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School of Social and Political Science: About


Kate Orton-Johnson Gains Recognition

BSA Commendation Award for E-learning

Kate has been working on a 3-year e-learning project developing web-based modules for postgraduate training in social research methods ( The project was commended in the 2009 C-SAP and professional Association Awards as an innovative use of e-learning, providing flexibility in methods teaching for postgraduates (

Kate with Award 

The aims of the project have been to try and meet the demands of a diverse student population and to help students see the relevance and benefits of a more flexible, self-directed approach to learning. The project has developed 2 new courses: a 2-part course in quantitative data analysis and a course in qualitative data analysis and the use of qualitative data analysis software. A key element of both courses has been a move away from the traditional lecture model of teaching and learning, towards a blend of web-based course materials and face-to-face workshops and lab sessions. In both courses the emphasis is on learning and understanding by doing and by using ‘real’ data, providing a simple and flexible way for students to work though the course materials at their own pace with an emphasis on gaining a practical understanding of the processes of quantitative and qualitative data analysis.

An important element of the project has been to ensure that the resources are as open and accessible as possible. To achieve this we have used the university VLE to host an on-course version of the materials (allowing tutors and students to interact in a private space) but have also provided a mirror of the materials on the university website so that all students can have access to materials for the duration of their registration.

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