Beyond the fragments : video, social media and digital storytelling

Distance learning students are isolated, often lonely and feel fragmented trying to fit their studies around what can be very complicated lives. If students were starting all over again, what is the one piece of advice that they would have liked? In addressing this question Dave Middleton and Karen Foley have worked closely with seven students – Ami Harty, Lucy Beech, Cathy Toft, Bridget Scanlon, Brendan Lavery, Sara Hook and Harleyjack Muckell to produce seven videos on themes ranging from procrastination to passing your exams. In this session Dave and Karen talk to the students about their experiences in producing their short videos in a very short time, each of which will have been previewed during the conference.

Presentation time: 
Friday, 4 July, 2014 - 12:30

Ami Harty

Ami Harty is a student presenter at the end of her OU BSc (Sociology). She works in secondary education but aims to undertake research into families and the sociology of parenting. She's an avid rule breaker with a love of comedy and wishes to somehow bring sociological research into the public eye in innovative but lighthearted ways.

She is currently trying not to fail the last few assignments of her degree, writing a sitcom and taking the summer off before embarking on postgraduate study later this year.

Brendan Lavery

I am an OU student and I currently studying DD307, which I am enjoying very much, this is my final module towards my psychology degree. I have thoroughly enjoyed studying with the OU, and am truly thankful that I have the opportunity to obtain a degree, which was previously out of reach, the ability to work and study par time made it possible. As this is my final module and officially coming close to the end of my OU experience I think I will struggle fill my time now.

Bridget Scanlon

I am studying for a degree in sociology.  The qualification is a BA (Combined Social Sciences) honour degree in the Social Sciences, at the Open University.  The study experience has contributed to my commitment, organisation, motivation, team work and development.  I have enjoyed active engagement with course materials, OU facilities, tutorials and day school, meeting academics and students both at my study and outside my study.  It has shown me how to use a wonderful opportunity.

Dave Middleton

Dave Middleton is a Senior Lecturer in Politics and Staff Tutor in Wales. He has an interest in teaching and learning, and was a recent recipient of an Open University Teaching Award for his innovative approach to online learning. He recently wrote, directed and performed in a new online drama, This Student Life which launched in early December. His current research interests extend to social media and he blogs regularly at Thinking Socially - which can be found at:

Harleyjack Muckell

Harleyjack Muckell lives in South Wales and is currently a second year, full-time student on a Politics, Philosophy, Economics degree. Initially starting with the OU to get a taste of university while in school, he decided that the OU was for him and went full-time. Currently on DD209 (Economics) and A222 (Philosophy), he is moving on to DD306 (Politics) and DD209 (Economics) in the next academic year. His favorite aspect of his degree relate to views on the size of the state. When he is not studying he can usually be found playing video games, watching films, cycling and reading.

Karen Foley

Karen Foley is the academic consultant for the Student Connections project, and is the co-presenter of the Podmag and plays a part in This Student Life. She is a psychologist and an AL in Wales, teaching several level 1 and 2 Science and Social Science modules for The Open University. She is interested in how partnerships and networks support the distance learning journey for students.

Lucy Beech

I started studying with the Open University in 2008, I started small with a 10 pointer in environmental science and from then on I was hooked. I had previously had a rather a-typical education, I had left school with two early GCSEs in statistics and science.  I had been very ill with C-difficile while taking my exams and after trying but failing to start year 11 still weak and ill from the previous summer, the thought of education seemed an impossibility.

Sara Hook

Sara is an OU Social Sciences student