Travels and talks coming up

Posted on Aug 16, 2016 in news

I’m looking forward to some research trips and talks in the next few months.

In September I’m travelling to the University of Guadalajara, Mexico to talk about the work we are doing in multimodal assessment and critical approaches to teacher automation.

Automation is also the topic of the BERA keynote I’m honoured to be giving in Leeds this September: there’s more about that here – very much looking forward to catching up with colleagues and friends at this excellent conference.

Then in October I’m heading to the annual meeting of the Centre for Education and Learning in the Netherlands (CEL is a collaboration between the University of Leiden, Delft University of Technology, and Erasmus University Rotterdam ) to give the opening lecture. Again, on teacher automation which continues to be a core issue for HE teachers all over the globe…

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New project to research Yik Yak

Posted on May 17, 2016 in news

yaksmallWe have just received funding from the Edinburgh Principal’s Award Scheme to research Yik Yak for understanding teaching, learning and assessment at the University of Edinburgh.

Yik Yak is a location-based social media app, launched in 2013, which has quickly become ubiquitously adopted by students on university and college campuses in the US and, increasingly, the UK. It allows users located within the same geographical area to create and respond to short, anonymous posts, and is emerging as an often-controversial space in which candid, dynamic and sometimes taboo issues are raised and discussed by young users. Yik Yak is widely used at Edinburgh: in early 2015 approximately 30% of undergraduates were active users and in 2016 the figure is likely to be higher: scoping work done by this project team shows approximately 100 original ‘yaks’ being posted in the George Square area every three hours. This same scoping work revealed that students use this platform to talk openly about many issues, including teaching, assessment and student support.

The gritty immediacy, anonymity and informality of comments posted on Yik Yak make it an ideal space in which to build an understanding of our students’ perspectives on learning, teaching and assessment. This project – working within the university’s agenda to prioritise teaching, and undertaken by a team spanning the three Colleges – will conduct mixed-methods research drawing on data generated in Yik Yak over academic year 2016-17. In doing so, we aim to build a better understanding of the teaching, learning and assessment priorities and concerns of Edinburgh students, and to inform the university’s future planning for teaching innovation, assessment and support.

The researchers on this project are Sian Bayne (School of Education), Nicola Osborne (EDINA), Louise Connelly (Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies), Bea Alex (School of Informatics) and Claire Grover (School of Informatics). The project starts September 2016.

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Upcoming keynote talks

Posted on Feb 24, 2016 in news

I have a few keynotes lined up between now and the summer:

The 10th International Conference on Networked Learning is in May, and I am looking forward to presenting some new work on the theme of ‘Campus codespaces for networked learners’ in my keynote, as well as presenting a paper on the Manifesto for Teaching Online with Jen Ross. I think this is still the best conference around in our field at the moment.

In mid-March I’m looking forward to speaking to The Association for Learning Development in Higher Education, at which I will be talking about the Manifesto for Teaching Online.

And then in June I’m going back to Devon, my home-county, to address DARTS5: Discover Academic Research, Training and Support on the use of multimodal approaches to assessment as a way of embedding digital research practices in online teaching.


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Launch of the new Digital Education research centre

Posted on Oct 21, 2015 in news

Digital Education logo

Next month we are launching our new Centre, which will pull the research that we’re doing here in the Digital Education group into something more formal and identifiable. The web site is still in development, but we have our logo and a date for the launch party so are really pretty much good to go! The new centre is structured according to four main strands of work: Digital Cultures, Learning Analytics, Policy, and Children and Technology. Drop me a line if you want to know more, and I’ll post the web site once it’s up.

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Manifesto redux: re-working the Manifesto for Teaching Online for 2015

Posted on Oct 21, 2015 in news

manifesto point 1
We have just finalised the text for an updated version of our Manifesto: we found that the field had moved on a lot since the first version in 2011, and while the manifesto text has been remixed a fair bit by others since it first came out, we felt that as a teaching team we needed to revisit it. Over about 6 months the team teaching the MSc in Digital Education discussed and agreed the updated text, which is here:

Among other things, it takes account of the rise of ‘algorithmic culture’ and the computational turn, of movements in massiveness and openness, and of new ways of thinking about distance in education. Please give us feedback on the new version – we really welcome it.

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Our new MOOC with National Museums Scotland has launched

Posted on Oct 17, 2015 in news


We have been working in partnership with colleagues at the National Museum of Scotland to develop a new MOOC on Victorian Photography. This 5-week course accompanies the major summer exhibition at NMS on Photography: A Victorian Sensation, and is the first MOOC the NMS have offered. It’s been great working with our colleagues Alison Morrison-Low and Christine McLean on getting the course running: it’s offered on the Coursera platform as part of the University of Edinburgh suite of courses - you can see it and sign up here.

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