A post-graduation get together…in glorious analogue!

To coincide with this year’s summer graduation ceremony on Monday 4 July, Sharon and I would like to propose an informal get together of e-learners, in Edinburgh.

This is open to anyone who is able to make it – graduates, continuing students like Sharon and myself, course staff, alumni, lurkers, digital natives (and immigrants), newbies, posthumans, cyborgs, e-hangers-on, virtual groupies – basically anyone involved in the course who would like to meet up…deep intake of breath…face-to-face!

So, if you’re going to be in or around Edinburgh on 4 July and would like to meet the ‘Class of 2011’ and other e-learners, it would be fantastic to see you. Other than meeting soon after the graduation ceremony, we don’t have any firm plans as yet as it will be shaped by the number of folk planning to come along. It’s reasonable to assume however that it will involve drink (alcoholic or non alcoholic), polite conversation and perhaps food.

If you’re interested e-mail me at james.lamb@ed.ac.uk, and Sharon and I will keep you posted on what’s happening. Or even better, suggest what you’d like us to organise!


P.S. If you live in the beautiful south (of England) be sure to scroll down to read about a meet up in London during June.

Get together in London

Hello all
Nicola Ashton and I are planning an end of semester get together in London on 15th June at 5.30 ish and have picked Pizza Express in Baker Street as:
1) more or less equidistant between our two respective main line stations
2) a place I may have a chance of finding without getting lost…
(that’s the theory anyway)
…after some agonising over this, in the end we’ve just picked a random date we can both do and hope that it may be OK for one or two others. Even if it’s only for a quick drink, it would be great to meet some fellow Southerners and say hello!
This is where we’re going:

If anyone’s able to get to London and join us that evening that would be great.

You can contact Nicola at: nicola@moleproductions.com
and me at sallyjhird@yahoo.com


Test how much you know about the reliability of memory

The following was just posted on the British Psychological Society’s “Research Digest”.  I thought that those with an interest in learning might want to test themselves on some questions about the way in which memory works.  These are questions related to the area of “eyewitness testomy”, but you can also have fun thinking about how these questions would translate into insights about the educational context.
I have given the questions (below) in this post, and will follow up with the correct answers in a comment in a couple of days.  You could, of course, just Goggle for the original post, to find the answers.  But where is the fun (and learning) in that?  For information, I did rather well.  🙂

Post begins :

In the latest in a series of investigations into how much people know about eye witness memory, Svein Magnussen and Annika Melinder have compiled 12 questions about memory and put them to 857 licensed members of the Norwegian Psychological Association. The correct answers were based on the latest consensus findings in the field of memory research. The Norwegian psychologists scored an average of just 63 per cent correct, no better than achieved by Norwegian judges (63 per cent) in prior research, and only slightly ahead of the general public (they scored 56 per cent on average).

This blindspot for understanding memory isn’t a uniquely Norwegian problem. Past research has established that US and Chinese judges, US law students and undergrads all have limited knowledge about the factors that affect eye witness testimony.

The findings have serious implications for the understanding of memory processes in court, especially the limitations of eye witness accounts. Magnussen and Melinder said their findings support the official guidance of the British Psychological Society’s Research Board that being a fully credentialed psychologist does not by itself make someone a memory expert. “A memory expert is someone whose expertise is recognised,” states the 2010 version of the report. “Recognition of relevant expertise should usually be in the form of outputs that are publicly verifiable, for example, peer-reviewed publications, other publications, and presentations at professional meetings. Of these, peer-reviewed publications are the most important.”

So how would you have fared at the memory quiz? Here are the test items in shortened form:

  • 1 ) Is a person’s confidence in their memories a good predictor of the accuracy of those memories?
  • 2 ) Is it true that eye witness testimony reflects not just what a witness originally saw and heard, but also other information obtained later on from the police, other witnesses etc?
  • 3 ) Is a witness’s ability to recall minor details about a crime an indication of the accuracy of their identification of the perpetrator?
  • 4 ) Does intense stress at the time of an event impair the accuracy of the memory of that event?
  • 5 ) Can their attitudes and expectations affect a person’s memory of an event?
  • 6 ) Does the presence of a weapon tend to impair a witness’s memory for a perpetrator’s face?
  • 7 ) Does most forgetting tend to occur soon after an event?
  • 8 ) Do children have better memories for events than adults?
  • 9 ) How far back into their childhood can most people remember?
  • 10 ) Are traumatic memories from childhood that are “recovered” in therapy (having never before been recalled) likely to be false?
  • 11 ) Are dramatic events more or less likely to be forgotten?
  • 12 ) Is it possible for a perpetrator to have forgotten their criminal act because they’ve suppressed that specific memory?

Postgraduate Experience Survey

You may be aware of the Postgraduate Experience Survey directed at PG students in (well, you know what I mean in your case) the UK.


I gather that you will be receiving an email reminder about this survey, encouraging you to respond to it, from the School of Education Office.  Please do consider taking the time to make a response.  Your participation is valuable to the School – in reaching its target return rates – but it is particularly important that students who are participating in a range of different modes, including online distance, add their views to the picture.

Course enrolment now online

You can now sign up online for your course choices for next semester. To do this, just follow the Course Application Form link on the left in the Hub, or access the enrollment form here. We are no longer doing course enrolment by post!

You can see which courses are available in your Programme Handbook, or here on our web site.

If you want more info about any of the courses, take a look at the descriptors on the web site, check out the Course Handbooks available from the Hub, or contact the course leader.

Please enrol for your choice of course(s) by Friday 12 August – earlier if you want to be absolutely sure of your choice, as some courses will have limited numbers.