Category Teaching

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 […]

Innovation! Innovation! Innovation!

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 […]

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.  […]

Join us for a conversation about assessment and feedback!

Over the past couple of years, we’ve been involved in organising a reading group for colleagues here at the University of Edinburgh who are interested in assessment and feedback.  The reading group was developed to critique literature and to think about new ideas that could be applied in our settings at the University.  And it’s […]

Tutorial teaching: Some Hints and Tips

This post first appeared as part of the Pubs and Publications blog site in the College for Humanities and Social Sciences and is reprinted with their permission.  You can find the original post here. For the past eighteen months, I’ve been working in the Institute for Academic Development as part of a team supporting tutors […]

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 […]

Improving reflective and critical thinking on a postgraduate taught programme

Before I worked at the university I worked in a Further Education college in Manchester in Wythenshawe, one of the largest council house estates in Europe. It was a bit of a shock to find myself at the foot of Arthur’s Seat and my first introduction to post-structuralism made me take up smoking again, temporarily. […]

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 […]

‘Teachable moments’: creating active learning in exams

For Simon Bates one of the conundrums of scholarship on student learning and engagement is the limited attention paid to exams.  Why is it that we spend so much time thinking about how to promote active learning in the classroom, but very little on how we might similarly engage students during exams?  This was the […]