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ORBIT Trainer Development Policy

This document contains the policies covering ORBIT trainers, from initial recruitment to full deployment as an independent ORBIT trainer as well as practical issues that need clarification for the training process to work.

Introduction

The ORBIT project and the resulting legal entity are tasked with creating a culture of responsible research and innovation in the EPSRC ICT portfolio and beyond. ORBIT will be a company limited by guarantee, which means it will be a not-for-profit company jointly owned by De Montfort University and the University of Oxford. While not profit-generating, ORBIT must be financially sustainable. In addition ORBIT should create a surplus that can be invested into branching out to other markets and to develop new services. 

The first set of commercially successful products have been training courses for the EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) that have been launched in October 2019.

This policy is written with this market in mind. ORBIT must deliver high quality training to this audience to ensure that there will be continued interest and an income stream that renders the company viable. In future ORBIT is likely to develop other services that will include training courses to other audiences or with different topics. 

There are several reasons why ORBIT aims to work with external trainers. Firstly, ORBIT does not have the budget to sustain full time training contracts. Secondly, there will be few, if any, trainers who have the subject expertise to cover the entire ICT portfolio. ORBIT therefore aims to develop a portfolio of trainers who it can draw upon to deliver high quality training across a number of subject areas.

As the CDT training is the main source of income at the early stages of ORBIT, it is imperative that the training is delivered reliably and to a high standard. ORBIT has therefore developed the policies described here to develop training capacity and ensure quality.

All training activities are overseen by the training manager (currently Marghertia Nulli).

Advantages of being an ORBIT trainer

Becoming an ORBIT trainer is an exciting opportunity to become part of a growing community focused on how to create technologies that are good for society. As ORBIT trainer you will be delivering courses to the main UK Universities. By interacting with students, professors and researchers you will expand your knowledge to include state-of-the-art research and be part of stimulating discussions over the future of technologies.

Payment

The basic day-rate for an experienced trainer will be £400 per day plus travel and accommodation expenses. This rate is in line with the EU’s pay for experts (€450 per day) and the UK government’s pay for scientific advisors (£400 per day). Experienced trainers will be characterised by:

  • Significant teaching experience, typically acquired in an academic position
  • Proven research track record as evidenced by a PhD and publications
  • Subject expertise in RRI or the subject being taught.

The exact rate will be negotiated on a one-by-one case depending on the trainer’s expertise and accreditations.

Trainers are responsible for ensuring that the training activity is compatible with their other employment commitments and for ensuring appropriate taxation of their remuneration. Once the legal entity exists, trainers can invoice the legal entity. Until this is the case, appropriate payment mechanisms have to be found through the two universities. These include:

  • Payment through Unitemps (for trainers not affiliated with either university). This will require a physical visit to DMU’s unitemps office. Trainers will be employed on a short term unitemps contract, typically on a research fellow level. The number of hours allocated to the training will be chosen in a way that the overall payment will cover the agreed rate. This number of hours then will include travel, preparation and post-training activities
  • Payment via a DMU honorarium (for DMU staff only)
  • Payment for Oxford staff (via internal contract)

Process of becoming an ORBIT trainer

The first step to becoming an ORBIT trainer is to be trained to deliver ORBIT workshops. ORBIT created and validated the content of its workshops during the past two years. To ensure standardisation its services, ORBIT is expecting all the new trainers to familiarise themselves with the content of the ORBIT workshops and to be trained to deliver them. As such, all new trainers will be asked to attend on ORBIT workshop delivered by a certified trainer. The steps of the training procedure are as follows:

Step 0 – person specification: ORBIT trainers need to be recognised as subject experts and valuable contributors by their trainees. This requires several characteristics to be present:

  • Ability to provide training to a potentially demanding audience, i.e. students or academic staff. This can be evidenced by experience in an academic teaching and research position (lecturer, professor)
  • Subject knowledge: The trainer must have significant knowledge of an ICT subject and demonstrated experience in at least an aspect of RRI or significant knowledge of RRI and demonstrated experience of working with ICT scholars, This can be evidenced through appropriate academic degrees and publications. 
  • ORBIT is interested in a broad range of trainers and will consider other backgrounds of trainers beyond the standard academic career route. 

