Institute of Educational Technology


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Institute of Educational Technology

  1. 1. Institute of Educational Technology Information for applicants Post title: Research Associate Salary: £29,704 - £35,469 pro rata Grade: AC2 Post reference: 6187 Contract type: 12 month temporary contract (Part time approximately 15 hours a week) Part time and job share applications will be considered Closing date: 12 noon - 12th Jan 2010 Interview date: 18 January 2010 Information included in this pack: Section: 1.0 University and Institute information 1.1 The Open University 1.2 Institute of Educational Technology 2.0 Benefits and facilities 3.0 The post 3.1 Post details 3.2 Job description 3.3 Person specification 4.0 Applying for the post 4.1 How to apply 4.2 Application information /home/pptfactory/temp/20100510090522/institute-of-educational-technology4848.doc Page 1 of 12 September 2008
  2. 2. Section 1.0: UNIVERSITY AND INSTITUTE INFORMATION Section 1.1: THE OPEN UNIVERSITY The Open University transforms lives through education. It has become by far the largest university in the UK, now teaching well over 200,000 people every year. We have expanded our activities throughout Europe and our highly rated teaching materials are used by other institutions in many parts of the world. We are consistently achieving high rankings both in research and teaching quality assessments. Teaching is through the provision of specially designed, high quality, materials encompassing traditional print texts, television, video, CD-ROM, internet and electronic conferencing together with first class personalised tuition, learning feedback and support. The success of the Open University is due to our outstanding staff. There are around 13,000 staff (including 7,500 Associate Lecturers). Staff and potential staff are treated solely on the basis of their merits, abilities and potential, regardless of gender, colour, ethnic or national origin, age, socio-economic background, disability, religious or political beliefs, family circumstances, sexual orientation or other irrelevant distinction. We are also committed to the development of our staff to their full potential through lifelong learning, offering a range of formal and informal training and development activities to ensure that staff are able to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities and to help meet individual and University objectives. Our objective is that all staff undertake a minimum of 5 days development activity in each year. Section 1.2: INSTITUTE OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY IET’s vision places it at the hub of the OU, connecting together a network of innovation and expertise in learning and teaching and using this collective power to change the face of education. We have around 80 staff who collaborate with teams across the OU and externally. The Institute is: o A centre of expertise in educational technology, promoting and embedding good practice and driving professional development of staff o At the heart of the OU, directly influencing the OU’s strategy o Outward looking and responsive to our clients: CAUs and VCE o Respected within the OU as providing strategic advice and support o Delivering a significant volume of high impact, internationally renowned research The Institute also plays an important role in institutional research, course development and evaluation. It works to inform, promote and support institutional learning by helping the University increase its understanding of the needs of adult learners and of its own development as a teaching institution. It seeks to achieve this through its research and evaluation work which also contributes to the University’s Quality Assurance systems and plays an important part in the external QA procedures required by the Quality Assurance Agency. The University’s external ratings rank it in the top ten teaching institutions. The Institute provides advice on the use of modern technologies to support effective learning, particularly distance learning and e-learning, in higher education. It is committed to developing expertise in teaching and learning and to applying it, particularly to the benefit of the Open University. /home/pptfactory/temp/20100510090522/institute-of-educational-technology4848.doc Page 2 of 12 September 2008
  3. 3. In addition to studying, evaluating and influencing OU practices, we carry out basic research into learning and e-learning, and applied research into the use of new technologies. We also work in the field of professional development in Higher Education and have a strong and successful record of postgraduate teaching. Implicit in our work is the idea that IET is a knowledge translator. It seeks out knowledge and understanding, whether from outside the OU and UK, or from within, works on it and then shares it with course teams, teachers, designers and policy-makers so that they can act on the basis of research evidence. It is outward-facing and OU-serving. There is a thriving research higher degree programme with 26 students, 14 of whom are full time and benefit from an onsite programme of seminars and supervision. We have research activity in a number of areas; including computer assisted