Experienced transdisciplinary university researcher with practical knowledge of impact planning and working with public, private and mutual external organisations. I am looking to build on my innovative engagement with digital humanities, data analysis, face-to-face and epistolary interviewing and material culture and to deliver to a range of audiences, employing a variety of media and methods.
A sample of recent texts
The Open University. A History, Manchester University Press, 2014.
The Oddfellows. 200 years of making friends and helping people, Carnegie, 2010.
‘Prisoner students: building bridges, breaching walls’, in Jodi Burkett (ed.), Students in Twentieth-Century Britain and Ireland, Palgrave MacMillan, London, 2018.
‘“to support active empirical research at the grassroots” the Family and Community Historical Research Society’, Family and Community History, 22:1, April 2019.
Freemasons, Friendly Societies and Trade Unions, 2019.
Now the war is over: Britain 1919-1920, (with S Fowler), 2018.
Hendon Labour Party 1924-1992, Microform Academic, 1998.
Generating Socialism: recollections of life in the Labour Party, 1997.
A history of Thomas Morson & Son, 1997.
A Short History of Royal Ordnance, Patricroft, Middlesex University Press, 1995 (with T Putnam).
A Short History of the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield, Middlesex University Press, 1992 (with T Putnam).
Books Monthly called Freemason, Friendly Society and Trade Unions, ‘informative and insightful, concise and accessible, detailed … the ideal introduction and an essential guide’.
The Military Historical Review stated of Now the War is Over:
For the first time in recent years this meticulously researched and highly readable tour de force highlights and evaluates the political, social and economic impact of the Great War on Britain in the aftermath of the Armistice. It is impossible to do full justice to this compelling account which this reviewer considers essential reading for anyone seeking to truly understand the impact and lasting legacy of the War on Britain. The book is based on hundreds of different sources, books, archives and websites. The text is fully annotated and supported by almost 40 pages of detailed footnotes. Most highly recommended.
A review of my The Open University. A History in the International Journal of Lifelong Education called it ‘incisive and energizing’ adding that the ‘principal strength of this account lies in the intimate way in which we are presented with not only the institution but the people’. The Welsh History Review concluded that it is a ‘very substantial work’. The Times Higher called it ‘fascinating and inspiring’. Tony Bates, the author of eleven books about online learning and distance education, wrote: ‘Weinbren has undertaken an extremely challenging task and met the challenge superbly. I hope you will enjoy the book as much as I have. More importantly, there are very important lessons to be drawn from this book about the nature of university education, equity, and government policy toward higher education.’ Professor Ken Thompson called it ‘a serious and detailed account [which] is particularly strong on the educational and organizational issues’. The review in Open Learning called it ‘a valuable account for anyone concerned with the history of higher education and society in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century’.
My book Generating Socialism was the New Statesman ‘Book of the Month’ at the time of a General Election and has been widely and favourably reviewed. Professor Paul Thompson of the National Life Story Collection wrote that it is ‘a tremendously important piece of work both historically and politically’. Jim Fyrth said that it was ‘excellent', Professor Jerry White called the book ‘absolutely wonderful’, Professor Stefan Berger wrote that it was ‘a marvellous book’, Professor Kevin Morgan said that it ‘will prove an invaluable resource for present and future historians’, Dr Eugenio F Biagini called it ‘of considerable value to scholars’, and Professor Lawrence Black called it ‘insightful’. The Times Higher said it was ‘fresh and entertaining’ and Labour History Review said ‘Written in a popular and accessible style, it provides a new sort of account of the history of the Labour Party’. Frank Allaun MP called the book 'first class’, adding that it ‘describes how the Labour Party ticks better than almost any other book that I've read’.
The Oddfellows (my book about the most popular of the friendly societies) was also well-received:
• ‘a rich text … detailed and important history [with] a significance beyond the Order … an admirable work of history ... a contextually rich, historiographically complex picture … superbly illustrated … an excellent summary of the current state of the fraternal history and an indicator of its future potential’ (Journal for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism).
• ‘well-researched ... well written ... full of illustrations ... evokes a strong sense of the society and its appeal’ (North West Labour History).
• ‘A comprehensive study … There is a wealth of detail … important topics set out clearly … well illustrated, tables and figures used to good effect and there is a useful glossary and excellent footnotes’ (Family and Community History).
• ‘accessible … a thoroughly good read … Academically the book has clearly been meticulously researched’ (Foresters’ Heritage Trust).
• ‘fills an important and neglected aspect of our social and economic life … an invaluable source of information’ (Journal of Co-operative Studies).