Step 1 – attending ORBIT training: Candidates who want to become trainers need to attend an ORBIT workshop to understand the ORBIT interpretation of RRI and the ORBIT methodology. There are two options for this:

  • Candidates attend a scheduled training event. Candidates who have a plausible interest in becoming ORBIT trainers may be able to attend at a reduced rate, subject to availability.
  • From time to time ORBIT will run train the trainer events. These will be publicly announced and potential trainers can register and attend free of charge. 

Step 2 – contributing to a workshop: Having attended the initial ORBIT training, potential trainers will need to attend at least one ORBIT workshop which will be led by a senior ORBIT trainer but where they will contribute to the training. Details of the upcoming events will be made available and will include:

  • Date(s)
  • Type of workshop (e.g. Foundations, Practitioner, etc)
  • Location and institution
  • Audience type (e.g. CDT students, supervisors, ECRs)
  • Academic background of the audience
  • Number of trainers necessary for the session

Trainers will be able to pick a workshop of interest to attend. They will be required and specify a few details including:

  • Relevant qualifications
  • How their particular knowledge and background can be relevant to the course being delivered
  • Motivations for selecting the workshop

Once a match between a workshop and a trainer in training has been found, the trainer in training will be contacted by the main trainer delivering the workshop. Further details of the day will be given and together the trainers will select the appropriate case studies to present during the course. The trainer in training will be asked to actively contribute to and deliver part of the workshop. Material and slides will be provided by the ORBIT team. New trainers will also be expected to actively contribute to the day, including helping during the discussions and interactive exercises. It is expected that the day will be used as a chance to get familiar with the delivery of the ORBIT content.

Step 3 – supervised delivery of a workshop: the next step in becoming an ORBIT trainer consists in delivering the full length of a workshop under the supervision of an accredited ORBIT trainer. Once again, the details of the upcoming courses will be available on the ORBIT website, where trainers will be able to select which workshop they want to deliver (as per Step 1). The new trainer will co-lead the preparation for the workshop (e.g. getting the case studies and the appropriate material). Following the completion of the workshop, feedback will be collected from both the attendees and the other trainer.

Step 4 – being an accredited ORBIT trainer: provided that the feedback received has been positive, the training can be considered to be completed. The certified ORBIT trainer will now be able to act as the main leader during workshops.

Please note that for the training phase travel and accommodation will be reimbursed by ORBIT (whenever reasonable) and a flat rate of £300 per day will be given as honoraria.

Work to be undertaken 

ORBIT expects that trainers will contribute to the preparation of the workshop, albeit some background work will still be carried by the main ORBIT team. In general, for every workshop you can expect the work to be divided as follows.

The ORBIT team will:

  • Book and arrange course dates
  • Identify suitable trainers
  • Arrange trainers’s travel and accommodation for each course
  • Create course content and update it regularly
  • Create and update a repository of case studies

The certified trainers are expected to:

  • Fully participate in the course throughout the day
  • Have a telephone / skype call with the course clients to identify their needs in preparation for the workshop
  • Select the appropriate case studies to be used through the day
  • Deliver the course
  • Collect feedback during the day (through the ORBIT forms)
  • Prepare a short report for the attendees at the end of every course (standard template to be provided by ORBIT)

The full ORBIT training programme includes several different types of course, aimed at different levels of researcher. Trainers can indicate how many courses they would like to deliver. Selection of suitable trainers will be done by ORBIT on the basis of training needs, required expertise, and prior feedback.

Quality Assurance

It is of crucial importance to ORBIT that all services provided are of the highest quality. Trainers represent ORBIT vis a vis the ORBIT customers and have to demonstrate that ORBIT offers added value that justifies the expenditure incurred by working with ORBIT. The key quality assurance mechanism is feedback.

Feedback will be collected after each workshop delivered to keep monitoring the quality of the service provided by the trainers. Excellent feedback is a condition of continued delivery of training.

In particular, two four types of feedback will be collected:

  • Feedback on achieving learning outcomes by participants: all participants are asked to fill in an online survey at the beginning and at the end of every course. It is expected that after the course participants will have a better understanding of RRI and its underpinning principles. This feedback is used to monitor the learning through the day.
  • Participant satisfaction feedback: as part of the end of course feedback, participants will be asked their feedback online and evaluate the quality of the training and the trainer itself. This will include the course content, the choice of the workshops and how well the trainer/s communicated the concepts and engaged with the audience.
  • Workshop organizers feedback: the organizers of the course will also be asked to express their feedback on not only the course content and the trainer but also on the process of booking an ORBIT training.
  • Feedback between trainers: Where possible, ORBIT training will be undertaken by more than one trainer. This lessens the workload and helps spread good practice. Trainers are encouraged to give feedback to each other. This can be done informally.
  • Feedback from the trainer: trainers will be asked to provide their feedback on the event including their impressions on the day. This feedback will be collected using an online form and submitting it is part of the duties covered by the agreement with the trainer.

