Imperial staff discussing EdTech

The College's Library Services team was on hand to discuss online reading lists and video resources for students

College education technology teams hosted an inspiring exhibition demonstrating how technology can be incorporated into learning and teaching.

Attendees from across the Imperial community met in the Digital Learning Hub to share effective and enjoyable teaching techniques that can be delivered through educational technology, as part of the College's plans to support students’ learning.

Education Technology (EdTech) teams from all Faculties and Library Services were on hand to help colleagues explore new techniques and approaches to technology-enhanced teaching. The College's Faculty 'EdTech' teams (Engineering, Natural Sciences, Medicine, and the Business School) and Digital Learning Hub are working with Departments on a wide range of projects to make the classroom even more interactive and collaborative in future by working alongside staff and students to introduce the effective technology into their teaching and learning.

At the event the Imperial community learned about technology that is being used to deliver assessment, active learning techniques, visualisations and learning support. Resources from the event are available online for members of the community that were unable to attend.

The showcase proved "a really excellent opportunity to bring us together" said Hailey Smith, Project Manager (Learning and Teaching Strategy): "There’s a lot of collaboration, and amazing innovations, but they can be quite hard to access if you don’t know the right people. So [the exhibition] is an opportunity to promote the fantastic work that’s going on, and to reach people that may not have seen this work before and would like to use it in their teaching.

EdTech support for teaching, learning and assessment

FoNS Principal Learning Technologist, Moira Sarsfield, highlighted how the event showed that approaches to developing, delivering and analysing higher education teaching are changing. Moira said: "It’s really amazing the buzz there is now around teaching – there’s much more interest in thinking about new techniques and doing things differently."

"I’ve been at Imperial for a long time, and there’s been a step change in interest and activity, which is fantastic. This is supported by the funding and the resources that we now have, such as the bigger Ed Tech teams – but also that people feel empowered to take risks and approach things differently because it’s now part of our culture."

Focusing on the student experience

One of the main aims of all of the College's EdTech teams is to improve the learning experience of Imperial's students. If the teaching community are to achieve this then there is a recognition that the student journey needs to be more closely mapped at the university. Education Insight and Evaluation Analyst, Dr Helen Walkey, is undertaking research using grade data from individual departments, to analyse how students are progressing from year to year of their undergraduate studies, to help Departments consider whether those patterns of progression are what they expect.

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Dr Walkey said: "We see different patterns across different years and departments [which] helps to inform those questions and get people thinking about how their modules and their programmes are designed … [we’re] also looking at student demographics to see whether there are particular groups that follow particular patterns, so whether there are gender differences or differences that relate to prior education."

Small steps, big results

Katie Stripe, Senior Learning Designer in the Faculty of Medicine, discussed the varied opportunities presented by learning platforms. The Attributes and Aspirations (AA) module has been under development for a number of years and is applicable for students across a range of disciplines.

Katie said: "The AA module, which launched as a pilot this academic year, is also piloting the use of a new piece of software from Blackboard called Training and Development Manager which offers some exciting new features that could have a wide ranging impact for the delivery of non-curriculum courses across Imperial."

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