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6 March 2024

4 minutes to read

Co-designing marking criteria with students for non-standard assessments

If we want students to know what is expected of them in an assessment it is critical to have a set of marking criteria that make transparent how they will be assessed. This is even more important in the case of non-standard assessments. This post describes how I get students to co-design…

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14 February 2024

3 minutes to read

Empowering students with innovative assessments: Decolonising medicine

As educators, we must continue to explore new approaches to assessment that not only assess student learning but also cultivate a deeper understanding of the complex issues at the heart of decolonisation. In this blog post, I will focus on the three innovative assessments that have helped to transform the learning experience…

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14 February 2024

3 minutes to read

How we designed an authentic assessment for online learners in Educational Psychology

Authentic assessment refers to a wide variety of educational and instructional techniques focused on connecting what students are taught to real-world issues, problems, and applications, mirroring the complexities and ambiguities of real life. In this blog post we will share how Rebecca Georgis (Module Leader), Darren Moore (Co-Programme Director) and Mike Clapp (Senior…

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14 February 2024

4 minutes to read

In pursuit of pukka assessment: bringing together Generation Z and Generative AI

Generative AI promises to transform the world of work. Graduates with skills in ethical and proactive use of such tools are in great demand. Digital Technologies and the Future of Work is an online module for undergraduate students from across the university. It was developed in 2018 as an Education Incubator Project,…

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14 February 2024

3 minutes to read

Rethinking assessment in the face of AI – example of an in-year change

Since the launch of open-access Generative AI tools at the end of 2022, educators across the globe have had to stop and question their assessment methods, responding to the potential threat of academic misconduct from these tools. Whilst it is not realistic or advisable to simply return to in-person invigilated exams or…

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14 February 2024

3 minutes to read

Assessment as learning in Medical Sciences

Students on the second year, 30-credit module ‘Disease, diagnostics and therapeutics’ (CSC2012), engage with a range of formative and summative assessment tasks that help them develop their assessment literacy and evaluative judgement. By introducing structured, peer-assessed group and individual tasks that culminate in the creation of learning resources, module convenors Dr Alex…

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31 January 2024

3 minutes to read

Authentic assessment – video creation as an assessment

Written essays play a significant role in the university assessment ecosystem, but are challenging to mark at scale and when overused don’t generally offer much added value to the student. When we developed a new module for our 2nd year cohort (ESS2222 Motor Control), we took the opportunity to try something new…

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10 January 2024

4 minutes to read

‘Melanin Matters’ – A student-led skin diversity project

A group of Exeter medical students established ‘Melanin Matters’ to expand the dialogue surrounding ethnic diversity in medicine, with a view to facilitate curriculum change which better reflects the global patient population. Project Lead, Natasha, shares how it all started and the next steps below. Why was ‘Melanin Matters’ initiated? For too…

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13 December 2023

4 minutes to read

Gamifying review sessions: helping students integrate their learning in a supportive, enjoyable environment

Student engagement is a hot topic in education at the moment, and gamification is one way we can create effective and engaging learning environments for our students. Gamification can also be an excellent way to consolidate learning and enable multiple topics to be tested in a synoptic way. We’ve done this by…

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6 December 2023

2 minutes to read

Embedding professional skills development into module/programme design

Developing students’ professional skills is crucial for their career readiness. But how can educators integrate those practical abilities into academic coursework? Nicky Thomas, Senior Lecturer in Tax and Accounting, and Fiona Hartley, Employability and Careers Consultant, led an interactive Eduexe workshop tackling this challenge. They demonstrated easy, engaging techniques to build students’…

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29 November 2023

3 minutes to read

Becoming an expert learner

Professor Caroline Keenan, Director of Education and Student Experience and Associate Professor of Law and Legal Education, led an interesting project on helping students become expert learners. Here’s an overview of the session and project goals. University learning can feel fragmented and overwhelming to students. There are many support services, but students…

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22 November 2023

3 minutes to read

Taking account of student experiences of eco-grief and eco-anxiety when incorporating sustainable development goals into teaching

