By Raka Tavashmi Seven years ago as a young psychologist I walked away from academia; my work felt lifeless, dry words and data, no feeling or soul. As if I had left some hearty parts of myself somewhere secret and couldn’t bring it in to work, what a shame. I then started learning about health […]

“Chris and Sue are Green Party members but that doesn’t mean they necessarily live sustainably; remember how people with a ‘green identity’ in that study were actually most likely to fly?” “Yeah, but they’re also Buddhists so they probably don’t eat meat, which is high carbon.” Students in my new class are energetically discussing in […]

One of the great things about our students’ association, EUSA, is its commitment to affirming and celebrating the fantastic teaching that takes place here at the University of Edinburgh.  This is recognised in the annual Teaching Awards in which students are invited to nominate their best teachers in a range of different categories.  Shortlists are […]

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of giving a talk entitled ‘It’s good to talk  –  especially in lectures!’ at Moray House, School of  Education. The presentation focused on my research into the interactions that take place during active learning lectures in physics. To my surprise both the approaches that I’ve used and the […]

Lego bricks are a constant presence in my life.  I’ve nurtured a love for Lego bricks in my kids and live with the consequences!  Lego bricks and creations litter my home; Christmases and birthdays involve hours of constructing models; on rainy weekends, hours are spent building.  And in the last year I’ve also started using Lego in […]

Recently I took part in an unusual event at Queen Margaret University that drew on Open Space Technology.  Despite the name, this is a delightfully low-tech approach that draws on the potential for groups of motivated people to organise themselves around a meaningful theme.  It usually starts with an open invitation from the facilitator to […]

How do we make higher education meaningful?  And how do we ensure that our graduates have the life skills that are so important to prospective employers?  For Scott Wurdinger the best way to do this is through experiential learning, and he was kind enough to come to the University of Edinburgh earlier this month to […]

In universities, we often think about equality and diversity at a relatively high level, for example university policy (at Edinburgh, the ‘Equality and Diversity Strategy’, and the ‘Accessible and Inclusive Learning Policy’ or departmental or School codes of practice, which are usually implemented by senior teaching teams.  Diversifying the curriculum has been highlighted as a […]

A student (we shall call him Homer) emailed me a few weeks ago saying that he had not attended my lecture and was watching the video but could not make out what I had said between minutes 37 and 40. Could I please tell him? I was perturbed for quite a few reasons, one of […]

One of my favourite New Yorker cartoons shows two disgruntled-looking dogs walking along the road. One says to the other “It’s always, ‘Sit!’ ‘Stay!’ ‘Heel!’ – Never ‘think’, ‘innovate,’ ‘be yourself.’” Unlike the New Yorker dogs, university teachers are constantly being urged to innovate, innovate, innovate, but this often makes us feel equally disgruntled. We […]