Conference – Abstract



Research is often seen as the ultimate aim of the scholar, Boyer (1990). Universities pride themselves in leading the way in the field of research, the forerunners of innovation and discovery.   In the UK, there are several types of organisations which deliver Higher Education. These comprise Universities (including the prestigious Russell Group), training providers delivering Higher Apprenticeship and also Higher Education (HE) Centres based in Further Education (FE) colleges.

HE Centres within FE colleges serve a different purpose than traditional Universities. They are often responsive to local labour demands, specialise in technical and flexible part time programmes and increase participation in Higher Education, (Association of Colleges (AOC) 2015). Fostered from these differences are cultural differences.   HE centres are born out of the FE (teaching) culture and not the HE (research) culture.

The AOC (2015) in response to addressing these differences are overseeing a Scholarship Project aiming over the next three years of building a framework to support staff in HE centres become more scholarly.  The project proposal outlines Boyer’s (1990) four areas of scholarly activity, namely, discovery (research), integration, application and teaching.

The Education sector is facing a considerable amount of change. FE colleges are undergoing area reviews which could lead to college mergers, (Dept for Business Innovation and Skills 2015). Becoming more research focused and firmly establishing themselves in HE is strategically desirable as HE taps into different funding streams.   Within Universities there are proposals for a teaching excellence framework to focus on the teaching within Universities, (Times Higher Education 2015). The result of these developments may result in FE becoming more research focused and HE becoming more teaching focused.

The development of digital technologies is also driving change within education. There are an increasing number of tools available which can deliver and promote learning in innovative ways. Jisc (2015) and The Russell Group (2015) both discuss open access policies which encourage data sets to be published. Digital technologies have enabled data sets to be available quickly in a global arena.  Jisc (2015) state that the open access policy will promote innovation and economic growth.

Perhaps now marks a new era of education, traditional organisational culture is blurring and technology is driving openness. It is with these drivers in mind that I aim to deliver a resource that can stimulate and capture any type of scholarly activity.

Open Space is a platform which can be built by any practitioner regardless of institution, using free web based tools. It will engage practitioners in digital and open practices which mirrors the era that students are now learning in. The prototype will include an area to create an individual online library, use networking tools to keep up to date in their field and an area for reflective blogging and collaboration.   Using these tools will not only stimulate but capture scholarly activity irrespective of institutional culture – current or future.

The presentation will be an overview of how these tools are combined within one platform to engage individuals without institutional boundaries.  It will show examples of activity which can be captured to demonstrate all the four types of scholarly activity.

Conference Link

Open space: A prototype to stimulate and capture the scholarly activity for FE practitioners delivering HE in FE centres

Conference 13th February 2016 in cloudworks – click here to view more


Association of Colleges (AOC) (2015) – last accessed 29th December 2015)

Boyer, E. (1990) Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. New York: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Department for Business Innovation and Skills (2015) Policy paper, Post-16 education and training institutions review, published, July 2015 (last accessed 29th December 2015)

Times Higher Education (2015) – 4/8/15 Teaching excellence framework (TEF): everything you need to know last accessed 29th December 2015

Image – Mastermlndsro –


Thank you Simon Ball (OU tutor) for the valuable feedback.


One response

  1. […] The conference abstract which sets the back ground to the project has a dedicated blog post – click here to link to the abstract. […]


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