Category Reflective commentary

Learning with Lego

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 […]

Quectures: Learning by questions

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 […]

The Neuroscience of Learning

As teachers and learners we know that the human brain is a wonderful thing, but many of us are a bit vague about how it actually works. So it was great to have the opportunity to spend a whole day in the company of Patricia Riddell, Professor of Applied Neuroscience at the University of Reading.  […]

Where is the classroom?

This may be an obvious question.   ‘It is inside in a nice warm room, filled with tables and chairs and fancy multi-media equipment’, I hear the majority of you cry. But really is it? Or do you learn more by experiencing and doing? As an academic in the Earth Sciences, our teaching methods are varied […]

Delivering excellence in teaching

Teaching is firmly on the agenda at the moment.  The publication of the Green Paper, paving the way for a Teaching Excellence Framework, has ignited conversations about what we mean by excellence in teaching, and how we might demonstrate this in practice.  Here at the University of Edinburgh – where Senior Vice-Principal Professor Charlie Jeffery […]

What does good teaching mean? 5 minute teaching videos

My name is Ellen Spaeth, and I’ve been working on an exciting project at the Institute for Academic Development for the last few months.  I’ve been interviewing academic staff about their approaches to teaching and Laura McLean, from the College web team, has been filming the interviews.  Together we’ve been working with the recorded footage […]

The Humane University: Measuring the immeasurable

Last week I attended an event called ‘The Humane University’ at the University of Edinburgh.  The event is not related to my PhD thesis.  My attendance at this event in not a measureable output that my tutors could appraise.  So what was the event about and why would a hard-pressed, under-pressure and busy PhD student […]

The power of grumpiness: everyday sexism

Last week I discovered the value of grumpiness.  Prickly and dyspeptic with tiredness, I dropped my bag of papers and books all over the floor in the Main Library.  As I bent, grumbling, to pick them up I caught sight of a portion of text.  It was part of a display commemorating female scholars, leaders […]

Creating a University

Omolabake Fakunle In the book ‘What Are Universities For?’ Stefan Collini cautions that it is difficult to come up with a definition that captures the complexity of the university as a single institution.  His treatise briefly outlines the history of universities in the UK from the 19th to the 21st century but dwells, as might […]

Thinking and Writing about Writing

Fayaz Alibhai  It’s a wet and gloomy morning as I walk across the Meadows in the general direction of Arthur’s Seat towards the Engine Shed.  A desperate Twitter plea for info on a writing retreat not far from Edinburgh some weeks earlier had drawn a swift and kindly response from the Institute for Academic Development […]