The Humanities Higher Education Research Group

Lorna Hardwick

This is a joint Arts Faculty/Institute of Educational Technology research group based at the Open University. It undertakes both empirical and theoretical studies and aims to work across the barriers between `pure' and applied research in Higher and Adult education. Current projects include investigations into teaching and learning strategies in Art History, Philosophy, Drama plus research into the learning patterns of adults studying Classical Languages and into ways of teaching Greek and Latin texts through translations in which key words are kept in the original. Work is also being developed on the uses of computing in Humanities distance learning. More broadly, the group plans to produce detailed studies of curriculum development in the context of the changing structure and role of the humanities in higher education in the UK and Europe, to develop a database of active researchers in relevant fields and to promote networks of communication between them. The Institute of Educational Technology is well placed to support the group's work. It has an international reputation for excellence and innovation in pedagogy, educational computing and research methodology.

The current database of members include representatives of some thirty universities, professional bodies and the WEA. A Humanities Disciplines Network has been developed to disseminate information about work in progress, research projects and sources of finding and to encourage contacts between disciplines as well as within them. Newsletters are published three times a year and plans are in hand to establish an international academic journal in the broad field of Humanities Higher Education. A conference will be held on Saturday 14th October 1995 at the Open University, Milton Keynes.

The Network, which is supported by funding from the Department of Employment, also has a commercial partner, Blackwells' the Publishers. Together with Oxford Brookes University's Department of Publishing Studies research is being undertaken into the knowledge, skills and qualities which publishing companies expect from humanities graduates entering employment and a national survey is in progress.

The Research Group and the Network both have a strong Classical Studies input. Initially the priority is to support research into the teaching and learning of Classical languages (especially for University level beginners and improvers). Consideration is also being given to the most effective way to work with other providers to disseminate good practice. The October 14th conference will have a Classical Studies strand of seminars bringing together practitioners with special expertise in language teaching for adults and undergraduates. As the network grows, it is hoped that it will provide a useful source of contacts and information for the increasing number of part time University teachers of Classics & Ancient History (including postgraduates) as well as for established lecturers who wish to discuss the teaching applications of their research (and vice versa).

If you wish to join the Network or find out more about it, please contact:

Carol Rowland (Humanities Network Manager) or Ellie Chambers (Project Director)

Institute of Educational Technology

Walton Hall,

Milton Keynes

MK7 6AA.

Fax: 01908 653744 Tel: 01908 652629

e.mail: c.a.


last updated 26/1/96

CUCD Bulletin 24 (1995)
© Lorna Hardwick 1995

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