learning in science education, portable computing in learning environments, computer based concept mapping, use of computer mediated communication in humanities HE, Academic literacies, assessment design and learning outcomes. The Institute also has ESRC recognition for research student training, and full-time students study an MSc in Research Methods for Educational Technology for their first year, tutored by members of IET. Research student supervision is complemented by the MA in Open and Distance Education and the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Members of IET work within a programme structure which is divided into two main themes, Learning & Teaching and Research & Scholarship. IET’s programme structure is flexible to be responsive to changes in the environment and in the OU’s strategic direction. Staff work collaboratively with each other across programmes on a variety of projects and activities: Learning & Teaching IET’s expertise in pedagogy and technology is co-ordinated by the Associate Director (Learning and Teaching) who has overall responsibility for the Learning & Teaching Programme in IET. IET works closely with other faculties and units in the Learning and Teaching area to develop the University’s curriculum and pedagogical effectiveness. The Institute is engaged in strategic collaborative relationships across the OU that have impact on how courses are taught. This includes leading roles on a number of institutionally strategic projects, such as: o OpenLearn o BioDiversity project o Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) o Learning Design project Projects in the Learning & Teaching programme concentrate on one or more aspects of understanding the student experience and how it affects student learning. The IET Learning & Teaching programme delivers educational and professional development activities to enable staff to support the University’s e-learning and e-teaching strategy. IET offers a qualification for staff members in higher education who teach or directly support student learning. Our experience and knowledge of using new technologies to support good learning, teaching and assessment practices are presented and developed in the following taught course programmes: • Masters in Online and Distance Education • Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice • Open University's Masters in Research Methods programme /home/pptfactory/temp/20100510090522/institute-of-educational-technology4848.doc Page 3 of 12 September 2008
  4. 4. Other key activities include developing new software for use in teaching and learning as well as making practical use of existing technologies. Research & Scholarship IET’s programme of Research & Scholarship is co-ordinated by the Associate Director (Research & Scholarship). All IET research is aligned to one or more of the University’s strategic objectives and is geared to targeting a portfolio of high value, high impact bids. IET fosters collaborative research networks with Faculties and service units across the OU and externally. Projects in the programme include research into learning in a more open world, digital scholarship, e-assessment, researching how the net generation learns, social networking in education, learning design and mobile technologies such as the use of mobile devices in teaching and learning. Planning and Resources IET’s programme of work is supported by the Planning and Resources Team, led by the Associate Director (Planning and Resources) enabling the effective running of the programme through provision of financial, staffing, research and project support. Client Focus IET’s programme of work is tailored around the needs of the OU and external clients. IET’s Senior Client Partner liaises with internal and external clients, scoping and developing strategic strands of work, promoting IET innovations and services and enhancing IET’s reputation. Institute Services brings together academic-related staff providing generic services across Centres and is headed by the Associate Director (Planning and Resources). Within Institute Services there are four sub-teams: Communications and Information Technology, Resources and Planning,, Learning and Teaching Development and the Course Management Team. Further information on the Institute may be found on its website at /home/pptfactory/temp/20100510090522/institute-of-educational-technology4848.doc Page 4 of 12 September 2008
  5. 5. Section 2.0: BENEFITS AND FACILITIES The following is a summary of staff benefits and facilities. Full details will be provided on successful appointment. Staff We have a strong commitment to providing training and development in development: and beyond your current role. This includes thorough induction into the organisation and regular reviews of your training and development needs. The objective is that all staff should undertake at least five days’ development activity in each year – this may include attendance at formal courses or other learning e.g. use of self-study material. We invest substantial time and money in our staff development provisions and we waive fees for staff wishing to study our own courses. Annual leave: The annual leave entitlement is 30 days (for secretarial and clerical staff) or 33 days (for