25 Jun 2009

Two Open University Academics honoured with National Teaching Fellowships

Ian Fribbance

Ian Fribbance

Ian Fribbance, Associate Dean in the Faculty of Social Sciences, and Pam Shakespeare, Professor of Practice-based Open Learning in the Faculty of Health and Social Care, have been awarded National Teaching Fellowships from the Higher Education Academy. Chosen from 203 nominations from across England and Northern Ireland, Ian and Pam will each receive an award of £10,000, which will be used for their own professional development.

Denise Kirkpatrick, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Learning, Teaching and Quality at The Open University, said: “I am delighted to see the achievements of Pam and Ian recognised through these awards. Both are outstanding examples of committed, professional teachers. Ian and Pam have developed innovative responses to the challenges of engaging students in distance contexts. Ian’s work has had a substantial influence on our widening participation agenda and Pam has played a leading role working across the university via our Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. I congratulate Pam and Ian.

“Open University staff have been presented with one or more of the Fellowship Awards every year since 2004, and winning again this year recognises the commitment of our staff – and the University– to excellence and innovative teaching. Innovation continues to be a hallmark of learning and teaching at The Open University in 2009, our 40th anniversary year.”

Ian Fribbance
In his time at the OU, Ian has had a major impact on the teaching of economics and on learning and teaching practices across the Faculty. He created a ground breaking personal finance curriculum, leading the production of the course You and Your Money – the first higher education financial literacy course – which became the largest economics-related course in Europe after registering over 6,000 students in just two years. Helping to foster an academic community around personal finance, many of those involved are now at the fore of policy making in these recessionary times.

Ian has also led on the development of a new Foundation Degree and new assessment methods, which have contributed to a 50% increase in economics students at the OU. His emphasis on innovation has helped push forward greater use of Virtual Learning Environments, podcasts, content for iTunes U and other online activity in the Faculty.

Ian said: “I am thrilled that the innovative work to create the personal finance curriculum has been recognised. It is helping to lead the way across a number of areas - such as working with employers, skills academies, professional bodies and Further Education colleges – and has been highly original in attracting wholly new groups of learners. So in a way I believe it is helping the OU to redefine its original mission of social justice in education, for the 21st century”

Professor Pam Shakespeare
Pam says: “I’m really pleased that this sort of work is being recognised. For a number of years now both myself and colleagues have been developing learning activities which draw on experience and practice as rich learning resources for practice-based learning. It’s about beginning with what the learner has on offer. So I feel this award is one for the learners!”

Pam started working with the OU over 30 years ago and initially focused on parenting courses. She has always been interested, and specialised, in developing teaching and learning which enables people to use their experience. Projects have included developing distance learning for social work in Armenia, materials for carers working with older people, and materials on mentoring and various forms of collegial support.

From 2002-2004 Pam directed the innovative National Pre-registration Distance Learning Nursing programme. The programme caters for experienced workers that, through personal and domestic circumstances, have been unable to use the usual pathways to nursing qualification. Since 2005 she has been a principal in the Practice Based Professional Learning Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning where her current investigations are on reflective practice and the development of user-generated content in the context of practice settings.

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