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Andy Lane


I am Professor of Environmental Systems and have a BSc in Plant Sciences and a PhD in Pest Management from the University of London. I am a Member of the Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management and have served on their Training, Education and Career Development Committee.  I am also a Chartered Environmentalist and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I have been at The Open University since 1983 and held various offices in the former Technology Faculty including being Head of the Systems Department (1998-99), Associate Dean (1992-97) and Dean (2000-06). I am currently the Qualification Lead for the BSc Environmental Management and Technology and External Engagement Lead for the School of Engineering and Innovation.  

I was seconded as the founding Director of The Open University’s multi-award winning OpenLearn Initiative from 2006-09. I have taken a prominent role in the OU's work on Open Educational Resources including serving as a Board member of the OpenCourseWare (now Open Education) Consortium from 2008-10 and being involved in a number of European OER initiatives led by the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities such as MORIL  and OER-HE. I was also a Senior Fellow in the Support Centre for Open Resources in Education at the OU from 2009-12

My research and scholarship covers (i) the management of complex environmental situations and (ii) systems of open education. I use systems approaches to frame the research and scholarship in both domains coupled with an action research philosophy; both use visual methods (normally diagramming) as a means to engage participants and to elicit and sometimes analyze data and evidence provided by the participants; and both use innovation and social learning as key theoretical concepts for explaining the outcomes of the research and scholarship.

The work on the management of complex environmental situations looks in particular at attitudes, intentions and behaviours of the main participants in these rural or urban situations ranging from famers use of new technologies such as GM crops to organic waste recycling.

The work on systems of open education takes the phenomenon of open education resources and extends that to open educational policies and practices and how that influences formal, non-formal and informal education for both classroom-based and distance learning-based HEIs. This includes looking at how diagramming and visual media in all its forms enhances or not the learning experience.

The two strands of research and scholarship come together in my work evaluating the environmental impacts of higher education.

My teaching mirrors my research interests: systems thinking, environmental management and the use of diagramming to aid studying and professional practice. I have contributed to study packs on pest and disease management, practical conservation, systems thinking and systems diagramming; to modules on food production systems, teaching technology in schools, working with systems, systems thinking and most recently environmental management. I was also a co-author of the Sciences Good Study Guide. Some of this teaching material features on OpenLearn.

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Associated with:

Engineering and Innovation
Environmental Management and Technology

Tel: +441908655122
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