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Helping students realise the potential of their IP

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Universities

We need your help to name a new online learning tool designed to boost knowledge of IP among students and lecturers in universities.

IP in higher education

Students often ask “Why is intellectual property relevant to me?” a question that our small team is working hard to answer. Helping students to understand the importance of IP is a long game; yet with the help of a new project we have seen a surge in support in the last 8 months.

We have been working with universities and industry since 2011 with a goal to see IP included in more university courses. We have already had great success. IP is now included in the Engineering course accreditation criteria and subject benchmark statement.  We are currently working to include IP in the Accounting and Finance subject benchmark statements.

Work in this area is ongoing and success here will mean that more students will learn about IP during their studies as more subjects include the topic. Revising the curriculum is a lengthy, ad hoc process so my role in the team was to look at extra ways that we can support students and lecturers in the meantime.

Embarking on a new project

I began my journey in January; new to my position and unaware of the widespread lack of awareness of IP within the higher education (HE) arena. My mission to increase awareness of IP amongst HE lecturers and students would not be an easy one.

As a policy advisor, I had to consider the evidence to decide the best course of action to support the HE community.  In this case, the research findings were clear. A survey by the National Union for Students (NUS) and the IPO told us that 80% of students believed that knowing about IP was important. Yet, only 40% considered their understanding of IP to be enough to support them in their future career. Of the students taught IP as part of their course, more than 50% wanted IP issues linked to the subject they were studying.

It is clear that students have an appetite to know more about IP yet they are not always getting it through their studies. Instead, I began to explore the feasibility of an online IP learning tool especially for the HE community.

I spent three months travelling the UK and grilling some of the most exciting minds in HE and industry. During this time I obtained a better idea of what students and lecturers need to know about IP. Thankfully, the proposal that the IPO wanted to create an online IP learning tool got a remarkable response. Soon, I received emails from people across the UK and overseas keen to work with us to make a tool to raise the importance of IP within HE.

The tool is still under development and will launch in March 2015. It will provide a practical look at IP and how it can be managed responsibly. It will also address common issues such as IP and social media and how to seek funding safely. I’m fortunate enough to be working with over 30 stakeholders who hail from a range of exciting disciplines and will ensure that all corners of HE will find the tool useful. I hope that with the help of the best in the business the tool will be the first choice for IP information to prepare our graduates for an IP rich career.

There is one part of the project that still requires your help. The online IP learning tool remains nameless.

If you have a great idea for a name, we’d love to hear your suggestions by leaving a comment on this page.

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  1. Comment by Madilyn posted on

    There are 3 ways of rising expectations to help fulfil students' potential: in the classroom, at home and via self-motivation.

  2. Comment by Jerry Bridge-Butler posted on

    You've already got IP Equip, so how about IP Educate? Or any of these alternatives on the same theme: IP Teach, IP Classroom, IP Learn, IP Know, IP Uni etc.

    Or, if you want to stay away from "IP", as suggested above, you could have any number of more appealing distinctive names like:

    Idea Armour
    Create Box
    Thought Net

  3. Comment by andy penaluna posted on

    About half of students want more, but I would suggest that a good deal less than half felt confident to comment. In my view, even the term intellectual property might lose it for us... and it has to engage at the root of the problem.

    Having informally surveyed about 40 students, I'm starting to think about brainstorming the words that we associate with IP instead.

    Copy, borrow, infringe, ideas, protection, safeguard, legal etc., etc.

    Nowhere near it yet, but 'My Idea My Property', or 'Owning Ideas' are the kinds of thing I'm thinking - as everyone I've asked sees them as core elements.

  4. Comment by B Doyle posted on