When I talk about innovation, what do I mean

Innovation in your context

I am going to write expressly from the context of working as an associate lecturer at the Open University. I work on two modules, tutoring three presentations in all. One module seems in itself to be quite innovative, in approach, in its responsiveness to feedback and current knowledge. The other module is not exploring pedagogy of online learning in nearly as much detail.

On the basis of your own experience:
Do you sense that your innovations (as supporters of learning) have been valued, encouraged, supported?

This question assumes that I innovate in the context of my OU work as an associate lecturer and I am not sure that I really do. I think I make small steps and if I announce these to my colleagues then they are often supported. For example, I have made suggestions to students in a recent batch of marking that was noticed by a course team member during monitoring and he is thinking about including those in future presentations. But is my innovative nature, the one I like to think I possess, exploited, encouraged and expressly valued, no I don’t think so. 

On the other hand, I am also taking part in the Higher Education Academy, Open Professional Academic Development initiative (HEA OPAD) ,I believe that the innovations that I explore through that piece of action research is being supported by being assigned a mentor, by being encouraged by my staff tutor and I am offered opportunities to explore my practice via staff CPD events.

I also believe that were I to produce resources, that perhaps were innovative, and share them with my colleagues in my modules, these would be warmly received and that would encourage me to do more. These might be valued on a professional level, through acknowledgement of my efforts rather than on a monetary one.What evidence do you have to support your view?
As I mentioned, I have a mentor assigned to me. I don’t have to pay to make an application to the academy for membership and if I don’t succeed the first time I will get feedback about how to improve my application. The OU has created a supportive environment on an institutional level for anyone wanting to take up this opportunity. 

My staff tutor invited me to lead a staff CPD session about my chosen research topic, which also enabled me to distribute a survey and gather qualitative responses. I was paid for this extra work, so yes, that would indicate on a simple level that it is valued.
From the perspective of your context:
How widespread is innovation in your organisation?
One of the joys of working for the OU is the sense that it is a world leader, innovating and teaching, in the area of online learning. Two reports have been written “Innovating Pedagogy” by OU faculty. This would indicate that the organisation is supporting innovation and as an open report, it is not only supporting its own. 
Are there policies or statements that relate to innovation?
A policy does exist about how data associated with the OU’s open and free educational resources.
If yes, how are they implemented?
These would be implemented at an organisational level, i.e. as modules are prepared to be made open certain aspects of the material are filtered for an open audience.
What implications, if any, does this have for your attitude towards innovation?

I think that the organisation I work for is very innovative, and has the reputation, policies and examples to prove it. However, in my role in that organisation I don’t believe that we are institutionally encouraged to be innovative, in fact almost the opposite. But that doesn’t mean that on an individual level we would not get support for any small innovations we undertook ourselves, for example, approaching using OU Live in a way that was not part of published guidelines. Examples of this might be having students moderate the Online Room, or using application share for students to engage in peer support (after OU Live training with their tutor). But these small innovations would be over and above our job specifications and if we committed extra time to them, they would be unlikely to receive any reward other than professional acknowledgement by our own peers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *