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Floodplain Meadows Partnership Ambassadors

  • Project leader(s): Emma Rothero
  • Theme: STEM engagement
  • Faculty: STEM
  • Status: Current
  • Dates: May 2019 to December 2021

We have previously undertaken simple questionnaires to gain feedback about the training, but we would like to develop this further and in-more depth to answer the following questions:

  1. How effective has our training been for trainees’ work/professional lives?
  • Has it improved knowledge and experience within their organisations
  • Has it improved their personal career development.
  • Has it resulted in improved floodplain meadow site management (better for the environment)?
  1. Can an on-line forum build a community of practise in the conservation sector?

What are you intending to do to address this issue?  

We would like to trial a number of ways to explore trainee experiences and ideas including:

For question 1: How effective has our training been for trainees’ work/professional lives?

  1. Rigorously evaluate the new cohort of Ambassadors (Phase 3) before they start their training, during their training and at the end of their training.
  2. For the baseline evaluation, we plan to use simple paper questionnaires for them to fill out during a 2-day residential course in May 2019. The initial evaluation would include questions to explore what would be most beneficial to students in terms of professional accreditation (OU course accreditation/professional body accreditation etc).
  3. For the mid-point assessment, we will be running a one-day course, at which we would table paper questionnaires to assess progress against expectations. At the final 2-day residential course, we will run a group discussion which will record their feedback about whether the course met their expectations and what could be done differently. We would transcribe this recording and evaluate comments.

For question 2: Can an on-line forum build a community of practise in the conservation sector?

  1. Set up all P3 Ambassadors with an OUCU so they can join in an OU forum created just for them, hosted on the Floodplain Meadows Partnership website The forum should be created before they come for their 1st training event in May 2019.
  2. Set up Phases 1 and 2 of the Ambassadors programme so they can also join the forum, although not so urgent as for P3.
  3. Appoint two super Ambassadors who would be paid to moderate the forum, including putting on-line threads for discussion, questions, information of interest – to keep the forum alive and active and to develop peer group support.
  4. Analyse the discussions on the forum to determine the nature of the communication. What are they using it for? How is it helping?

What do you see as the impacts, uses and outcomes of this work?

  1. Better training for future rounds of this course
  2. Learn about how to set up a community of practise – what are the best/most effective methods of communication with a group of students. Share the experience within the OU.
  3. Evidence of impact for REF (we are a REF Impact Case Study and the Ambassadors form part of the impact listed).