Anne is currently in her second year of doctoral research in the Open University's Institute of Educational Technology. Her topic of study is 'Higher and Distance Education in Prison and its role in resettlement'. This is a mixed-methods, longitudinal study of prisoners who have been studying at level 3 and above through distance learning while in prison. A partial ethnography, this research aims to investigate students' experiences of distance learning before release from prisons in England and Wales which have been identified as having some form of distance learning good practice. Many of the students will then be reinterviewed after release from prison, in order to establish what role their distance learning has played in their ability to resettle. Anne is convenor of the Higher and Distance Education research interest group. Her keen interest in prison education has led to a wide variety of roles within the sector which have given her valuable operational experience, a balanced perspective and a large network of colleagues. Relevant engagement in the field as follows:-
2000 – 2007: Visiting Lecturer in IT and Skills for Life at HMP Bedford (Male local, Catagory B); providing an appreciation of the strict prison regime, experience of the administration of a prison department under two different providers and completion of Prison Service training (including keys, security, health & safety).
2006 - 2009: Open University (OU) Teaching Fellow, Centre for Open Learning of Mathematics, Science, Computing and Technology (COLMSCT), researching into the Digital Divide for OU Offender Learners (see below). Early findings led to the OU’s review of Offender Learning and interest from UNESCO led to the development of an international forum on prison education (incl. Sweden, France, Germany, Spain, India and Argentina).
2008 - 2009: OU Offender Learning manager, coordinating the OU’s recent review of Offender Learning; involving negotiation of a new Distance Learning Scheme with Government, co-writing of Prison Service Instruction PSI-33-2010, development of the OU’s first Prison Prospectus and involvement in several pilot projects for secure web access in prisons (including Polaris and the Virtual Campus).
2002 - date: Learning and Skills Inspector for Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), inspecting education in prisons across England (including Male, Female, Private, High Security & YOI); providing an understanding of the prison estate in England and an appreciation of some of the difficulties in leadership and management of the Learning and Skills provision.
2003 - date: OU Associate Lecturer in Mathematics, tutoring distance-learning students in prison with face-to-face or telephone tutorials over the length of their course (4 months to a year); providing an appreciation of the benefits and barriers to higher level distance learning in a prison environment and a good rapport with education staff in many prisons in England.
Adams, A. & Pike, A. (2008a) Evaluating empowerment and control of HE e-learning in a secure environment. BERA Conference, 2008.
Adams, A & Pike, A. (2008b) Security Issues within Prison and Health ODL Programmes, paper presented to 5th Pan Commonwealth Forum, London 13-17 July 2008
Pike, A. (2009). Developing online communities to support distance learning in secure environments. EISTA 2009, 10-13 Jul 2009, Orlando, Florida, USA.
Pike, A. and Irwin, T. (2008). Improving access to higher education and distance learning.In: Fifth EDEN Research Workshop, 20-22 Oct 2008, Paris, France.
Mathematics (Open University Y162, MU120/123)
Information Technology (FE, Prison)
Mathematics, Physics (FE)
Main interest is to understand the role of HE distance learning for disadvantaged adult students (in particular prisoners from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds)
Previous research projects:
Investigating the distance learning experience of OU students in prison (2006-2009): Mixed methods research which included questionnaires, face-to-face, semi-structured, in-depth interviews (some longitudinal), observational studies and document analysis involving 91 students and staff across 15 prisons in England (including all security categories, male, female and private) over 6 months. Thematic and statistical analysis provided findings which highlighted many dedicated staff (both internal and external to OU) working hard to support the students in prison but the students’ needs were not adequately being met. The OU acknowledged the problems and a commissioned report led to a review of the OU’s Offender Learning strategy, resulting in the development of a central Offender Learning team at Walton Hall, improved partnerships with key stakeholders, a new Prison Service Instruction (PSI-33-2010), an OU prison prospectus and OU involvement in the Virtual Campus trials. OU hosted conferences were shared with European colleagues and a series of international workshops, which discussed the wider role of higher education in prisons had representatives from CNED, UNED and UNESCO. Dissemination included a presentation to David Hanson MP and the House of Lords as well as numerous internal and external seminars and publications. This work won an OU award in 2009. See papers in ORO.
MRes: Investigating prison-based, higher-level distance learners’ access and use of IT for learning (2010): This was a partial ethnography of 10 adult male students and 6 staff in 3 prisons in England (security categories B to D), providing rich descriptions of learning journeys. Findings suggest that conflicting visions of the many stakeholder institutions impact on how technology is accessed and used for learning. A whole spectrum of learning environments are perceived which range from a ‘progressive’ prison with an open learning culture which encourages formal and informal learning, to a ‘working’ prison with a highly regimented working culture and little space or time for learning. A new resettlement tool, the Virtual Campus, is being rolled out to English prisons. It provides the potential for secure web access and e-communication with distant tutors but its effectiveness will be dependent upon these prison cultures. Despite these challenges, there is evidence that higher level learning may be transformational; providing student-inmates with an apparently essential ‘student identity’, which may be a key to successful reintegration on release. This, therefore, is the main focus of the current, longitudinal study (2010-2013).
Pike, A. (2010) Paper presented to ICPA pre-conference on e-learning and knowledge management, Ghent.
PhD: Prison-based higher level distance learning and its role in resettlement (2010-2013): ESCR funded, mixed-methods, longitudinal study of adult prisoners who have successfully completed prison-based higher level (post-compulsory) distance learning courses in prisons in England and Wales which have been identified as having some form of distance learning good practice. Grounded in the broader context of adult education and situated learning, this partial ethnographic research aims to investigate student-inmates' experiences of distance learning and what role distance learning plays in their ability to resettle into society on release, from a personal, social and societal perspective.
last updated 27-Jan-2012