University of the Village

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Universiy of the Village explores a learning model which focuses on the community, rather than the individual. One of the key aspects of the project is the co-design of a creative curriculum which can be then delivered from the university campus directly to the village via superfast broadband.  This approach is fundamentally different from the current on-line delivery method practiced by many universities, including those based on Open University (OU) models.

University outreach programmes have traditionally offered short courses to individuals based on a ‘night school’ model, run in town-based centres.  While this can be an effective way of engaging with urban populations and communities that are well-served by public transport networks, this has often effectively excluded rural populations.

University of the Village looks at new modes of delivering learning opportunities, enhanced through Next Generation Access (NGA) Broadband. NGA or superfast broadband is already recognised as being critical to the development of business and the economy in the UK; university of the Village explores how it can be harnessed to support learning, which in turn supports the development of the creative rural economy and the sustainability of village communities.

Falmouth University’s involvement in the creation of a new partnership model to develop and deliver provision for learning is likely to have a lasting impact on Cornwall’s rural communities. The relationships forged with those communities will be of particular importance as superfast broadband is rolled out across the county, offering further opportunities for development and collaboration.

As part of the project, Falmouth University ran a pilot project working with the community in the Cornish village of St Agnes.  This gathered local people together in a village pub and brought the university to them - through the use of technology and superfast broadband.  The content was co-designed with the participants who focused on learning skills related to film-making and editing. As part of the project participants made a film about their village and village life. This not only opened up university teaching to people within the village, but also lead to new collaborative working amongst those living and working in the community.

Partners & funders

University of the Village is collaboration between Falmouth University, University of Surrey, University of Glamorgan and BT.

The first stage of the project was supported by Arts & Humanities Research Council and the second stage is funded by BT.

The team at Falmouth includes Professor Mike Wilson, Magdalena Tyżlik-Carver, Jem MacKay and Karl Phillips.