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Open Units and Engaged Learning

Hannah Tweddell shares outcomes and discussion areas from April’s Engaged Learning event.

Engaged Learning sees students working in partnership with community organisations as part of the curriculum.  The Engaged Learning Community is a joint Careers Service/ BILT peer support network for academics and professional service staff interested in Engaged Learning opportunities.  The Community generates topics for discussion and resources to develop.

April’s meeting focused on open units as a method of providing students with an interdisciplinary Engaged Learning opportunity and a chance to work on civic challenges.  We were joined by Professor Alvin Birdi, Academic Lead for Open Units and Sophie Billings, Academic Quality Manager from AQPO, who gave an overview of open units and talked about how Engaged Learning could be incorporated into the exiting open units as well as some of the challenges.  You can see a recording of the presentation here and the PowerPoint on the Engaged Learning SharePoint site.

The meeting broke into groups for discussion. Themes that arose included:

  • A clear student demand for Engaged Learning opportunities
  • The challenge of providing Engaged Learning at scale
  • The need to think differently about assessing Engaged Learning, for example, through reflective assessment
  • The need for template resources to make running opportunities easier.

Although a challenge, providing Engaged Learning opportunities through open units certainly has potential and we hope to explore this further.

The group decided that our next meeting at 11am on the 2ndJune will focus on a brief catch up of the year about moving opportunities online and start to think about what resources we would like to work on next year.  If you are interested in attending the meeting or joining the Community, please email Hannah Tweddell.


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