Prizes for the Punks

Good News! Chris Warne and I have been awarded one of 6 Technology Enhanced Learning Innovation Scheme awards at the University of Sussex.  Our project is called DIY DIGITAL: Doing Punk Online.  The award is attached to our shared third year special subject course Post-Punk Britain.  The course is in its second year of delivery, and from the very first planning discussions that Chris and I had about setting up the course we wanted to explore free and open ways of taking the discussion out of the class room and really encouraging a DIY learning model.

Our goal was to think not just about teaching students about punk, but also how punk might be a way of teaching.  (And acknowledging in our practice how teaching punk in an examined university course might be the pedagogical equivalent of signing to EMI)

We’ve already found ways of interacting with different types of scholars, music practitioners, and archivists, formal and informal, using online spaces. Students make great use of the Subcultures Network’s and Punk Scholars Network facebook pages and we’ve been known to tweet or even text academics our questions during seminars.  Our reading list is open. We want to develop ways of doing historical research that take the interactivity and the DIY element of social networks seriously.

We have also been particularly influenced by Matthew Worley’s recent work on zines. We’ve been using some of his resources, finding local zines in our documents collection and will be making our own zines.  This was reinforced by my recent trip to the Fales Library Riot Grrrl collection.

(note the punk rock approach to basic grammar)Worley questions

The TEL Award project mixes these three elements (punk pedagogy, social networking and a zine mentality) together. We want to treat social networking as a form of zine and use it to facilitate peer learning.

What this means in practice is that our students, and students on related courses at other institutions, will get together virtually and collaboratively teach each other.  We expect that they will build an online seminar based around their chosen theme that connects with subcultures or post-punk Britain.  We will ask them to use open access resources to create a digital resource kit built from social networks, amateur archives, online discussion forums and online activities, reading, listening and viewing lists and a short reflective podcast. We hope to build up a library of these across different departments and universities.

One of the really exciting elements about this project is that because Post-Punk Britain is now in its second year, and because so many of last year’s students were inspired to stay on and study a masters at Sussex, we have a group of MA mentors who are in a great position to help the undergraduates develop their own projects. I look forward to hearing from them about their own goals for the project too.  We’ve got to identify some training needs and identify some suitable open access software (We are thinking about using PADLET to host the resource, but any suggestions would be very gratefully received)

Chris and I will use the project as data for our article on Punk Pedagogy which is a follow up to our article on teaching the Sixties.   More on that another time. Let me know what you think about the project and if you have a course that might benefit from being involved.

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