Blog Archives


A CEMP production! The Centre for Excellence in Media Practice (CEMP) twitter: @CEMPBU and my ‘home from home’ for technology enhanced learning pedagogic research hosted an event to support staff as they think forward about planning online teaching for the autumn.

Huge thanks committee organisers and session facilitators: exemplary Chair Dr Karen Fowler-Watt who prepped us all for our sessions, award winning journalist Miriam Phillips ; and Dr Salvatore Scifo who is liaising with our management teams to feed back the outcomes of the sessions.

Organised by Prof Julian McDougall and Associate Professor Anna Feigenbaum, co-directors of the Research Centre, 54 staff from across BU took part as we shared research and co-created ideas around 4 themes: large undergraduate lectures, smaller multiple seminar groups, lab productions and smaller groups of students  of post grad students.

Prof Julian McDougall started by setting out some key principles, before we were joined by John Potter, our visiting Fellow from UCL, who started with a great quote from his latest book:

Transitioning from offline to online teaching and learning has long been found by its earliest researchers and exponents to be complex, problematic and evolutionary, though it can be done by managing the unrealistic expectations that you will doing substantially the same thing with time, space ad material artefacts as you did in face-to-face teaching.

Williamson, Eynon and Potter (2020)

Key principles: the CEMP Research workshop June 2020

1 teach through the screen, not to the screen. Your teaching space is now a multiplicity of places. A different space, maybe a third space

2. More than a pivot. Mindset – forget we have a campus, think about how the campus limits what we do with our students. Shift to OPEN education?

3. Flip the default to asynchronous, real time as the supplement

4. Dynamic practices – the direction of flow is not about static content being delivered but about open, agentive and productive spaces for both learners and educators

5. Critical pedagogy of the inexpert, porous expertise – real co-creation, of learning design. We ‘own’ the curriculum but not the social practices of teaching and learning

@NicolePonsford  joined us, #edtech #TechforGood talking about how to influence and engage audiences, not just our internal student audiences, but far wider, through social media. Her work as co-founder of the Gender Equality Collective (GEC) is an inspiring example of collaborations.

Sharing practice respectfully via Zoom

The ‘Learning from Experience’ slot:

Dr Mark Readman talked about a decade of experience with running the Bournemouth EdD in Media Practice online.


Prof Debbie Holley talking about how theory underpinned the approach to scaling online learning in Nursing ‘’in a hurry’. Her talk, co-created with Learning Technologist John Moran ‘Using technology as a mediator:  The Vygotsky ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ (ZPD) revisited’ pulled together the resources from their combined work, now a best practice case study (please contact John or Debbie for a copy if external to BU)

A short break was followed by:

Best practice with designing for engaging and communicating with students using our tools in Brightspace  (BU LTs Tracey Webb and Dave Hunt) who talked through recent research on Zoom by students, and shared their experiences of discipline based practice

We all then went into breakout rooms to co-create a padlet around 4 scenarios, before re-convening and having a concluding discussion.

The internal BU documents will be shared through Sharepoint, and this includes worked examples of how to approach different kinds of learning scenarios; please contact individuals for further information on any of the presentations.

Great to work with such fabulous colleagues!

Useful resources:

EU Integration projects…..


Have returned from a 3 day meeting during which time I realised exactly these projects are called ‘integrating projects’ (IP) ! This time I met colleagues working on the technology side of the project – extremely smart developers who are at the cutting edge and creating online tools to scaffold learning in workplace. The showcase was amazing, demonstrating early prototypes of some tools and more developed versions of others. Our ‘Help Seeking’ tool prototype was part of a series of integration meetings, and the preparation work by John, Patricia and I on Vygotsky and how his theories of Zones of Proximal Development, Temporal Contexts and ‘More capable peer’ could feed into the tool specification were well received, and will also feature in subsequent Social Semantic Server/Help Seeking tool discussions.

The tools developed will all generate data, and the ‘big data numbers’ generated will be processing by the Social Semantic Server (SSS) team. They analyse the data and apply algorithms to enable different functions to be communicated back to the user. The larger and more active the user data set is, the more accurate responses can be fed back to the user. All the LearningLayers coding materials are Opensource and available from the Open Design Library http://odl.learning-layers.eu

Running alongside our ‘theory camp’ started to address the reviewer comments about a more cohesive approach to the pedagogies underpinning informal learning in the workplace. The following days saw the two strands weave together in a set of workshops as teams drawn from across the project integrated theory and practice. Each different theoretical perpesctive had a 5 minute talk with 5 minutes of clarification, all filmed, and available for the wider project team to refer back to as work continues. See the @learninglayers twitter stream (via project website www.learninglayers.eu) for my short tweet summaries of different theories. Groupwork across the three emergent themes/frameworks were the focus of the final day, before an excellent plenary, chaired by Tobias Ley pulled the work together and set the framework for the Consortium meeting in Bremen in June.

Socially RWTH looked after us really well – they had their wonderful  Masters and Phd students on hand to assist; arranged a fanstastic  tour of Aachen cathedral and the old town after work one evening; and hosted an excellent dinner at the ‘Goldenen Schwan’. A highlight of the trip for me was the invitation on the final afternoon to visit the RWTH ‘Virtual Augmented Reality Cave’ and having an immersive 3D tour of the reconstruction of the Afghan Bamiyan Buddha. This incredible artefact was destroyed by the Taliban in 2001 – details of the significance of this loss detailed in the UNESCO report http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/208 and RWTH team have led on the reconstruction in 3D. (see separate posting ‘The Bamiyan Buddha Augmented Reality Reconstructionfor further information)

Communication EU style


This week I have been reflecting on my EU project sabbatical and the ways in which communications work.

So its bi-monthly report time on the EU project. My expectations of huge amounts of documentation that would take weeks to compile not realised! Obviously can’t share exactly what each partner has done, but all of the updates were simply added onto a page of the EU project wiki. I am starting to find my way around the different communications for different contexts.

Our Aachen theory camp all set up and organised – all done! Led by scientific officer Tobias Ley and a shared agenda developed once again via shared documents on the wiki, and each contributor then adds a wiki page behind the link. Professor John Cook, Researcher Dr Patricia Santos-Rodriguez and I are contributing and have put together our work on Vygotsky and scaffolding – last week was a ‘week with Vygotsky!’ All the ‘theory’ documents were collated into one pdf and circulated, and a DOODLE poll used to agree a time for a pre-workshop discussion.

The LearningLayers Open Design Library featured in my webinar talk last Thursday – available from the ALT Repository at: http://repository.alt.ac.uk/2344/ Thanks to Patricia Santos-Rodriguez for writing the case study.

The LearningLayers newsletter is now available with news, events and updates on the App development: http://goo.gl/wlFQig