What is co-creation?
Co-creation is the development of student-led, collaborative initiatives leading to co-created outputs. The outputs may be part of the curriculum (unit assessment driven for example) or co-curricular (related to the programme but not to a particular unit assessment/expectation). Co-creation can be applied to many areas of HE, in particular in curriculum development and research where students work in partnership with academics to improve the student experience.
How does it work?
As an example of co-creation, FLIE operates a scheme awarding £500 of funding for selected co-creation projects to cover costs such as consumables, travel or other sundries that will enable success. Students need to apply for FLIE funding by identifying a topic of relevance and an academic they would like to work with on a project, and writing a brief project plan with intended outcomes (e.g. publication, presentation, product). The opportunity is open to final-year undergraduates and the project must be completed in semester two.
Working on co-created initiatives enables active, experiential and problem-based learning, and facilitates student engagement. This helps students to develop new skills and confidence, learn how to apply knowledge, and has the potential to guide their career decisions and increase employability.
What is its value?
Co-creation has the potential to significantly impact upon institutional culture and enhance the student learning experience by creating a sense of a learning community. This is particularly likely where students are involved in curricular development and research, and work collaboratively with academics. At the same time, staff can gain much inspiration from the new, creative ideas of students and some co-creation projects have the potential to open up opportunities to work in partnership with external agencies and promote the reputation of Bournemouth University to the wider community.
The tutor’s role in a co-creation project
The partnership between the student and tutor provides an opportunity for both parties to work as equals and develop a strong bond. An academic will bring their expertise, knowledge and skills to the table, whilst providing support and encouragement, sharing best practice and contributing to the continuing professional development of the student involved.
What are the challenges?
When completing any project an element of risk is inevitable and this needs to be considered from the perspective of all stakeholders. Issues can arise where (for example) a student feels more comfortable working independently on the project they initiated or experiences issues ‘managing’ the academic involved. In the same vein, the academic may find managing the student challenging for the aforementioned reasons, or the student's contribution may be limited.