Driving Disruptive Innovation: Analysis of changes in Professional Practice through the production of an OU module (S309)

Littlejohn, Allison; Papathoma, Tina; Smidt, Samantha; Jelfs, Anne; Bridgman, Sarah and Coe, Angela (2015). Driving Disruptive Innovation: Analysis of changes in Professional Practice through the production of an OU module (S309). Open University Insight.

Abstract

The intention of this report is to analyse the Driving Disruptive Innovation (DDI) project that took place in 2015. The aim is to surface lessons learned and provide recommendations to the Open University, including Project Minerva.

The Learning and Teaching Solutions (LTS) DDI group, the S309 academic module team and the Science faculty management worked together and experimented with new practices for developing the S309 module design and content. The central innovation in this initiative was that the academics authored directly onto an open online platform in order to develop alternative approaches to producing and presenting the module.

This experimental module design altered the roles of the different members and created, on the one hand, opportunities and a sense of greater control but on the other, tensions as to the relative importance, or value, of the newly emerging roles. In the early stages of the project, the new roles presented both LTS and academic staff with exciting opportunities and freedoms. However, when the parameters of the project changed both groups found that the new ways of working they had negotiated no longer served them well and both groups experienced a sense of demotivation and frustration.

People’s motivations change as their practice develops and a return to an earlier way of working is very dispiriting - having seen the value in the new ways of working makes going back to previous ways very difficult.

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