Other academic articles
‘Enclosed communities. The Open University and learning inside prisons’, Family and Community History, forthcoming, 2020.
‘The singing strikers of 1928: cultural contestation, community and Communists’, Family and Community History, forthcoming, 2019.
‘Fraternal networks of Victorian Norfolk’, Family and Community History, submitted.
‘The world in 1913’, Historian, 120, January 2014.
‘Filled with Good Social Democrats’: The Open University and the development of the Knowledge Economy, 1969–1989’, Journal of the World University Forum, 5, 2012.
‘Beneath the all-seeing eye. Fraternal order and friendly societies’ banners’, Journal of Cultural History, 3:2, 2006.
‘The Good Samaritan, friendly societies and the gift economy’, Social History, 31:3, 2006.
‘Getting a grip ― the roles of friendly societies in Australia and the UK reappraised’ (with B. James) Labour History, 89, 2005 [Australia].
‘Imagined families: research on friendly societies’ Mitteilungsblatt des Instituts für die Geschichte der sozialen Bewegungen, 27, 2002 [Germany].
‘Relative value: the financing of families’, Family and Community History, 2:1, 1999.
I was the theme editor of this issue of the journal.
‘“From gun carriage to railway carriage”: the fight for peace work at the Woolwich Arsenal 1919-22’, Labour History Review, 63:3, 1998.
‘New Labour, New history?’ Labour History Review, 63:2, 1998.
‘Building communities, constructing identities. The rise of the Labour Party in London’, London Journal, 23:1, 1998.
‘The Royal Small Arms Factory and industrial Enfield 1855-1914’ (with T. Putnam) London Journal, 21:1, 1996.
‘Labour’s roots and branches: the Labour Oral History Project’, Oral History Journal, 24:1, 1996.
I was special editor of this issue.
‘Labour representation in Woolwich’, Labour History Review, 59:3, 1994.
‘“Against all cruelty”, The Humanitarian League 1891-1919’, History Workshop Journal, 38, 1994.
‘Revolution at the Arsenal’, South London Record, 2, 1987.
Other chapters in academic texts
‘“Disembodied and airborne”. Reflections on the Open University (UK) After 50 Years’ in Ralph Jessen (ed). Visions of society. New Universities and the 20th Century Europe, Böhlau Verlag, Cologne, due 2020.
‘Degrees of Freedom: a university without walls’, in James Mehigan and Rod Earle (eds.) Degrees of Freedom, Polity Press, 2019.
‘John H. Horlock’, National Academy of Engineering, National Academies Press, Washington, 2017.
‘Freemasonry and friendly societies’ in Henrik Bogdan and Jan Snoek (eds.), Handbook on contemporary freemasonry, Brill, Leiden, and Boston, 2014.
‘Asa Briggs and the opening up of The Open University’, in Miles Taylor (ed.), The Age of Asa, Palgrave, 2014.
‘Mutual Aid and the Big Society’ in Armine Ishkanian and Simon Szreter (eds.) The Big Society Debate: a new agenda for social welfare? Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2012.
‘“Organisations for brotherly aid in misfortune”: Beveridge and the friendly societies’, in Melanie Oppenheimer and Nicholas Deakin (eds.) Beveridge and voluntary action in Britain and the wider British world, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2011.
‘The social capital of female friendly societies’ in Máire Cross (ed.), Gender and Fraternal Orders in Europe, 1300-2000, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2010.
‘Seven hundred years of fraternal orders’ in Máire Cross (ed.), Gender and Fraternal Orders in Europe, 1300-2000, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2010.
‘Heritage and the recent and contemporary past’ (with R. Ferguson & R. Harrison) in Tim Benton (ed.), Understanding heritage and memory, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2010.
‘‘The roles of families’ in Ian Donnachie (ed.), Themes in local and regional history, Open University, 2010.
‘Supporting self-help: charity, mutuality and reciprocity in nineteenth-century Britain’ in Bernard Harris and Paul Bridgen (eds.) Charity and mutual aid: in Europe and North America since 1800, Routledge, London and New York, 2007.
‘Sociable capital’ in Matthew Worley (ed.) Labour's grass roots: essays on the activities and experiences of local Labour parties and members, 1918-1945, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2005.
Country profiles, Open University, 2002.
Family and Community History Internet Guide, Open University, 2000.
Remembering, BBC, 2nd edition, 1997.
Remembering, BBC, 1996.
Reports in Family and Community History (editor, with L Faulkner and R Finnegan), Open University, 2001.
Reports in Family and Community History (editor, with L Faulkner and R Finnegan), Open University, 2000.
