#creativeHE is an open collaborative community for creative and innovative practitioners which exists online at https://plus.google.com/communities/110898703741307769041 through which a series of events and courses have been offered by the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at Manchester Metropolitan University in partnership with Creative Academic and facilitators from a range of institutions nationally and internationally.
We will continue connecting, collaborating, experimenting and learning together online this year and have just launched the Creativity in Practice project led by Prof. Norman Jackson.
This academic year, we have introduced local meetups. Our second one will take place at Manchester University on the 28th of November, 12-2pm. The focus on this meetup is the creative use of pedagogical frameworks and models. Come along to showcase such examples from your practice, share your ideas and develop them further. Staff, students and the wider public, all very welcome. For more information and to register, please access http://www.celt.mmu.ac.uk/community/creativehe.php We are very much looking forward to seeing you there.
More info about the #creativeHE initiative:
It aims to support pedagogical rebels and free-thinking innovators in experimenting with, developing, sharing and getting support for novel learning and teaching ideas as well as initiate and disseminate research activity around these that have the power to transform the student and staff experience within and beyond institutional boundaries.
This community is open to anyone who would like to join, academic staff, students and the wider public. All who have an interest in creative and innovative approaches to teaching and helping others learn.
We meet physically on a monthly basis, each time at a different institution. During our meetups, we will have the opportunity to get to know each other, share and grow new ideas, take risks and support each other in our creative adventures, experiment and play, as well as test and develop pedagogical ideas and identify ways to take them forward.
We will continue using the #creativeHE online community space which now supports and connects a global community of over 600 people. Furthermore, this space will offer additional opportunities for professional development through online discussions, events and courses that are organised through #creativeHE, the Creative Academic and the wider academic community. The openly licensed #101creativeideas project will help us collect and share our ideas and the pedagogic innovators project (#pin) to engage in related research activities.
Our monthly local gatherings will be about 2 to 3 hours. We welcome institutions who would like to participate in #creativeHE events by organising a local meetup. All we need is a flexible space for up to 30 individuals.
We suggest that each meetup features time for socialising. As the meetups will all be free and open, we encourage each participant to bring a gift of food and/or non-alcoholic drinks to share with other participants. Homemade and more healthy contributions are very welcome as are foods from different cultures. In this simple way we aim to encourage sharing of the many cultures that make up our society.
The institutional contact will coordinate the monthly gathering and a booking system will be in place through CELT at Manchester Metropolitan University. If you would like to become a #creativeHE champion in your institution, please get in touch with us.
We are really looking forward to seeing you again online and locally,
Chrissi and Norman on behalf of the #creativeHE team
GREAT THINGS HAPPEN WHEN PEOPLE COLLABORATE TO LEARN TOGETHER
Chrissi from CELT attended the inaugural event in Manchester that had a focus on a future Cooperative University and writes a little reflective narrative about the day. The plan was to keep it short… but it ended up a bit longer. Hopefully it is useful to others. Here it comes…
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. 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…
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
Participate in the Pedagogic Innovators study or short #pin.
This study will investigate
1) The beliefs, attitudes and values of higher education teachers as pedagogic innovators.
2) Conceptions of pedagogic innovation in the context of their practice, their curricular design and students’ development.
3) Enabling and prohibiting factors of becoming pedagogic innovators for academics and other professionals who teach or support learning in HE
Check out the survey at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdHLaXOs4xW55hFktGCu225x3LvcR_e-KcHQWaKGTWYIxBwYQ/viewform for information regarding this project, to provide your consent after reading the related documentation carefully and to complete the #pin survey.
The project is supported by Barbara Thomas, HE Consultant and Prof. Norman Jackson, founder of the Creative Academic Network.
Since April 2017, we have started an informal collaborating with HEFCE (Dr Helen King and the Catalyst projects) and City University of London. Please let us know if you want your institution involved and we will add it to the survey, so that you can get institution specific data. A summary of a recent #pin workshop can be found here.
Outputs from this study will be openly licensed and shared with the wider academic community so that we can all benefit.
Please share this invitation with further colleagues teaching in higher education who might also be interested. Thank you very much.
Chrissi (Nerantzi) on behalf of the research team
National Teaching Fellow
Dear Gardeners and Greenhouse friends,
We hope you are well and keeping warm. Our next Greenhouse gathering is on the 23rd of November at 12pm in SB G07. We hope you can join us at 12pm.
Dr Helena Kettleborough, Associate Lecturer (Department of Management) is the Greenhouse gardener of the month. This is how Helena introduces her gathering:
Jump into winter
As the nights draw in and the majestic skies of winter open before us, come and explore participative action research:
Living life as inquiry: what is happening to the animals?
Explore extended ways of knowing as a response to ‘wicked challenges’.
Co-operative learning between students and lecturers? Our way into hopeful futures? Mini second person action research inquiry
“College students should feel that they are participating in one of the most significant ventures ever to take place in the entire history of the planet.” (Thomas Berry, “The American College in the Ecological Age,” in The Dream of the Earth, 1988: 97).
“…it is the time for universities to rethink themselves and what they are doing.” (Thomas Berry, “The University,” in The Great Work, 199:85).
We are looking forward to seeing you!
Helena and Chrissi
ps. If you would like to facilitate a Greenhouse gathering this year, please get in touch with Chrissi at c.nerantzi @ mmu . ac . uk (without the spaces)
Yes, #creativeHE is back! For the 4th time.
for a week to explore together
We start on the 1st of July and will be together for 7 whole days. Prof. Norman Jackson and many colleagues from different institutions in the UK and elsewhere will join us on this fascinating journey. Join the #creativeHE community and find out more about this great opportunity to connect, collaborate and learn within a diverse community.
We hope this event will be of interest and value to you and that you will enjoy the experience.
The #creativeHE team