Where did it start?
Since starting to use computers in Junior School, computers have always been part of my life. It seems strange to say that now, given that technology is embedded in pretty much everything we do, but in the 1980s it was quite unusual!
Since starting to teach in Higher Education, I’ve come to believe that embracing technology can help us engage the students in their learning, and widen participation to those students who aren’t available to attend traditional face-to-face lectures on a daily basis. Examples of some of the video material I’ve produced can be found on the “Videos in Teaching” page.
Use in Distance-learning
My interest in e-learning was vital to our success in delivering MSc courses for the Modernising Scientific Careers NHS training programme. Our bid led to us being ranked first out of all Universities that applied for the courses and they have been running since 2011 (following the pilot scheme in 2009). These are distance-learning courses, delivered using iPads and an online virtual learning environment (Moodle).
Having been a student with the Open University, I am aware of some of the challenges presented by this type of learning and aim to address these in my teaching.
Using technology doesn’t have to wait until students have formally started their course. I was recognised with a Lord Dearing Award for Teaching and Learning for my work in providing electronic background learning to MSc students prior to the start of their course; something I know is valued by both students and staff. This system also provides a discussion forum for students to chat and get to know more about each other before they meet at the start of the course, making them feel more at ease by the time they come to Nottingham.
This is followed by using similar approaches to provide extra information and an additional way of learning during the course:
- Video overviews of specialist software for students new to biological databases
- Video demonstrations of common laboratory techniques address student diversity and limited lab time
This poster outlines some of the strategies I’m using to embed technology into my teaching, with the aim of increasing student engagement and deep learning. It was presented at the MELSIG meeting in 2015.