academic, academic-related and research staff) in addition to all bank and other public holidays and an additional 3 days at Christmas when the University is closed. Study leave: Permanent central academic staff (those on contracts of two years or more) are entitled to study leave on full salary for research or other approved academic purposes for two months in each leave year. For regional academic staff the entitlement is to study leave on full salary for two months within each period of two years’ completed service. Pension Staff have the option of contributing to a Final Salary pension scheme and schemes: the University contributes around 14% of salary. Full details will be sent with any offer of employment but any preliminary enquiries should be addressed to the Pensions Section, Human Resources Division 01908 652431 or 652957. Relocation Staff are normally expected to live within a reasonable travelling distance expenses: of their place of work. The University will make a grant for expenses necessarily incurred for removals and disturbance, within certain rules and subject to a maximum payment. Full details will be sent with any offer of employment. The removal grant does not apply on appointments of less than two years’ duration. Family friendly  Staff are entitled to 52 weeks’ maternity/adoption leave. Statutory policies: maternity/adoption pay will be paid for a maximum period of the first 39 weeks, made up to full pay for the first 18 weeks, subject to minimum service conditions. Staff have the right to return to work at any time within 52 weeks of the maternity leave start date, again subject to certain conditions.  Staff are entitled to a maximum of 10 days’ paid paternity leave in connection with their wife’s/partner’s confinement in any one leave year in addition to normal leave entitlement, again subject to certain conditions.  Pre-School Childcare Subsidy: we have a means-tested childcare subsidy scheme. Those eligible are provided with a Childcare Voucher that can be used as part payment for the care of children under 5 years of age. For further information about the scheme contact Human Resources on 01908 655050.  Childcare Vouchers: our salary sacrifice scheme enables staff to take advantage of tax and NI exemption on up to £243 of childcare vouchers per month. The scheme is managed by Busy Bees. Further information will be provided on appointment. /home/pptfactory/temp/20100510090522/institute-of-educational-technology4848.doc Page 5 of 12 September 2008
  6. 6. Local education Information on local schools can be obtained from the Learning and (Milton Keynes): Development Directorate, Milton Keynes Borough Council on 01908 253489 or visit their website at Nurseries (staff The Mulberry Bear Day Nursery and Pre-School is a purpose-built nursery based in Milton on the Walton Hall campus. It is an independent charity supported by The Keynes only): Open University and managed by parents. OU staff applications are given priority and, whilst there are full and part-time places available now, there may be a waiting list in some age groups. For further information, please telephone Milton Keynes 01908 653867, e-mail: or see their website at There are a number of other private nurseries in the Milton Keynes area. Facilities:  Catering facilities at Walton Hall provide meals, snacks and drinks. Facilities in regional centres vary.  Open University Club (offering a number of club and society events, sports and social outlets). Facilities  Occupational Health Department provides professional advice to located at the individuals and managers on all work related health issues. Walton Hall  NatWest bank sub-branch. campus:  Shop selling general provisions. Smoking policy: Please note that smoking is not permitted in University buildings, bars and catering areas. Smoking is permitted only in designated outdoor areas. /home/pptfactory/temp/20100510090522/institute-of-educational-technology4848.doc Page 6 of 12 September 2008
  7. 7. Section 3.0: THE POST - 6187 Section 3.1: POST DETAILS Post Ref: 6187 Post title: Research Associate Reports to: Dr. Anne Adams and Dr. Trevor Collins Unit and/or team: Technology Enhanced Learning Group Salary details: AC2 £29,704 - £35,469 pro rata Location: Walton Hall, Milton Keynes Contract type: 12 month temporary contract – 15 hours per week Job share Yes considered: Criminal Record N/A Check: Section 3.2: JOB DESCRIPTION Out There In Here (OTIH) project outline This presents an exciting opportunity within world-class research to advance ubiquitous technologies and our understanding of equity in distributed learning. Funded by the Digital Economies programme (EPSRC led) and collaborating with Microsoft and the Sea (a Mobile learning company) this project seeks to link multi-touch table top and mobile technology to support distributed teams in geology field trip learning. These systems will support mobility impaired and disadvantaged students who are excluded from this type of learning and lead to alternate ways of knowledge sharing in other domains (e.g. healthcare, safety critical industries) State of the art developments will integrate mobile and table-top hardware, software and middleware technologies based on in situ user studies. Interlinked methods should