Our Methods

This page summarises some of the processes that are shared between different strands of the EdLab project work. These methods are drawn from areas such as Open Educational Practice, Participatory Video and Agile Software Development.

This page will develop as we add more specific details of processes to these underlying concepts.


We work in partnership with education providers, community groups, social enterprises and charities around our locality and across the region. At MMU we bring students from diverse subject disciplines across the university’s faculties to work with those from Education. We are forming a flexible but stable university-wide network of academics involved in student experience, research and community engagement within and across faculties.


EdLab projects involve different people and organisations working together to solve identified problems, or to produce or take advantage of opportunities to do good things. Our students are active contributors to creating innovative and enterprising solutions to community problems. We avoid the language of ‘placements’ and think of our students as working in active partnership.


Taking part in collaborative and open-spaces is a way of creating knowledge and understanding, because the best way to learn about new processes is to be actively involved. The projects are designed to maximise new knowledge and to create ways to distribute it. We are integrating these projects into our students’ programmes with a status equal to any formal learning. We aim to communicate the outputs of projects in ways which make sense both to the academy and to the general public.


Large institutions can be slow-moving, particularly in their need to over-plan activity, and pre-empt all problems and complexity. One of the approaches of EdLab is that as long as we are doing activities and actively engaging in community partnerships, innovation and understanding will ‘fall out’. We use principles of agile management to help this happen. An agile approach is all about ‘doing’ something, evaluating how it went and ‘iterating’ it (doing it again). We believe this approach is an ideal way to create projects with community partners where we work together on an equal basis, under flat power structures. We want all partners to have a say from start to finish, and for us to work out interesting directions together.