Thursday, 13 September 2012


A page to aggregate publications about the Ultraversity approach to learning and prior publications that lead to the development of the model.
 Title  Abstract
Millwood, R., Powell, S. and Tindal, I. 2009. The Undergraduate Student as Action Researcher. UVAC.  This paper describes and evaluates an approach to online supported, work-focused learning where undergraduate students operate as action-researchers; planning and implementing action for improvement in their work-place as a basis for award-bearing credit in higher education.  A model is proposed for a meaningful, ongoing tripartite relationship between Higher Education Institution, learner and small and medium enterprises that is viable. The way the design enables the learner to develop their "higher level skills that embody the essence of higher education" (Willis, 2008) is an important issue if the ideas and approach are to be widely adopted. The paper outlines the curriculum design and the nature of the students work-focused inquiries. Data from final year research reports was analysed to identify the characteristics of the projects undertaken by students uncovering 'who they have become'. Challenges and issues of the approach are discussed.
Millwood, R., Powell, S. and Tindal, I. 2008. Developing technology-enhanced work-focussed learning - a Pattern Language approach Proceedings of Special Track on Technology Support for Self-Organised Learners 2008 This paper identifies issues in developing a three-year duration, work-focussed undergraduate degree programme with a model of inquiry-based learning supported through online communities of inquiry. On the course, students examine their current work-practice to identify issues and then plan, implement and evaluate an improvement strategy. Negotiated learning activities and facilitated networking environmentsare key to providing students with a highly personalised and relevant learning experience.  Students were surveyed and interviewed through questionnaire, telephone and face-to-face meeting. Staff were asked to produce accounts identifying major issues within their particular role, describing and evaluating steps taken to mitigate them. In both cases, transcripts were examined using interpretive phenomenological analysis and this grounded approach was used to identify key issues.
The findings show that challenges for the improvement of the learning experience included a range of issues unified by concerns regarding diversity of approach and complexity. It is proposed that this was partly
due to knowledge held tacitly but unarticulated. To improve practice, a Pattern Language approach is proposed. In order to articulate values and ideas, a Pattern Language category of Online Community of Inquiry is outlined.
These patterns are framed as instructions to inform an approach to new working practices, technologies and systems local to the context in which they were found. It is suggested that this approach helps teaching staff, developers, administrators, and students working together to understand and overcome problems in their own contexts, by adapting these and other patterns. 
Millwood, R., Powell, S. and Tindal, I. 2008. Personalised Learning and the Ultraversity Experience. Interactive Learning Environments, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp. 63 - 81. Routledge. This paper describes a model of personalized work-integrated learning that is collaborative in nature, uses emerging Internet technologies and is accessed fully online. The Ultraversity project was set up by Ultralab at Anglia Ruskin University to develop a fully online, 3-year duration, undergraduate degree programme with an emphasis on action inquiry in the workplace. The course design aimed to provide a highly personalized and collaborative experience. Students engage in the processes of inquiry together as a cohort, making it possible to collaborate and support each other in the online communities. The focus of this paper is on three aspects of personalization: students' use of technological infrastructure to develop online communities; integration of study in the workplace; and the work-study-life balance. Students were surveyed and interviewed after completion through questionnaire, telephone and face-to-face meeting. Transcripts were analysed using interpretive phenomenological analysis. This grounded approach provided evidence of impact of the design on personalized learning. The course design made the assumption that blended learning was not necessary to ensure a rich learning experience and would be a barrier to those who could not attend, and this decision is vindicated by the accounts of participants. It was also confirmed that facilitated online communities can be used to support deep learning that is focussed on action inquiry in diverse and individual workplaces. The course was designed to impact on both the work practices of the individual and the wider institution. Participants reported this as a strength. Overall, the evidence presented shows that a course design that emphasizes a high degree of trust in students' ability to self-manage learning can lead to a challenging, personalized and rewarding online student experience. Students demonstrated high levels of competence in managing work, study and life. This assertion is further borne out by the high degree of success achieved in terms of outcomes, judged by the degree results obtained by the cohort studied.
Arnold, L., O'Dunne, V. and Pickford, S. 2007 Real world research: Inquiry led undergraduate work-based learning in the virtual paradigm

