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User Led Participation (ULP) is an increasingly popular teaching method in higher education, particularly so with courses dealing with social care or service provision, mirroring efforts in the equivalent industrial frameworks for Service Providers to learn from and improve their offerings based on Service User experiences; warts and all, the good, the bad and the ugly! Whilst a step in the right direction, ULP still has significant flaws:

  • If courses already actively engage in ULP, they may only be regularly accessing a limited selection of views and experiences when working with the same group of Service Users
  • Students can learn a lot from the emotional impact of interacting with a Service User in person. However, this approach can unintentionally exclude views and experiences of other service users, who for whatever reason may struggle to interact due to a lack of confidence appearing in public or talking in front of a group of people, or more practical transport limitations.

We offer interactive online training sessions, a customised presentation programme to enhance student learning opportunities, thereby encompassing a wider range of views and experiences from a larger selection of service users. This can either supplement existing user-led participation programmes where appropriate, or provide an opportunity for institutions who have as yet to engage in user led participation to do so. The webinar programme aims to broaden the reach of ULP programmes, using techniques that are increasingly common in HE.

  • Webinars typically last no more than one hour, although they can be longer if necessary, and sufficient time is normally left after a presentation to allow questions from attendees to be answered directly
  • Presenters and attendees can participate in sessions either from the comfort of their own home, at work (or in university) or even through a free Smartphone app.
  • For course tutors, we can provide information about students who participate in such a programme, for example: Which students sign up proactively to attend? Who actually attends on the day? How long do they stay signed in for? What questions do they ask? How well do they perform on any tests? What documents do they download? We can even measure how attentive students are…

Bradford College have already run successful sessions with Free To Live, course lecturer Trevor Rodgers-Gray had this to say:

“The webinar experience was very well received by the students. I think it is an excellent resource to aid teaching and help students gain an understanding of issues from external experts.”

All the materials are created by members of the Free To Live Leeds group, from their own experience, providing real life examples and scenarios to enrich the learning experience. Presentation programmes can cover up to a maximum of twelve different topics, which can be decided in consultation with you, and held over any timeframe at a rate of one per week. We can cover a wide range of topics.

Whitepapers, document downloads and tests can all be made available before, during and after each session. Copies of the slides and a recording of the webinar are made available afterwards to anyone who registered, including those who could not attend at the time, so that they can review the recording later on. This also allows users who did attend to repeat sections that they found unclear, to go over the material again.

Technical Requirements
To participate in the programme, each attendee needs a laptop or desktop PC running Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server, or an Apple Mac running Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer, iPad or iPhone (app available for free from the iTunes store), a quiet corner and sufficient caffeine to stay awake. When it launches, the software checks the configuration and downloads anything it needs to ensure that it can run. it is recommended that attendees wear headphones if their device microphone is in close proximity to the speakers to prevent any feedback generation and cut down on unnecessary background noise. Dy default attendees are muted during presentations and encouraged to participate by typing their questions into the chat box.  Individuals can be unmuted for more complicated questions as needed.

We are happy to work alongside existing service user groups if desired and welcome the opportunity for their input with our local organisations too. If you are interested in attending please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your requirements.

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