Near Future Teaching final report

Posted on Apr 19, 2019 in news

Near Future Teaching image

The Near Future Teaching project ran between 2017 and 2019, with the goal to develop a values-based vision for the future of digital education at the University of Edinburgh. The final report is now published – please do download it, read, enjoy and get in touch with me direct if you’d like to know more.

All the project materials have an open licence so please to re-use them if helpful: you can get hold of them from the project Materials page.

We are keen to share the knowledge formed through this project as widely as possible, so if you are interested to get one of the project team along for a talk, seminar or workshop please drop me an email and we can discuss.

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New paper: The Social Value of Anonymity on Campus

Posted on Mar 15, 2019 in news


The new paper from our project on Yik Yak and the social value of anonymity is now out in Learning, Media and Technology.

We used the failure of this anonymous social media app to look at the value of anonymity among student communities. We pushed back on the knee jerk media tendency to align anonymity with hate speech and victimisation, to argue that there is real value for communities in having spaces of ephemerality and (quoting Helen Nissenbaum) ‘unreachability’, where different kinds of networks can grow. The individuation and data-targeting ethos of the data-age has normalised our lack of unreachability, and that matters. We argue that universities need to open up new discussions around how we can actively enable productive anonymity by recognising its social value.

The paper is here – it’s open access:

Bayne, S., Connelly, L., Grover, C., Osborne, N., Tobin, R., Beswick, E., Rouhani, L. (2019) The social value of anonymity on campus: a study of the decline of Yik Yak. Learning, Media and Technology. 10.1080/17439884.2019.1583672

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Posthumanism: a navigation aid for educators

Posted on Sep 7, 2018 in news



Students and colleagues have often asked me for a brief introduction to what we mean by ‘posthumanism’, and the implications this body of thought has for education. So I was pleased when Anne Rohstock got in touch to ask if I could publish something in the new online journal on_education, for a special issue on post- and transhumanism in education.

The article tries to give a useful overview of the various areas of work which can be grouped under the term ‘posthumanism’: in the article I classify these as critical posthumanism, technological posthumanism and ecological posthumanism, and try to suggest why these ideas are important to the way we think about education. I hope the article is a useful navigation device for educational researchers and practitioners who are new to this area of thought.

Posthumanism: a navigation aid for educators, on_education, issue no.2, September 2018

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Near Future Teaching: video edits

Posted on Jul 3, 2018 in news

videos screenshot

The final set of video edits from the Near Future Teaching project  are now online. These were thematically clustered from around 70 interviews with staff and students at the University of Edinburgh, and surface some of the issues and values the community would like to see extended into future planning for digital education.

Dip in to see how our community would like to see a sense of wonder, a focus on community, augmentation and ethical approaches to data included in how we think about our digital future. Distance, nearness, relationships and creativity all feature highly and are giving us a sense of the underpinnning values that should shape the way the university thinks about digital education.

There are also some new posts on the methods we are using in this project in our blog, covering the way we are bringing futures thinking to bear on the co-design of the future of our teacing.


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Near Future Teaching project

Posted on Sep 19, 2017 in news


I have a new project running this year, along with the wonderful Jennifer Williams, Michael Gallagher, Lucy Kendra and colleagues, which aims to ‘design the future of digital education at Edinbugh’. Through a series of events, workshops, thinktanks and interviews the Near Future Teaching project will be working with students and staff across the university to devise a values-based future vision for digital education strategy and practice. The web site gives an update of where we’ve got to, and if you’d like to know more just drop me an email.

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Digital sanctuary and anonymity on campus: article on WonkHE

Posted on Sep 18, 2017 in news










After my Alt-C talk this September, which discussed the social value of anonymity within universities, David Kernohan from the excellent WonkHE kindly asked me to write a blog post covering some of the issues raised by our recent research in this area.

The post argues that we need to broaden our discussions of anonymity in social media, not only because it does useful work in opening up discussion on difficult and sensitive issues, but also because – given the current normalisation of surveillance, tracking and profiling through conventional social media – our students need spaces of digital sanctuary.

You can read the full post here on WonkHE, and watch the linked keynote here.


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