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many changes in higher education, including a greater focus on online learning. However, another key trend has been growing efforts to incorporate the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into university curricula. This reflects a wider recognition that higher education institutions have a crucial role to play in…

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15 November 2023

3 minutes to read

Tailoring employability provision for international students

Moving to a new country for university can be tough. You’re far from home in an unfamiliar environment and you need to figure out your career too! International students face extra challenges with employability and job search. As universities, we need to step up and provide the right support. At the University…

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8 November 2023

2 minutes to read

Steps for creating quality online modules

Online courses have gained a somewhat negative perception over the years. Some believe that they lack the quality and credibility of traditional in-person education. Students often see them as boring or isolating compared to in-person classes. But a small team at the university decided it was time to shake things up. Team…

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1 November 2023

2 minutes to read

Scaffolding reflective writing for undergraduate students

Reflective writing can be a powerful tool to improve student learning outcomes in university courses. However, many first-year students lack the skills to write reflectively. This post outlines an approach taken by Dr Rossana Guttilla to scaffold reflective writing for first-year management students. First-year management students often struggle with reflective writing assignments….

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25 October 2023

2 minutes to read

The impact of thinking fast and slow on teaching and learning strategies in mathematics

Professors Layal Hakim and Peter Ashwin recently ran an insightful session exploring how the two different thinking systems proposed by psychologist Daniel Kahneman affect learning maths. Their talk, based on Kahneman’s acclaimed book ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’, provided some great takeaways for engaging students in deeper thinking. The Two Systems of Thinking…

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17 October 2023

2 minutes to read

Embedding wellbeing from the get-go: exploring best practices in teaching that promote student wellbeing

The pandemic has put student mental health under the spotlight. With all the changes in higher education, how do we make sure wellbeing stays front and centre? This post reflects on research and practice around whole university approaches to wellbeing and shares some practical strategies for embedding wellbeing into teaching. Why Focus…

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11 October 2023

3 minutes to read

Using unique data sets for online assessments

Online assessments provide flexibility but also opportunities for misconduct. Some reports estimate that 1 in 6 students have cheated (Wonkhe, 2022), others suggest the figure is 1 in 14, with 3 in 5 engaging in poor academic conduct (THE, 2022). This cheating often involves prohibited collaboration in non-invigilated settings. It is a…

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4 October 2023

2 minutes to read

Top tips for teaching a large cohort

Professor Beverley Hawkins, Associate Dean for Education in the University of Exeter Business Schools, shares her top tips for teach large cohorts of students – and keeping them engaged! Embrace diversity: Large cohorts bring together students from different backgrounds and experiences. Take advantage of this diversity by creating opportunities for students to…

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28 September 2023

3 minutes to read

We need to talk about Schrödinger

In light of recent revelations about the personal life of one of the most infamous quantum physicists, it is time we re-measured Schrödinger’s legacy? [Content warning: sexual assault] In an Irish Times article from Dec 11 2021, Joe Humphreys brought the personal life of one of the most famous names in quantum…

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25 September 2023

3 minutes to read

Employability 3.0.….2…..1…..Job!

Job hunting can be a stressful activity – just ask any recent graduate. The interview, or several. The assessment centre, or several. The application form, or several. Endless hours spent aligning personal skills with job descriptions and personal specifications. Labour economist Guy Standing refers to this activity as ‘work-for-labour’, an umbrella term…

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6 September 2023

3 minutes to read

CATE award for Grand Challenges team!

The Grand Challenges team was award a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence by AdvanceHE in 2023. The Grand Challenges (GC) team was formed to facilitate inclusive, supportive and creative environments for students to explore ‘wicked’ problems (Rittel and Webber, 1973) and develop their employability. Hosted by the Career Zone, the team promotes…

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23 August 2023

2 minutes to read

Developing assessment skills awareness

Colleagues from across the Medical Sciences programme, led by Dr David MacDonald, Dr Dominic Wiredu Boakye, Dr Shalinee Dhayal and Dr Hannah Welters, support students within Academic Tutor Group sessions and activities to develop their academic and professional skills, including their awareness of assessment skills. As part of core modules in Year 1…

