This post is by Paco Iniesto.
During the third phase of GO-GN, the network supported a fellowship scheme for early-career researchers in open education. Nine GO-GN alumni over three years were supported to conduct six-month personal projects to facilitate their academic career development post-doctoral studies. The fellowship scheme was structured into three, annual cohorts 2020, 2021 and 2022.
The fellowship scheme had regular input and feedback from fellows. The team conducted qualitative surveys and interviews with fellows indicating a positive and meaningful impact of the scheme. A key aspect of this type of initiative is the support given by more experienced academics and peer fellows. The fellowship scheme enabled the sharing of research among other PhD students and early career researchers through regular webinars and to broader audiences at internationally recognised conferences.
We have now published the results from the inputs from the fellows in Edutec: https://doi.org/10.21556/edutec.2023.85.2839
We used the Core OpenEdu dimensions (dos Santos, Punie, & Muñoz, 2016) to provide several design recommendations for future fellowship schemes in open education, some of them as key tips include:
- Core dimensions
- Organise informal meetings to discuss the scheme and proposals with potential candidates.
- Support open practices and look for opportunities to suggest open approaches as part of the fellowship scheme.
- Introduce activities that allow self-reflection such as blog production or research diaries.
- Fellows should be recognised publicly, via a website, badge or certificate that can be linked to their CV.
- Activities that promote collaboration between fellows themselves should be promoted (meetings, internal presentations, conference presentations).
- Facilitate the presentation at international conferences and journals, including the possibility of having a special issue in an open journal.
- Transversal dimensions
- Consider aspects such as the length of the fellowships and if there are vacation periods in between that may impact initial plans/schedules
- Use tools that promote interaction when people are in different countries and even continents, to enable collaboration despite time differences and access to the Internet.
- Include mid-term and final surveys, and interviews to capture and improve the experience and act on feedback to improve further iterations of the scheme.
- Empower fellows with the ownership of their research and implications for their career development.
You can access our content about the fellowship scheme and fellows’ projects and read the full open access article for more information about the scheme outcomes and further recommendations (Iniesto et al., 2023).
dos Santos, A. I., Punie, Y., & Muñoz, J. C. (2016). Opening up education: A support framework for higher education institutions (No. JRC101436). Joint Research Centre (Seville site). https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC101436
Iniesto, F., Pitt, R., Bossu, C., Farrow, R., Weller, M. (2023). Community, Fellowship, Openness: Supporting Early Career Researchers through Open Educational Practices. Edutec. Revista Electrónica de Tecnología Educativa, (85), 136-152. https://doi.org/10.21556/edutec.2023.85.2839