Creating Impact


Recently I have attended a workshop on writing impact statements. In order to practice these skills, I have written this blog post about the impact of the collaborative writing group.

The research is based on a collaborative writing group intervention that I have implemented. This is aimed at improvement of the teaching-research nexus, and dissemination of research via peer-review publication. Student and alumni participants have a direct relationship with local, national and international healthcare organisations as they are either employed by these services or aspire to on completion of their programme. It is authentic practice-based issues that learners engage with, and influences their academic research writing. Therefore, activity and outputs of the writing group enhances research capacity, knowledge and skills of such health care organisations. Furthermore It impacts upon the link and transfer of knowledge between academia and health services for the benefit of patient care and decision-making. Knowledge gained from the research undertaken so far has   impacted upon the development of health care delivery and educational curricula, in addition to personal development for participants.

Emerging and actual impact:

Beneficial impact is being achieved for individuals and organisations in academia and healthcare through three main mechanisms. Firstly given the importance of dissemination of research-based evidence to improve the delivery of healthcare and the healthcare curriculum. Secondly, engagement of learners and alumni to work collaboratively with academic teaching staff on developments beyond the normal curriculum. Finally individuals are working towards reward and recognition for their publication achievements

Health care delivery

Participants of the writing group specifically determine an audience for their writing. Based upon the topic of the student dissertation, which specifically addresses a gap in healthcare evidence, writers target journals that are accessed by practitioners working at the frontline of healthcare delivery. Published topics include:

  • Barriers to successful implementation of prevention-of-mother-to-child-transmission (PMTCT) of HIV programmes in Malawi and Nigeria
  • Medicines management in the community: An Heart Failure Nurse Prescriber’s experience
  • Sensory interventions for dementia
  • Reliance on technology and the future of dialysis
  • The impact on nursing care of austerity measures in Spain

Healthcare curricula

A value nurtured within the writing group is ‘student as producer”. Alumni and learners are supported to write about significant student experiences. For example, a successful publication on educational preparation of male student nurses for touch interventions has influenced the redesign of the pre-registration nurse curriculum at Oxford Brookes University. The Nursing and Midwifery Council will validate this in 2016. Other published topics include:

  • The experience of a postgraduate teaching assistant pilot project
  • Supervisory relationships: the experiences of international master’s students

Evaluation of the writing group intervention suggests that activities undertaken would be beneficial at an earlier stage of dissertation writing. Therefore, I have implemented a further intervention, dissertation writing workshops. This will also form part of the thesis study and represents emerging impact.

Opportunities beyond the curriculum. Participation within formative writing interventions has enabled learners to form collegial relationships with academic staff and pursue further and ongoing collaborations. It has also strengthened alumni relationships with Oxford Brookes University.

Reward and recognition. Participation in the collaborative writing group has strengthened personal profiles for all parties and provided an ongoing pathway into research, further study and employment opportunities.

Further emerging impact

A broader range of disciplines (psychology & management) is beginning to access the writing interventions. I am integrating technology with the interventions to enhance further learning by developing a mobile application to support academic research writing,

References and web links (optional):


Prezi outline of project

References and links to published outputs from the collaborative writing group:

Alyzood, M. Lansdown, G. Okoli, J & Waite, M. (2014). Supervisory Relationships. The Experiences of International Masters Students. The Brookes eJournal of Learning and Teaching. 6. (2)

Blakey, E. (2014). A View from Valencia. British Journal of Nursing. 24;1

Blakey, E. (2015). Reliance on Technology and the Future of Technology. British Journal of Nursing. 24;7

Foley, A. Gibbs, C. Waite, M & Davison-Fischer, J. (2015). Students as Producers: The Postgraduate Teaching Assistant Pilot. Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership & Change. 1 (1).

Godden, J. Waite, M. (2014). Medicines management in the community. A HF specialist nurse prescriber’s experience. British Journal of Cardiac Nursing.

Haigh, J. Mytton, C. (In Press). Sensory Interventions for Dementia: A Critical Literature Review. British Journal of Occupational Therapy.