Popular articles encouraging independent scholarship
‘Norfolk’s Emigration Fever’, Norfolk Roots, Spring 2005
‘A Friend Indeed’, Norfolk Roots, Autumn 2004
‘Beneficial Mutuality’, Ancestors, June 2004
‘Investigating friendly societies’, Family History Monthly, May 2004
‘Millennial Histories’, Local History News, 46, 1998
I have written monthly columns for Family History Monthly and for Ancestors, The National Archives’ publication.
I have presented over 40 papers to academic conferences in Belgium, France Greece, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, the USA, and in many locations in the UK. A Research Council member described my contribution to a recent academic conference as ‘brilliant’. In 2019 I was a guest speaker at both the International Conference in Critical Management Studies and at the Visions of society. New Universities and the 20th Century Europe conference, Cologne.
I have reviewed 38 books in a variety of academic journals including Economic History Review, Family and Community History, History, Journal of Freemasonry and Fraternalism, The London Journal, Oral History and Oral History Review. I have also had my reviews published in a number of popular journals.
Book proposals for Palgrave, Macmillan, Hodder, Arnold and Routledge.
Bid proposals to the ESRC and the AHRC. The assessor of the ESRC singled me out as a ‘well informed referee’.
Articles for London Journal, Oral History, Politics, Labour History Review, History of Education, History Workshop Journal, International Yearbook of Oral History and Life Stories, Victorian Review (USA) and Labour History (Australia).
2012–2015 Associate Editor, Journal of the World Universities Forum.
2009 – Editorial Board member, Journal for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism.
2003–2009 Editorial Board member of The National Archives journal, Ancestors.
2001 – Series Editor, Microform Academic, Friendly Societies’ Records. Over 100 films have been sourced, edited, filmed and introduced by academic experts.
1998 – Joint founding editor Family and Community History and now Editorial Associate.
1996–2000 Special editor Oral History (Spring 1996) and Oral History editor.
Impact employing other media
An exhibition, based on my project of recording the memories of 200 labour activists from across the UK, was opened by the Home Secretary and toured the UK.
Exhibition for the OU’s ‘Storied Lives’ project.
Two displays for the South Bank exhibition space.
OU speaker and contributor to South Bank, The rest is noise festival, 2013.
Interviewee, BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire and BBC Three Counties 2018.
Advisor Norfolk Museum Services, 2016.
Advisor People’s History Museum.
Advisor BBC Archive Hour on Asa Briggs, 2017.
Advisor BBC Archive Hour on the OU over 50 years, 2019.
Wired November 2018, https://www.wired.co.uk/article/open-university-uk-enrollment-courses-problems
Obituary writer, Daily Telegraph, 9 April 2013 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/9980159/Oxford-may-have-snubbed-Margaret-Thatcher-but-higher-education-owes-her-a-debt.html
Presentations on OU history to OU Alumni, OUSA, staff and donors 2014-2018.
Principal Speaker on Jennie Lee for popular event in her home town, 2016.
I have addressed local and specialist national history societies, The National Archives, Greenwich Maritime Museum and London Archives.
· 15 years’ Associate Lecturer experience teaching in three regions on six modules: Maintaining high retention and student satisfaction ratings I have taught alone and in teams, face-to-face, online and via the telephone.
· Authored audio, video and print teaching materials for access, undergraduate and postgraduate modules. This involved producing innovative material about ‘virtual heritage’, material informed by a range of intellectual traditions from across the Humanities and Social Sciences and material which exploits the affordances of a range of media.
· My MA Local History material is used as an online ‘taster’ for potential Masters students, indicating the quality of my teaching materials.
· The IET survey found that 90% of students reported that my postgraduate teaching material was ‘highly satisfactory’.
My commitment to successful and engaging teaching can be gauged by three of the 2018 comments from my students on the annual survey:
· Dan was probably the best thing about A327, He was incredibly supportive both of me in the module, and in helping me get to the next step […] Tutorials were engaging with never a dull moment, and above all were informative in a way that helped understand the course material [...] He was incredibly prompt at getting back to you if you had questions.
· Dan is brilliant! He is a very very good Open University tutor. One of the best.
· A very interesting and approachable tutor. Enjoyed the tutorials and the discussions we had. Tutorials seemed to fly by and were not long enough if anything. Definitely helped with the course study maintaining momentum and interest.
The most recent (July 2019) report from my Staff Tutor on my A826 teaching said, ‘As Ros says, this is excellent correspondence tuition. Thanks ever so much for all the time, effort and skill that has gone into this marking’.
