The OU centre for STEM pedagogy
This project originated from E&I staff tutors who noticed Associate Lecturer’s (AL’s) increased day to day requests for additional and up-to-date disability and mental health training and support to maintain their high pedagogic standards. AL’s appeared to find it difficult to offer the best practice to their DAR students with complex needs, and to manage their fuller cohort in a timely manner. Some AL’s were more proactive and shared best practice access and inclusive teaching and learning approaches peer-peer, whilst others struggled to find solutions to engaging and supporting their students with complex learning needs, which seemed to be in constant flux as the student progressed through the module.
The aim of this project is to create a trial group of AL Disability Champions who will offer peer-to-peer assistance for disability or mental health teaching inquiries. Although there is a wealth of disability support resources available at a macro level in the OU, the resources are often difficult to locate for individual time poor AL’s to fully exploit effectively. The project team will tackle this issue by collating resources for easier reference by a separate group of AL Disability Champions who will exploit the resources and training to respond to their peers’ day to day DAR teaching inquiries.
The project ultimately aims to create a peer-peer concept which in the future could be rolled out across STEM, however, the initial pilot will be contained to run with U101 (E&I school). The pilot trial will question whether this type of project can build bridges to support or add further barriers to AL’s and their students. The module U101 was specifically targeted as the pilot module due to the number of DAR students over the last 2 years. Added to this U101 offers specific practical and project skills that may hold issues for students with mental health and disabilities.
Evaluation of Outcomes