In this blog Amanda discusses how her fear of technology was conquered by our new Action Research course, and how Zoom has revolutionised how we deliver courses here at the College.
For a long time I have to admit to being a technophobe, I’d even go so far to say wilfully resistant to certain types of technology, such as smart phones, which I worry can invade your privacy and take up too much of people’s (already limited) time. It’s been fantastic to feel like I may be finally overcoming my fears with the advent of our new course, ‘Understanding co-operatives through Action Research: an introduction’.
This new course, created by the research team at the Co-operative College, was designed to take a fresh approach to co-operative research, not only exploring research approaches such as participatory, action and ‘social research’ methods but also to provide a space to encourage participants to reflect on contemporary co-operative ‘research gaps’. To do this effectively, and knowing that our potential audience for the course was geographically dispersed, we set about looking into we how we could run the sessions using interactive technology.
After putting quite a lot of thought into the pros and cons of each different platform, we opted for Zoom as this enabled us to easily switch between different screen views, allowed all members of the group to see one another and have class discussions, and also allowed us to split the participants into groups to work together and then feedback to the group. This has been a great way to deliver the course to our participants who are all over the UK and even in the USA, and has even inspired some of our students to investigate the technology for their own research practice.
The course has covered an introduction to all aspects of co-operative research and researching co-operatives, from designing and carrying out research, the different methods and how to choose them, as well as thinking about practical and ethical considerations along the way. By providing accompanying resources we encouraged participants to read around each of the subjects and come to each of the sessions having thought about how they would use what they had learned to influence their own research ideas. This Saturday 21st October we will be holding a day school in Manchester to round off the course. This will cover interpreting and writing up research, giving everyone the opportunity to meet up, discuss their own research and providing a space to share ideas and work collectively with co-operative research peers.
We will be running the course again in 2018, so watch this space for updates and feel free to contact us with any enquiries.