Support through informal teaching
· my work for my HEA Fellowship, which included writing and assessing guidance for students on how to use Wikipedia,
· teaching about the best uses of synchronous audio-visual software to WELS staff,
· reflection on my own teaching experiences
I have developed ways to support online learners so that they can gain a range of historical skills.
I have supplemented my teaching through audio and video for modules and my print material on the historical implications of virtual worlds, with two blogs. One is a long-running history blog which includes my series ‘The history of the OU in 50 weeks in 50 objects’. The other is the faculty blog, Society Matters which as editor for three years, I transformed through commissioning material and illustrations which illuminated faculty research, linking it to module and Qualification sites. It offered students resources both within and between modules.
My videos for the university’s ‘Student Connections’ series have been repeatedly shown to students. In collaboration with prisoners and ALs I contributed to the 2019 video about OU students in prison.
OpenLearn My 14 items include materials about learning in prison, the cold war, the voluntary sector and the state, informal learning, virtual heritage and social capital. See https://www.open.edu/openlearn/profiles/dw256
My website about the history of The Open University has attracted 120 personal narratives by former and current staff and students: http://www8.open.ac.uk/researchprojects/historyofou/
My History of the OU blog has over 300 postings and has received comments from around the world: http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/History-of-the-OU
Podcasts: four podcasts in the series ‘Things we forgot to remember’: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-things-we-forgot-to-remember/id206227356
Podmag broadcasts 2014-2017. Some examples
This teaching has been symbiotically bolstered by relevant research presented in papers to a Digital Humanities conference and a history of educational television conference.
Experienced moderator of module-wide, welcome forums, cluster forums and tutor forums and a faculty-wide student Café for over three years. I sought to create spaces for learners which built on the best available social constructivist methods and interactive technology. The relevant chair wrote of my moderation of A327
‘Thanks very much for making such an excellent job of moderating the forum. I think that the online forums of the presentation ended up being among the most successful that I’ve seen, and this was mainly due to the excellent moderating job that you did’.
Monitor of tutors on Europe 1914-1918: war, peace, modernity, A327. This involved assessing and supporting their teaching. Engaging in dialogue with ALs through this process has been mutually beneficial for our teaching. Subsequently, I have employed my understanding of OU teaching by worked closely with Cluster Managers to devise and implement tuition strategies.
Stakeholder on H812, Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice. My contribution to this module for teaching staff and others who directly support learning within HE was to offer practical insights into how current research regarding a range of technologies could be related to professional practices.
Faculty champion and innovative user of conferencing software and asynchronous communication for teaching, including Adobe Connect. As a faculty champion of several online systems, I provided advice and guidance notes for both students and staff. My collation and promotion of my practices has ensured that users, both students and ALs worked together to offer critiques and amendments such that we have all gained ideas as to how to make the best use the available software.
Examiner of PhDs (Oxford Brookes and Charles Sturt University, Australia) and of History mini-vivas and MAs and undergraduates (Open University).
I have recently provided guidance for a Module Team in both production and presentation about the use of iCMAs. This advice was derived from my knowledge of recent research regarding Learning Design and assessment.
I have sat on Examination Boards as a member, set examination questions, marked, double-marked and organised and attended co-ordination meetings for EMAs and Examinations.
Previous and external teaching
Expert discussant of postgraduate papers at University College, London and at Huddersfield University. Teaching and assessing at this level has enabled me to gain insights into how adults learn and which skills we at the OU ought to teach.
Monmouth College, Illinois, USA 2015 —
Guest lecturer in British and US Politics, 2010. Currently online advisor on European Studies. Overcoming the challenge of teaching students in the USA with a limited knowledge of European cultures or systems led me to improve in clarity and effectiveness of my materials for OU students.
Middlesex University 1993-1998
Lecturer and Curriculum Group Leader. Responsibilities included the production of distance learning material and teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level including PhD supervision.
Leader of Britain’s first degree in Citizenship and Community Studies. This involved forming partnerships with the British Library, the Museum of London, the TUC, the National Trust and the co-operative movement.
Devised and taught the first undergraduate module on Oral History in the UK.
Devised and presented the BBC’s first nationwide access course for the Humanities.
University College, London 1992-1993
On a short-term contract, to cover the year-long absence of a history Professor, I taught several undergraduate courses, including a course introducing ICT and I co-ordinated and taught on an interdisciplinary MA.
Concurrent part-time contracts teaching history 1983-1992
The Open University, The University of West London, the University of Greenwich and within adult education.
|Centre for Citizenship, Identifies and Governance (CCIG)||Centre||Faculty of Social Sciences|