The Health and Education Co-operative (HE Co-op) was initially set up through the Strategic Health Authority with an aim to stimulate partnership working between North West universities. A key incentive at the time was a joint funding project to create an online learning resource for non-medical prescribing.
A company was created as part of the project funding. Not all North West HEIs wanted to be part of the formal company. 5 North West HEIs made that commitment and are still part of the membership today. These include the following universities and Directors:
- University of Bolton – Dr Jane Howarth
- University of Central Lancashire – Janette Grey
- University of Chester – Dr Angela Simpson
- University of Cumbria – Prof Brian Webster-Henderson
- University of Salford – Prof Margaret Rowe
Board members meet once a quarter with the Company Manager (Jo Tate) to review performance and establish future activity.
What does the HE Co-op do?
Initially the HE Co-op was set up to develop a shared online resource to support NMP students. This resource still exists today. However, the HE Co-op has evolved with an extensive range of on-line resources as well as providing collaborative contract management services.
SN@P Assessment and Education – Numeracy development resources and assessments tailored for healthcare students but can be used for any subject. Choose from over 1000 questions or upload your own for summative or formative assessments.
SN@P Invigilation Centre – Protecting the integrity of online student assessments – offering assurance and reducing workload. Created following the Covid-19 pandemic; this online assessment centre can be used to provide live and recorded assessments of exams including a student screenshare and profile view of the student working.
VLE for CPD online courses – This easy access platform negates the need for users to register as students formally through your HEIs, and provides all the technical support to students logging in. Basically members provide the content and we do all the rest!
Medicines Management and Preparing to Prescribe – A progressive resource aimed at supporting UG students to be ‘prescriber ready’ at the point of registration. This resource includes activities and is intended to be an adjunct to classroom learning. Find out more about who has been involved from your organisation.
NMP Post Graduate Resource and DPP Course – Our original flagship resource aimed at supporting level 6/7 students through their full NMP qualification. And a DPP course aimed at supporting practice assessors of NMP students.
All these resources are currently free for member universities to use.
The HE Co-op Ethos
We work on the Aristotle principle:
“the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”
Our HE Co-op member universities offer academic staff time to contribute toward the development of the shared resources. Every member university then benefits from free access to the resources (whereas universities outside of the membership are charged £1000’s every year).
Academics working collaboratively with peers in other universities have found the experience very beneficial as well as enjoyable. In most cases time is allocated via the board of Directors to facilitate contributions to these shared development projects and resources.
Why is my university involved in the HE Co-op?
- Free access to its collaborative resources, saving your HEI thousands every year
- Opportunity to work collaboratively with other HEIs on shared solutions to common problems (scenarios here are potentially endless!)
- Growing external pressures from regulatory bodies, government bodies, funders and research institutions for HEIs to work together
Ideas for future collaborations?
Covid-19 was a catalyst for creating an online assessment tool. How to assess students with integrity online was a shared pain all our member universities were feeling.
New NMC guidance relating to undergraduate nurses was also a common requirement all members needed to fulfil.
Whilst we acknowledge there is a degree of competition between the member universities, we focus purely on where we can work together for mutual benefit. This can be really rewarding for academics involved and provide access to a network of peers.
We are always open to new projects and resources where there is benefit from pooling resources and a consistent approach. Please contact your HE Co-op Director (listed above) or email email@example.com if you have a collaboration idea in mind. Jo is currently on secondment from the University of Cumbria.