Okoli, J. Lansdown, G. (2014) Barriers to successful implementation of prevention-of-mother-to-child-transmission (PMTCT) of HIV programmes in Malawi and Nigeria: a critical literature review study. PanAfrican Medical Journal. 19;154

Whiteside, J. Butcher, D. (2015). ‘Not a Job for a Man’:factors in the touch by male nursing staff. British Journal of Nursing. 24;6


Twofer — Greetings to EdMOOC & Daily Create

Sharon @dwrgi gave some great advice on the EdMOOC Twitter stream:
edmooc tweet about finding time

I’m sure there are many of us who feel she was tweeting directly to us.

I’ve got another bit of advice — multitask or create as many “twofers” as you can. That’s my approach and I tried it out today by completing DS 106′s Daily Create and my hello EdMOOC video in one fell swoop.

Oh, the challenge was to create a story about an everyday object.

Introduction-wise, I’m Cris and I’m teaching a brand new grad course this semester which I shall obsess completely over and so there won’t be enough hours in the day or night but I know Sharon is right and so I’m going to give it a go and enjoy EdMOOC!

Looking forward to meeting more crazy multi-taskers out there!

re Furedi: The Unhappiness Principle

This is a version of a letter that I wrote to the editor of the THE, which they did not publish, further to Frank Furedi’s rant against learning outcomes.
I am the course leader for Oxford Brookes University’s Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education. We were very pleased to see that when Professor Furedi (apparently) Googled “Learning Outcomes”, Oxford Brookes University comes top of the list. It is not my intention to enter deep into argument, here. Furedi sets up, then knocks down a straw man. I suggest that the straw man is a product of – not a cause for – cynicism.
There are big problems with the creeping instrumentalism of education. But, I fail to see a problem with being clear about what a teacher might want students to achieve. And, I suggest it is healthy that these intentions might be expressed in clear language that helps us decide what to teach, how to teach it and allows for some empirical assessment. Would Furedi be similarly opposed to making marking criteria explicit?  Without criteria – however imperfect – judgement becomes wholly subjective and might lead simply to the replication of people who think like me, or worse.
I hope that my students might “understand” the expression of learning outcomes is a highly nuanced form. But, I have no direct  access to the psychological states of others. I need my students to do something: to explain, to analyse, to argue from multiple perspectives, to demonstrate that the expression of learning outcomes, while problematic, may have benefits – or not – for teaching and learning. As Gabriel Egan was heard to say, a perfectly well expressed outcome of this debate might be:

Present to your tutors unexpected questions, unanticipated problems, and novel avenues of intellectual exploration arising from this topic.

(Gabriel Egan, quoted by Alan Cann in “Learning Outcomes”, @leBioscience, Wednesday 12 December 2012

Furedi suggests learning outcomes are a recent “fad” which results in increased cynicism. The article from which he quotes on our website was written in 2001. I have been engaged in the “learning objectives debate” since 1986. How recent is recent? There is an angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin argument about when “objectives” transmogrified into “intended outcomes”, and what the difference might be. Not my idea of a good time. Learning objectives or “intended learning outcomes” are a part of a much wider, pragmatic, quality and standards movement that has had mostly beneficial consequences for society, as well as admitting jokes about European standard bananas – or poorly expressed, cynically written, learning outcomes. Learning objectives go back at least to Dewey. In the 1970s learning outcomes, with a number of other initiatives, had – in part – the aim of challenging a system of educational privilege that reproduced – and granted limited access to – a social elite. As Karl Popper said so well, all observation is theory laden. Learning outcomes ask us to make our intentions and their underlying foundations explicit. That is – again in part – what higher education is about. And, an outcomes-led approach is not the only way to teach,of  course.

Hanging Around with the Creatives

I’ve been thinking about DS 106′s Daily Create all day. Just a little place my mind wanders when I lose focus elsewhere.

Somewhere between the panic of getting my new course site ready for the final meeting with my course developer and tech guru tomorrow and making my prolific list of notes, I came up with the idea of a “twofer.” Love when that happens! So here’s my Daily Create and a graphic that works well for this, my first course blog post. I call it the “Edge of My Incompetence” graph and the theory belongs to a terrific young philosopher-playwright-actor-writer Ezra Brain.

Edge of My Incompetence Graph

So The Daily Create challenge #361 was to “Draw something that shows how happy you are today.” On My Incompetence Chart I can report that I’m happy to have aimed high and achieved a lot for today. I’d not be nearly as happy if I’d aimed lower and achieved less.

So let that be the first lesson of Daily Creates, at least for me. It’s far better to have ambition and be a risk-taker than to grasp the first idea that comes to you and play it safe. to be continued . . .