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21 August 2023

3 minutes to read

Alternative assessment methods

In 2022, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) in Exeter presented a collection of 14 alternative blue plaques created by students who were part of the Global Lives: Multicultural Geographies module taught by Professors Nicola Thomas and Ian Cook. The module’s assessment method aims to explore the persistence of colonial ‘race’ relations…

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21 August 2023

2 minutes to read

PTA training and support for marking and assessment

To support central provision provided through LTHE and APP, Classics and Ancient History conducts an annual marking training session for new academic colleagues (including PTAs) and encourages existing teaching staff members to attend. The session includes sample marking exercises for different assessment types, such as essays and exams, representing different levels of achievement. This usually…

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21 August 2023

< 1 minute to read

Helping students engage with feedback

Dr. Caitlin Kight, Lecturer in Education, has developed a video case study on how the Graduate School of Education helps students engage with feedback.   You can also access this case study as an infographic (below), PowerPoint slides and download a transcript of the video.

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15 August 2023

< 1 minute to read

Making and Feedback Guidelines in Biosciences

To improve feedback in Biosciences Streatham, Dr. Alan Brown and Katie Solomon introduced marking and feedback guidelines for 2021/2022. By setting out expectations for feedback, the guidelines aim to standardise the quality of feedback, and to provide a clear framework against which moderation of feedback can be performed. It is not necessarily…

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15 August 2023

2 minutes to read

Preparing students for assessment in Mathematics and Statistics

Dr Layal Hakim, Senior Lecturer and Co-Director of Education and Student Experience in Mathematics and Statistics, shares some effective approaches for supporting students with exams and assessments. Different forms of assessment […] help students to build a strong knowledge base in mathematics whilst developing their understanding of the assessment methods that work…

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15 August 2023

2 minutes to read

Preparing students for assessment in Politics

Dr Owen Thomas, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, has shared his approach to preparing students for assessments on two different modules in Politics. In the Masters module ‘State Crime’ (POLM231), students write a 4000-word research essay (worth 80% of the module). This summative task is prepared by the submission of a formative research essay proposal, for…

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15 August 2023

< 1 minute to read

Familiarising students with marking criteria

Assessment in History makes significant use of essays, and module convenors in History are encouraged to dedicate one lecture to essay-writing skills. The following exercise, carried out in such a lecture, works to familiarise students with the third-year marking criteria (available in the History Student Handbook, pp. 39-46); it aims to demystify the…

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14 August 2023

4 minutes to read

Podcasting to build learning communities

Helping students to feel part of a community was been one of the main challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Researcher Development Manager, I worked with postgraduate researchers (PGRs), who already experienced high levels of isolation as they are not part of a teaching cohort. They do not have timetabled sessions with…

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6 September 2022

6 minutes to read

Transforming education to transform the world

In its Strategy 2030, the University of Exeter has pledged ‘to use the power of education and research to create a sustainable, healthy, and socially just future’. This goal requires the collective commitment of staff, students, and partners across the breadth of our activities and initiatives.

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23 August 2022

3 minutes to read

Delivering world-leading primary care knowledge in Rwanda

Following the successful development of its first global online course in primary care, the College of Medicine and Health have gone one step further: delivering the course on site in Rwanda. Professor Alex Harding, Dr Rob Daniels, and Tina Teague travelled to Rwanda in June to deliver the five-day course.

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26 July 2022

5 minutes to read

The Great (Digital) Escape: creating virtual escape rooms using Microsoft OneNote

Rachel Sloan and Dr Lisa Alberici are well known at the University of Exeter for their dedication to supporting student learning and their passion for puzzles. Here they explain the wonderful world of virtual escape rooms…

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17 May 2022

4 minutes to read

Making blended learning work: a case study from Mathematics

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of online teaching and learning. But how do we make sure it blends effectively with more traditional learning approaches? Dr Houry Melkonian, Senior Lecturer in Mathematics, has been experimenting with different blended learning approaches with her first-year undergraduate mathematics courses.

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4 May 2022

4 minutes to read

Seeds of change: the benefits of mixing students from different disciplines

What do Engineering and German have in common? You might think of car manufacturing – Vorsprung durch Technik – or perhaps your washing machine. But what would happen if you created opportunities for students from these very different disciplines to work together?