This paper seeks to explore how a combination of work-based learning and inquiry-based learning can be blended together with social technologies and balanced facilitation to create a highly personalised fully online undergraduate experience. Whilst the literature base is established for each element separately, less is known of the combinational possibilities of these approaches to learning. Based around the experience of the highly successful BA Learning Technology Research degree based at Anglia Ruskin University, Essex, the paper shows how elements of the blend can act to enable participation in higher education from previously excluded groups. The case study establishes the benefits and challenges of this real world approach to learning for the students as individuals and with respect to the emerging calls for particular skill sets in the super-complex age, where learners have multiple frameworks of understanding, of action, and of self-identity. The paper goes on to explore how learner defined inquiry based learning is both scalable and replicable and suggests lessons for other courses and institutions. Within the case study the paper also identifies challenges posed by the blend combinations and makes tentative suggestions on how they may be addressed.
Millwood, R., Powell, S. and Tindal, I. 2007 Undergraduate Student Researchers – the Ultraversity Model for Work-Based Learning. Proceedings of the 2nd TENCompetence Open Workshop - Service Oriented Approaches and Lifelong Competence Development Infrastructures, pp. 157-166. Manchester UK: The Institute for Educational Cybernetics, University  Technology is creating a global learning landscape for the 21st century; if Higher Education Institutions are to continue to meet the needs of today’s learners they must explore approaches where the role of technology is central to new models for learning. The four year long Ultraversity project was set up by Ultralab at Anglia Ruskin University to explore the development of a wholly online, three year duration, undergraduate, work-based degree with students using action research
methodology. The experience is designed to be highly personalised and collaborative in nature, rather than individualised and isolated. Students engage in the processes of inquiry together, making it possible to collaborate and support without plagiarising because they are studying in their own work context. This paper describes this model of personalised work-based learning and the Internet technologies used to connect the distributed student body and teaching team. Issues are identified relating to the model and the tools used to support it.
McGuire, L,, Tindal, I., Revill, G., Roberts, G. and Arnold, L. (2006) Patchwork media online: Achieving high levels of personal and professional reflection through Ultralab's BA Hons (Learning, Technology and Research) degree. Paper presented at BERA Conference, Warwick. Ultraversity, a research project conceived by Ultralab, Anglia Ruskin University’s learning research and technology laboratory in Chelmsford, attempts to provide social learning opportunities for reflective practitioners to gain graduate accreditation. The qualification is a BA Hons (Learning, Technology and Research); the context is the researcher’s own workplace; the medium is online discussion communities, resources and e-portfolio; the accrediting University is Anglia Ruskin.
‘Patchwork Text’ is a concept conceived by Richard Winter while Professor of Education at Anglia Ruskin. His concerns at the absence of the creative imagination in formal assessment in universities, and the dominance of the traditional, text only essay, led him to introduce story-writing and reflective writing into professional inquiry courses. His patchwork text approach allows different forms of writing to be shaped, fashioned and assembled in order to explore the relationships between various perspectives. The resulting pieces of work are then shared among learners, discussed and interpreted in different ways, then stitched together, accompanied by a reflective commentary to form the final assessment product.
When developing the new Ultraversity model, the patchwork approach appeared ideally suited for socially constructed learning in collaborative online community environments, where sharing pieces of work in learning sets, or communities could provide a valuable context for students to explore peer review and critique. It was felt that Winter’s approach could be re-contextualised for the online environment and extended beyond text to encompass different media as well, enabling students to embrace the creative potential of online technologies, and transforming the patchwork text approach into one of ‘patchwork media’.
In this paper, Ultralab facilitators attempt to review the ‘patchwork media’ experience by producing their own patchwork piece reflecting on a chosen aspect or perspective of the patchwork approach. Each piece was then presented to a specific online community of students for their feedback and reflections. Students were asked if they valued the approach and found it professionally enlightening; if they had experimented with different media and genre; and if they had experienced any conflict between the requirements of the approach and those of the examiner. Their responses provided the data for the case studies.
Roberts, C. M. and Tindal, I. (2002) An internet based postgraduate respiratory medicine learning resource and its potential application in the communication of regionally generated training resources across regional and international boundaries.

Presented to British Thoracic Society meeting 2002. 
 Current Information Communications Technology provides us with the opportunity to present, assess and consolidate innovative new constructions in learning methodology and practice. The Chestnet project utilises this potential to provide training material, resource based on an open intranet web site. This consists of tutorials and quizzes with self-assessments aimed at the specialist registrar (SpR) grade but useful for all interested in respiratory medicine.The project aims to achieve a paradigm shift in SpR learning methodology encouraging users to view information and communications technologies as valuable and enjoyable "cognitive tools" (Jonassen 1994) with which they can access contribute to, and interact with, high quality learning resources at their convenience. Training traditionally delivered, in the form of instructional lectures and workshops, to a located, regional audience can now be captured and communicated to a global audience via the internet. Multimedia offers the possibility of incorporating greater interactivity than is possible in the traditional one to many face to face delivery. The annotated content generated by the project will be of value to an audience beyond UK respiratory trainees and in a global context. This paper reviews current provision and discusses intended developments.

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