Edinburgh Futures Institute

Posted on Sep 11, 2017 in news


This year I’m going to be quite heavily involved with the new Edinburgh Futures Institute, which will be doing new kinds of interdisciplinary research to tackle complex societal problems, bring the social sciences and humanities to bear on data science, and develop a whole new portfolio of postgraduate and undergraduate programmes to teach students about current pressing and critical themes.

The EFI will be based in the Old Royal Infirmary building – for those that know Edinburgh, this faces out onto the beautiful Meadows near the centre of town – and will make some truly exciting new links between work we do at the university, local communities, businesses and people, as well as with students, academics, practitioners and artists from around the globe.

Read More

Teaching this semester: Digital Futures for Learning

Posted on Sep 11, 2017 in news

I’m looking forward to this semester’s teaching on our MSc in Digital Education – between now and Christmas I will be co-tutoring with the brilliant Jen Ross on the Digital Futures for Learning Course, which takes an ‘open curriculum’ approach to asking students to consider, critique, plan and play-out the future of learning. We’ll be teaching in the open on this one, with the course site opening up in around 3 weeks. The course also links to a new project I am currently leading at Edinburgh – the Near Future Teaching project – of which more later….

Read More

New project: Research for Emergency Aftershock Response

Posted on Mar 8, 2017 in news

I’m delighted to be part of an exciting new project led by colleagues Mark Naylor and John McCloskey in the School of Geosciences.

Research for Emergency Aftershock Response is aiming to develop methods for getting information and support quickly to earthquake struck communities, in order to help prevent deaths from aftershocks, which can be more deadly than the actual quakes. The project will scope and begin to build and research ways of building community engagement in earthquake education, and to rapid provision of data on aftershock to NGOs and humanitarian agencies.

The team working on this is drawn from across the geosciences, data science, history, cultural geography and education, and we are working with partners including the British Geological Survey and Concern Worldwide. It’s funded by the NERC, ESRC, AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund and there’s more information and contact details here.

Read More

A new web site for the MSc in Digital Education

Posted on Aug 16, 2016 in news

hare pngWe’re proud to have a new web site for our Masters programme: in particular, we’ve worked hard with our students to pull together a showcase of outstanding student work, and also to highlight the terrific video produced by James Lamb for our 2016 Manifesto for Teaching Online.

We’ve updated all our course information, insights from our alumni, and more on our teaching methods too.

We welcome queries from potential students – drop my colleague Hamish Macleod a line if you want to find out more (contact details are on the web site).

Read More

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…

Read More

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.

Read More