Open STEM is a HEA/JISC-funded project to release staff development materials, with particular emphasis on resources for teachers in mathematics and biosciences.
Outline project description
Open STEM, will build upon our successful JISC-funded institutional project Open Exeter, from the OER Phase-1 projects, and will draw on material from our two HEA-accredited courses for academic staff and teaching assistants in HE, mapping to the UK Professional Standards Framework (UK PSF), to provide a rich range of STEM-specific open resources for educators and professional development teams. We will focus specifically on Mathematics and Biosciences, as exemplars of the diversity of activities within STEM subjects, and we will demonstrate how courses based on the UK PSF can be tailored to the individual needs of specific disciplines, and the benefits to staff and students of doing so.
Improving STEM skills are considered essential to enable the UK to maintain global competitiveness and connecting the core themes of teaching and research excellence is a key part of our Science and Education strategies. Critical to the success of these agendas are addressing the professional development needs of staff and research students, embedding reflective practices based on the UK PSF as core responsibilities and providing the discipline-specific courses and resources that can permit them to do so effectively. Open STEM, like Open Exeter, also fundamentally addresses our marketing aspiration of OER in attracting high calibre, particularly international, staff and research students by demonstrating the quality of the support and environment we offer at Exeter.
We will draw extensively on resources from a 30-credit module “Creating Effective Learning” from our Academy-accredited Master’s level programme for new academic staff, and a 15-credit equivalent Academy-accredited course for teaching assistants. Discipline-specific secondees teaching on these programmes, from Mathematics and Biosciences, will enhance these materials and commission new resources, particularly audio and video, to create activities and interventions that enable staff in these disciplines to reflect more effectively on their practice and facilitate engagement with the broader pedagogy of learning and teaching in HE. Our decision to focus on Mathematics and Biosciences as exemplars will enable us to illustrate the diversity of pedagogic practices within STEM subjects, allow us to explore how discipline-specific considerations inform teaching choices and application of the wider pedagogy, and will demonstrate the benefits of reflection across disciplines to share and enhance best practice in each. These resources will form part of a coherent over-arching pedagogical package that will be of significant value to staff and academic development teams, can be dipped into at different levels and, in line with current practice on our Academy-accredited programmes, engage the user with a range of nationally-important HE themes (e.g. employability, sustainability, inclusivity) within which to situate and reflect on their own practice.