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CAN Conference at The Open University

The Open University hosted the CAN conference, supported by Jisc, in May 2019. A Senior Product Devlopment Manager in the Learning and Innovation team welcomed delegates to the event.

"CAN – a network of people, who aren’t just working together but who are constantly sharing their practice and being really practical about that. What I really love about the CAN community is that you are not afraid to talk about what goes wrong – because we know lots of stuff goes wrong. But we also have things going right all the time and it is a good idea to share that as much as possible".

I found the innovative and exciting ideas for staff-student partnership working greatly inspiring. The importance of student-led initiatives was put front-and-centre.

Amy's experience

The Jisc CAN 2019 conference was an amazing coming together of staff and students to show how we are all co-developing the way forward.

Joshua's experience

The organising committe included representation from the OU's Student Voice Team and OU Students Association

The goals for the 2019 CAN Conference were about demonstrating that although we may be unusual in how we are set up, we have an active student body, whose experience is often under-represented in the sector. A surprised, ‘Oh, I had no idea you had a campus!’ reaction was not unusual from delegates as the conference was being promoted.

The conference themes gave delegates the opportunity to critically reflect on the OU's collective student-staff partnerships efforts to date and to begin to envision the future of partnership working in a rapidly changing education sector. Themes included: Engaging students in change; Informed innovation: working with students; and Engaging a diverse student body.

The conference was hugely successful in bringing about high levels of representation of the student voice and ensuring the diversity of the student body and experiences were represented in the programme.

Student participation was no longer a student sitting on a University committee so that a check box could be completed in a form somewhere. Participation now means involvement, partnership between students and the University

Derek's experience

With over 250 staff and students from colleges and universities across the the UK attending, the event was a huge success and we have received excellent feedback from both staff and students on the event but also on the exemplary student-staff partnerships which The Open University is supporting.

Paul Feldman, Chief Executive of Jisc