allow distributed teams to build up a dynamic shared picture of the geological field site through, on the one hand, observing, accessing, and collecting physical data about certain aspects of the geological site (e.g. rock formations, existence of fossil types in certain locations) and on the other, gathering clues and generating inquiries, via interacting with digital information on the tabletop. The orchestration of the activities with the technologies and locations will be essential to development and an analogy of the 1980s TV series ‘Treasure Hunt’ has benefited appropriate understanding of these developments. There will be three main aims and thus outputs from this project: i) to develop prototype middleware for synchronous collaboration between mobile devices and table-top technologies (i.e. Microsoft Surface) ii) to establish an understanding of how this can be done equitably and iii) to develop a business case for how this technology can support distance learning models to supplement expensive field trip learning. Main purpose of the post You will be involved in organising and coordinating research using the set-up of off-the shelf mobile systems (e.g. OOKL software on Nokia mobile phones to log information from the field to a website). This post will also investigate the use of other mobile tools to record and transmit field-trip information for synchronous remote collaboration (e.g. Netbooks, mobiles phones like the Apple iPhone or Android phones, and data loggers and sensors). /home/pptfactory/temp/20100510090522/institute-of-educational-technology4848.doc Page 7 of 12 September 2008
  8. 8. During this project you will be responsible for collaborating closely with another RA and other research team members on developing synchronous communication between mobile and table-top systems and the collection of field trip evaluation data. The post holder will be required to complete short technical reports for publication and collaborate with industrial partners on the developments. Section 3.3: PERSON SPECIFICATION Essential 1. A background in computing or other related subjects, at Bachelors degree level or equivalent, preferably with experience in mobile communications, and human computer interaction. 2. Good system development skills – in particular with regard to mobile computing; web development scripting (e.g. PHP, Perl, Python), Web server configuration and administration (e.g. XAMPP) and computer network configuration (TCP/IP) 3. Demonstrably good research project management skills including; organizational skills, completing work to tight schedules and report writing 4. Ability to work well as a member of a team 5. Ability and willingness to travel to the research locations, and for other work-related purposes such as conferences Desirable 1. Experience of field trip evaluations and recording equipment 2. Experience with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) server configuration (such as Asterisk) 3. Experience of Phone or softphone applications (such as X-Ten, Ekiga or Twinkle) 4. usage of Video streaming from IP cameras or IP video encoders 5. Experience of Webcasting technologies 6. Research and / or publications in an area of Mobile Communications, Human- Computer Interaction, Ubiquitous computing, interface design, educational technology 7. Driving licence and access to a car. /home/pptfactory/temp/20100510090522/institute-of-educational-technology4848.doc Page 8 of 12 September 2008
  9. 9. Section 4.0: APPLYING FOR THE POSTS P Enquiries If you would like an informal discussion about these posts before making an application please contact Dr. Anne Adams, e-mail or Dr. Trevor Collins, e- mail PLYING FOR T Section 4.1: HOW TO APPLY The following guidelines are designed to help you submit a job application in line with our requirements. Applicants who do not follow the procedure set out below will be at a disadvantage. All applicants will be automatically considered for both roles. a) Completing the application form: It is in your interest to show how your experience and personal qualities address the person specification for the role. Please ensure that you complete all the sections of the form, giving as much detail as possible, including your date of birth. The latter will not be used/seen by members of the appointment panel during the selection process. It is, however, required for administrative purposes in connection with the University’s retirement policy (see section 4.2) and we will have to contact you if you do not complete this part of the form. CV’s will not be accepted on their own and other submissions cannot be taken into account during the shortlisting process unless specifically requested by the Open University. Once completed, you must sign and date the application form to confirm that the information and any attachments are correct. Internal applicants only - information about references: When completing the ‘References’ section of the application form, please ensure you specify your Head of Unit as your ‘current employer’, as he/she is responsible for providing this reference or nominating an appropriate alternative referee. Please be advised that the employing Unit is responsible for requesting references from your referees. b) Covering