Welcome (back)!

A very warm welcome to all new and continuing students on our Digital Education programme!

We’re excited to kick-start the academic year 2018/19 this week, with orientation activities for new students starting our ‘An Introduction to Digital Environments for Learning’ (IDEL) course.

For continuing students taking ‘Education and Digital Culture’, ‘Assessment, Learning and Digital Education’, and ‘Learning Analytics: Process and Theory’ courses, these all begin next week on Monday 17 September.

Key dates for your diaries this year are:

Semester 1 – September 2018
Monday 10 September – Orientation week – Week 0
Monday 17 September – Start of semester – Week 1
Monday 3 December – Final week of teaching begins – Week 12

Semester 2 – January 2019
Monday 7 January – Orientation week – Week 0
Monday 14 January – Start of semester – Week 1
Monday 1 April – Final week of teaching begins – Week 12

Dissertations students will also be continuing with us of course – and if you are due to start your dissertation this semester, we will also be in touch with you in the next few days.

You’ll be hearing from course organisers directly, but I just want to take this opportunity to wish you all the best for your upcoming studies this year.  We’re looking forward to it!

– Phil Sheail (Programme Director) and the Digital Education teaching team

Handing over to Phil

Many thanks to everyone for very happy memories as a student, lecturer and then programme director on the MSc in Digital Education.  What a wonderful end to my formal career; it has been a great privilege.

Icon Forward Abstract Font Button Direction Arrow
Icon Forward Abstract Font Button Direction Arrow

From 1 August, Phil Sheail is the programme director.  She and I have been co-directors for the past couple of years and she has been a wonderful colleague to work with. Indeed, I couldn’t have managed without her. With almost 200 students on the programme it’s a demanding job, but there is a strong team to support the director and I know that Phil will be excellent in this role.

The team has also recently welcomed a new programme secretary: Victoria McIntyre, who has fitted in straight away.  She is another person with a busy role, until recently very ably fulfilled by Angie Hunter. Angie is now working full-time in our Centre for Research in Digital Education so we’re delighted with this too.

I’ll still be around as an honorary fellow. One of my retirement projects is to turn the summer school in academic writing into an open educational resource (OER). I hope to add this to the University of Edinburgh’s OER page, which is worth a look.  It’s also something you might want to contribute to yourself sometime – it already features work from digital ed students. Thanks to those who attended this year’s summer school for all the hard work and peer support.  I really enjoyed your contributions.

And so I hope there is more to come: watch this space!


Image: CC0 https://www.maxpixel.net/Icon-Forward-Abstract-Font-Button-Direction-Arrow-2181476

Summer School in Academic Writing

Opened_up_a_Pandora's_box28 May – 17 June 2018

A tutor-led project for Wider Themes in Digital Education.

The summer school is also open to any students on the Digital Education programme. If numbers are very high, priority will be given to Wider Themes in Digital Education students who will be aiming to add the work to their portfolios for credit.

The Summer school in academic writing will run from Monday 28 May to Sunday 17 June 2018. The course aims to help students to understand relationships between academic writing and their own assignments. Participants are encouraged to bring a theme from one of their assignments or a topic from one of their courses that they would like to write up as a paper for publication. Though largely practical, the course will briefly consider: the role of genre in academic writing; commercial influences and open access; academic practices; disciplinary differences; changes brought about by technology; values and standards in academic writing.  The course will run entirely online in Moodle, with visits to academic journal websites. Students will engage in a range of structured writing activities along with the tutor, who will also run weekly optional synchronous sessions in Collaborate or Skype.

There is no charge for the summer school.

For additional information, or to sign up for the summer school, please contact Christine at Christine.Sinclair@ed.ac.uk

Image: Pandora’s box opened.  Frederick Stuart Church [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Imagining the future of Digital Education: event on 23.02.2018

Mobile Campus posterMichael Gallagher and I wish to invite you to participate in an event we are delivering as part of the University’s Festival of Creative Learning. Across the course of an hour, we will bring together students, tutors, researchers and other colleagues to explore the nature and future of digital education. There is no fixed venue for this activity and we hope that our group will be made up of participants in a range of different geographical locations and settings (classroom, cafe, office, at home, in transit, and so on).

We will be using the (free) Telegram app for this activity, which will take place at 1pm (Edinburgh time) on Friday 23 February and will last for a maximum of one hour. Through the event we will be asking questions about how we should conceptualise ‘the campus’, whilst exploring the possibilities and challenges of synchronous mobile learning (topics that you are perfectly placed to comment on as a Digital Education student).

Further details about the activity, including how to register and download Telegram, can be found on Michael’s blog at: http://michaelseangallagher.org/the-mobile-campus-imagining-the-future-of-distributed-education-at-the-university-of-edinburgh/

As a side note, Michael and I are both graduates of the Digital Education programme and we’ve been having conversations about the nature of online education – as well as attempting to define ‘the campus’ – since 2009, so we’re really glad to have the opportunity to share this activity with you. We hope you can join us.

James Lamb, ESRC-funded Doctoral Researcher, Centre for Research in Digital Education


Workshop: designing Internet of Things technologies for the future ‘smart’ campus

6We’ve rescheduled a previously advertised workshop, and are once again looking for some ‘distance’ students to participate (via video link) in an upcoming workshop on the design of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies for education at the University of Edinburgh.

The event takes place on the 5th of February 2018 at 14:00-16:00 GMT

What is the university ‘campus’ where students watch video lectures from the local cafe, communicate over social networks, and study and a distance?

What if we could use real ‘things’– buildings, classrooms, chairs, everyday objects – to connect people in new ways across educational distances?

Join us to design the future ‘smart’ university, for a world where more people and ‘things’ are connected. In this workshop, you will get the chance to learn about IoT technologies, and let rip with some creative designs. No practical work with technologies is involved, and no previous experience with coding or making is required – just bring along some imagination.

You will be joining a group of campus-based students, who will be tasked with designing ways of connecting with ‘distance’ students. You, as a ‘distance’ student, will be tasked with designing ways of connecting with ‘campus’ activity.

Let your creative genius loose as we imagine technologies that can turn data-streams into real ‘things’ in our educational environments: design a soundscape that gives you a ‘sense’ of the Edinburgh campus; invent some lighting that shows you how busy the campus is at lunchtime; dream up a library space that broadcasts what your fellow students are reading!

This workshop is about pushing the boundaries about what is possible with technology, but it is also about asking what data should be collected and broadcast. Come and share your views on issues of privacy and surveillance: what kinds of student data should remain private? How can we protect students in a future of increased data collection?

The best ideas and designs will get prizes!

For more information, email: jeremy.knox@ed.ac.uk or Michael.S.Gallagher@ed.ac.uk