Humanities and Arts higher education Network | HAN
494 Members in 281 Institutions from 41 different countries
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About HAN

The Humanities and Arts higher education Network (HAN) is committed to the improvement of teaching and learning in those subjects. It links educators and researchers into the arts and humanities in higher education throughout the UK and abroad. The HAN boasts a continuously expanding membership which, as of 08 February, 2016, includes some 494 Members in 281 Institutions from 41 different countries. The Network endeavours to be inclusive: membership is free and any teacher or researcher in higher education who thinks s/he will benefit from membership is welcome to join and help shape its future direction.

The Network is administered by the Institute of Educational Technology (IET) at The Open University in Milton Keynes, UK. IET is well placed to support the HAN's work: it has an international reputation for excellence and innovation in pedagogy, educational computing, and research methodology. The HAN is managed by IET's Humanities higher Education Research Group (HERG) who are also well placed to support the activities of the Network and who contribute to debate on Arts and Humanities higher education through their editorship of the international Journal Arts and Humanities in Higher Education. The HERG also edits a book series on Teaching and Learning in Arts and Humanities higher education. In addition, members of the group have recently contributed to, and edited, Contemporary Themes in Humanities Higher Education, Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Network aims

The current aims of the Network are:

  • through enhanced communication between educators in the arts and humanities, to encourage reform of curricula, teaching methods, and assessment and evaluative practices
  • to promote identification and dissemination of good practice in humanities teaching/learning; of successful methods and media (e.g. uses of group work, problem-solving and guided-project work); of modern educational technologies (multimedia and computing); and of strategies for student support and acquisition of those 'study skills' that enable lifelong learning (e.g. accessing information, evaluating and presenting evidence, written and verbal communication)
  • to promote the application of research into teaching and learning in the humanities; to encourage teachers and researchers to collaborate, to meet occasionally in order to discuss priorities and work in progress, and to plan future projects.

HAN online

Early in 2002 the decision was taken to convert the HAN into an online Network with the aim of giving its membership greater access to information related to Arts and Humanities higher education, and the ability to 'publish' their own information and take part in discussions and events. It is hoped that, considering the dispersed nature of the HAN's membership, these facilities will enable members to take a more immediate role in the running and shaping of the Network. With developer support from IET's Knowledge Network, work on phase 1 of the HAN website was completed in November 2002. While a great deal of phase 1 development was concerned with the logistics of building the HAN online web environment, a couple of underlying principles have informed the website's production:

  • that Network members are empowered and encouraged to take an active role in producing and publishing information using HAN online,
  • that information on the site is prioritised according to its relevance to each member.

To achieve this we ask new members to select one or more subject interests based upon their own teaching or research interests (members can subsequently edit their subject interests in the 'edit profile' section of HAN online). Whenever new information, such as a conference announcement, is inputted into HAN online, the author is asked to select the subject interest grouping most suitable/relevant for that particular information. This is then matched to the end user's own subject interests to prioritise information.

Phase 2 development of HAN online was undertaken in March 2003 and completed in April 2003. The strategy behind phase 2 was to further develop site functionality and design as well as providing members with addtional facilities such as an online discussion forum.

A phase 3 development strategy, focusing upon enabling synchronous online communication between members, will be initiated towards the end of 2003. In addition, we aim to develop an email notification service whereby members can request information to be sent direct to their inbox. These are just a few of the ideas that we have for developing HAN online in the future. We are also keen to hear comments from HAN members on how best we might develop this resource - please send any comments or suggestions to Kelvin Lack (

Contacting the HAN

To enquire about HAN's research capabilities please contact Jan Parker (

For enquiries about using the HAN website to publish information contact Kelvin Lack (

To report any faults or to comment on any aspect of the HAN website (e.g. style, functionality, future development) please contact Kelvin Lack (

For enquiries about the Knowledge Network please contact the Knowledge Network team (

HAN postal address:
Jan Parker, Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA

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