The ecological university (Barnett, 2016) and learning ecologies (Jackson, 2016) also didn’t feature. And what about the Porous University (Lennon, 2010; Macintyre, 2016). These concepts don’t promise new higher education institutions but propose to transform the existing ones from within. At least this is my understanding.

Because none of the above were not mentioned during the day, does of course not mean that the links have not been made. I need to do some reading!!! The ethos and values of open education, however, were at the heart of the initiatives that were shared. I am wondering if there is an opportunity or even a need to closer link up cooperative and open learning? What about collaboration? It was hardly mentioned… Also, are the UNESCO and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals relevant to a cooperative university?

Themes that provided discussion foci in the afternoon workshops were the following:
> Democracy, members and governance
> Knowledge, curriculum and pedagogy
> Livelihood and finances
> Bureaucracy and accreditation

I joined the pedagogy group in the afternoon as I felt that my interests would fit best but wondering now if the workshop around Democracy, members and governance would have been useful too. Would this have given me a flavour of what this is all about? We all had questions. I had more questions at the end of the workshop than at the beginning which really made me think hard about what a cooperative university would be about. I am searching for an answer myself and with others in some of the discussions we had. I think more work needs to be done to articulate the purpose and vision for a cooperative university before embarking on defining a specific pedagogical model. I think the working group that has been set-up has this purpose. Something much more organic, flexible or even elastic and open, is needed that would give learners choice. Choice to pursue what they want. And while there were some discussions that the courses might not be accredited… I think accreditation is still very important, especially in cases where such an accreditation of learning through the cooperative university would be a lifeline and not a luxury some individuals can easily find or afford elsewhere. There were mixed views about the use of technology in a cooperative university and my thoughts are that for some the online engagement might be the only viable option, for others it might not work. If such a university is going to empower the ones in real need to engage in learning, they should also have access and be able to work towards accreditation, if they wish. In my mind, a cooperative university shouldn’t be a second or third class university. And I am thinking here of providing access to education to homeless citizens for example for whom such education would give new hope and a new positive purpose in life and help them return to become contributing members of our society.

During the day, I did a lot of listening. What hooked me was the idea of and for positive disruption and making big ideas happen. But what are these big ideas linked to the cooperative university? Have they been articulated? Are they still work-in-progress? I was searching for some of them myself and in discussions with others. What makes a good idea, a big idea that gives it importance, urgency and empowers us to act?

Thank you to all organisers for a thought provoking day. Ronnie also reflected on the day and you can read his thoughts here. An article about this event was also published in THE.

Maybe there is now an opportunity to come together to draw our cooperative university or make a model of it. Such playful and pan-participatory approaches have the potential to release our inner big ideas… share them with others so that we can link them, develop them into concepts and make them happen… together…


References

Barnett, R. (2011) The coming of the ecological university, Journal Oxford Review of Education, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp. 439-455, available at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03054985.2011.595550

Jackson, N. (2016) Exploring learning ecologies, Chalk Mountain

Lennon, E. (2010) ‘The Porous University‘, New Perspectives: Arts and Humanities Enter a New Phase, London: Times Higher, Supplement on Trinity College London

Mackintyre, R. (2016) The Porous University, RoughBounds, 9 November 2016, available at https://roughbounds.wordpress.com/2016/11/09/the-porous-university/

Nerantzi, C (2017) Towards a framework for cross-boundary collaborative open learning for cross-institutional academic development, PhD thesis, Edinburgh Napier University: Edinburgh

18 years later… #phdchat

… when I arrived in the UK in 1999 I was a PhD student in the Department of Foreign Languages, Translation and Interpretation of the Ionian University and almost ready, I thought, to submit my thesis in the area of translating German children’s literature into Greek after three years of full-time and immersive research in Greece, Germany and Austria. The thesis, 80,000 words, has been written and lives in a yellow folder under my bed for 18 years… these studies remain incomplete.

thesis

Instead 18 years later, in 2017, I managed to bring new doctoral studies I started in 2013 at Edinburgh Napier University, in another language, in another country and in another discipline to fruition. I finally got there.

As living and working in between cultures is part of who I am, and translation has always been dear to my heart and helped and challenged me to develop my creativity and playfulness, I will start my new search to bring closure to these early doctoral studies I started in 1996… 21 years ago. Will I find a solution this time?