The training manager will monitor all aspects of feedback and use it to make decisions about future requests to provide training.

Trainer resources and tools

Potential trainers need to sign up to the trainer section of the website. This section, which is only visible to individuals who have been accepted as potential trainers, will contain all relevant tools and links required for the work of the trainer. This includes:

  • Training material including
    • Training handbook
    • Slides
    • Case studies
    • Trainer handbook (annotated version of the handbook for trainers)
  • Training schedule
  • These policies
  • Link to feedback section for trainers
  • Feedback section of trainers

How to gain access to the trainer resources

We need a way for people to express an interest. A link on the website that is not too prominent.

Allocation of training courses

When ORBIT receives a new booking it will inform experienced trainers as well as trainers in training of the opportunity. 

Trainers can then express an interest in being considered for the training event. Criteria for selection include:

  • Past history and feedback from delegates and clients
  • Fit in terms of subject expertise
  • Overall distribution of workload

Update of this policy

It is expected that this policy will be updated regularly. The current version is the one that is available on the trainer section of the website.

Appendix: Types of workshops

Foundations in RRI

The Foundations in RRI course is an interactive in-person training workshop at client premises given by an ORBIT-accredited trainer. This can be for up to 15 participants and can be tailored to the specific research interests of the group. Participants will have the opportunity to suggest topics ahead of the workshop. The course will also discuss the AREA framework that is used to formulate RRI responses to challenges. At the end of the session, participants will be able to download a certificate of completion, subject to filling in the feedback form on the ORBIT website. A report is produced after the event that analyses the findings and problems discussed during the day.

Foundations ‘sandwich’

The first section of this course is delivered onsite at an early stage of training/teaching. The day-long course covers the foundational elements of RRI as per in the Foundations course The second section of the course is delivered some weeks later when the students have been able to apply the RRI principles to a ‘live’ project they are working on. It affords an opportunity for students to obtain real-world experience of working within the RRI Framework and dealing with issues as they emerge. External judges attend the day and the students present their work or designs to date. Their work and their application of the RRI principles is discussed, and the judges award prizes.

ORBIT Practitioner in RRI

The RRI Practitioner course is a three-day course (two if the participants previously attended an ORBIT Foundation course) given at an offsite location by an ORBIT-accredited trainer. This course is aimed at researchers who are involved in small-to-medium sized ICT projects. The course will familiarise participants with the foundational principles of RRI and provide detailed analysis of the AREA Framework. Attendees will learn to apply the ORBIT Method, a novel concept to fully embed RRI in ICT projects. Participants will also be given in-depth training on the Project Self-Assessment tool. At the end of the three-day course, delegates will be certified as Practitioners in RRI for a period of three years.

ORBIT Expert in RRI

The four-day Master Practitioner course incorporates the three-day Practitioner course with an additional day that looks further at the AREA (Anticipate, Reflect, Engage, Act) Framework and its specific application through the 4Ps process. This will give participants the RRI knowledge with which to undertake and manage the RRI elements of large and complex ICT projects. Each of the EU keys is also examined in more depth within the context of the ‘science with and for society’ theme that underpins the EU’s Horizon 2020 framework. At the end of the course, delegates will be certified as ORBIT Experts in RRI for three years.

Ethical Hackathon

An Ethical Hackathon is a two-day workshop that is based around the hackathon concept familiar to computer scientists. An ethical hackathon combines scientists with specialists from other fields who form teams that then tackle a problem that requires them to consider social and ethical issues of design alongside technical ones. Depending on the task, teams might produce a design document, mockup or prototype. Entries are judged by external moderators in terms of ‘responsibility’, alongside traditional hackathon parameters such as efficiency and safety. Ethical Hackathons are intended to have two effects: firstly to sensitise groups to each other’s methods and concerns, facilitating future collaboration, and secondly to produce better, more responsible work. ORBIT acts as a facilitator and organiser of an Ethical Hackathon, which is held onsite at the institution.