letter or supporting statement Your covering letter or statement should clearly identify how you meet the person specification. Please ensure you provide relevant examples as evidence to support your statements. You will need to read carefully any specific instructions concerning what should be included in your application (this will be in the additional information you have concerning the job). Please ensure you comply with these instructions, as if you do not the panel will not shortlist you. The selection panel will consider how well the information you provide demonstrates that you meet the capabilities identified in the person specification. c) Curriculum Vitae (CV): Applicants for academic posts may wish to enclose a CV with their application. This should include details of relevant publications but it is preferable not to duplicate information included in the application form. /home/pptfactory/temp/20100510090522/institute-of-educational-technology4848.doc Page 9 of 12 September 2008
  10. 10. Please do not include any information in your CV that might give an indication of your race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation, as these details are irrelevant to your application. d) Submitting your application: Please send completed applications to: Recruitment Co-ordinator Institute of Educational Technology The Open University Walton Hall MK7 6AA If you wish to send your application electronically please e-mail it to: /home/pptfactory/temp/20100510090522/institute-of-educational-technology4848.doc Page 10 of 12 September 2008
  11. 11. Section 4.2: APPLICATION INFORMATION Eligibility: The post is open to both internal and external applicants. Closing date: 12 noon – 8 January 2010. Applications received after this will not be accepted. Shortlisting: Shortlisting will be completed as soon as possible after the closing date. Interviews: Interviews will be held on 18 January 2010 and will take place in Milton Keynes. References for When completing the ‘Referees’ section of the application form shortlisted please give the name of 3 referees, one of whom must be your candidates: current or most recent employer. All referees whose details are included on the application form will be contacted before the interview unless you have indicated that you wish otherwise. Disabled The Open University welcomes applications from disabled people. If applicants: you require any adjustments to enable you to attend the interview please ensure that you have provided this information on your application form. If you are called for interview, please discuss any adjustments you may require to carry out the duties of the role with the interview panel so that the appropriate arrangements and any adjustments can be made if necessary (Under the Disability Discrimination Act, a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities). Please let us know if you need your copy of the further particulars in large print, on computer disc or on audio cassette tape. Access details for disabled applicants are available from Priya Punchihewa on +44 (0) 1908 655808. Proof of There are legal restrictions on who may undertake employment eligibility to in the United Kingdom. Residents of the European Economic work in the UK Area and Switzerland are permitted to work within the UK, however citizens of other countries normally need to be sponsored by a UK employer and granted permission to stay in the UK by the UK Border Agency, in order to undertake employment with the sponsoring employer. When applying to the UK Border Agency in order to sponsor someone, the University will be required to demonstrate that the job is at skill level S/NVQ level 3 or above, and that there are no other suitable candidates for the post who are ‘settled workers’, i.e. resident in any of the countries as stated above. Candidates who are invited for interview will be required to provide proof of their eligibility to work in the UK by producing verifiable documents. Details of the required documents will be sent to those candidates who are invited for interview and the relevant original documents must be brought along to the interview for checking and copying. If you require sponsorship this will be processed should your application for appointment be successful. To find out what visas and permissions you may require in order to work in the UK please see or telephone 0114 207 4074, the general enquiries line is open from 09.00 to 17.00, Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays. /home/pptfactory/temp/20100510090522/institute-of-educational-technology4848.doc Page 11 of 12 September 2008
  12. 12. Retirement age: The Open University operates a normal retirement age of 65. Applications can only be accepted from people up to the age of 64 years and 6 months at the date of their application. This is in line with the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. Recruitment If you have any comments or concerns about any stage of the Process recruitment process please write to the HR Adviser Central Academic Units, Human Resources, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, who will look into the matter. /home/pptfactory/temp/20100510090522/institute-of-educational-technology4848.doc Page 12 of 12 September 2008