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12 April 2022

4 minutes to read

Empowering health protection practitioners to deliver excellence in public health

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of health emergency preparation, forward planning and robust outbreak management systems. By expanding its continuing professional development programme, the University is continuing to support public health teams in meeting these challenges.

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16 March 2022

3 minutes to read

Exploring the benefits of compassion – in education and in life

Over 500 people from around the world attended the University’s first Festival of Compassion in November. Held over 10 days, the festival hosted a wide range of free online and on-campus activities to explore how we can foster compassion to build stronger communities. The diverse events included:

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11 January 2022

4 minutes to read

Study Mindsets in Classics and Mathematics with Mindfulness and LEGO® Serious Play®

How might the tools of mindfulness and playfulness offer students of demanding subjects like Classics and Mathematics a more fun and stress-free learning experience? Two Exeter academics have been trying to find out…

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7 December 2021

3 minutes to read

Promoting postgraduate opportunities through the Sustainability Summer Programme

With so many different options for postgraduate study, it can be difficult for students to decide what or where to study. To help address this, the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences (CEMPS) ran a Summer Programme entirely online earlier this year.

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girls in science classroom

24 November 2021

3 minutes to read

Inspiring the next generation of female STEM students

Research shows that females are more likely than males to form negative emotions about their abilities to perform mathematics or sciences, and that these perceptions take root at a young age. These views are often influenced by stereotypes about gender disparities, and false assumptions that mathematics or science subjects are not for…

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14 October 2021

4 minutes to read

Playful purpose: using games to connect and inspire

Except amongst the youngest of students, playfulness is not usually a characteristic promoted by the curriculum or encouraged by teachers. In fact, play is often seen as a distraction from rigorous learning activities, or a sign that students are lacking in focus.

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22 September 2021

2 minutes to read

Transforming our education during the pandemic

At the start of a new academic year, now is a good time to pause and reflect for a moment on how the University responded to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what we can learn from that response.

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14 September 2021

3 minutes to read

Good at maths? How innovative projects are aiming to broaden student participation

For many of us, our perceived ability at maths will be influenced by cultural bias – such as the view that maths is predominantly a male field, or an innate talent. These are views that Dr Houry Melkonian, Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Exeter, is keen to change.

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19 August 2021

3 minutes to read

Using virtual reality in medical imaging

Diagnostic Radiography students in Medical Imaging at the University of Exeter College of Medicine and Health have been using virtual reality (VR) x-ray rooms, allowing them to enhance their clinical skills training by practising techniques learned in their x-ray room sessions.

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12 August 2021

4 minutes to read

Exploring social media as a form of assessment

From in-class tests to essays to presentations, there are many ways in which module leads can assess their students’ understanding. We know the way in which we assess students’ performance can influence the way in which they engage with learning. Varying how you assess your students can also help students who don’t…

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15 July 2021

4 minutes to read

Opportunities and challenges of digital learning: an interview with Professor Tim Quine, DVC Education

Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic will bring challenges and opportunities for education, and three Exeter students recently had the chance to quiz Professor Tim Quine, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), to canvass his views.

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1 July 2021

4 minutes to read

Concurrent teaching: lessons from dissertation preparation sessions

Teaching students who join a session together, either from campus or online, has become an increasing feature of the last 12 months. Here Dr Matt Finn and Dr Laura Smith (Geography) describe their week-long series of concurrent workshops for second year BA Geography students, to prepare for their final year dissertations.

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24 June 2021

4 minutes to read

Bringing learning back to campus through The Festival of Discovery

Over 400 events took place on campus in the University’s inaugural Festival of Discovery. Held over a 2-week period from late May, the event aimed to bring our whole university community closer together to enjoy a range of on-campus and online activities.               “I loved the…

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Colombian flag on building

18 June 2021

4 minutes to read

How a Colombia field trip became a successful virtual exchange

Field courses are a capstone of many degree programmes, facilitating immersive and experiential learning opportunities. Students can engage with various aspects of their chosen field in situ, in an authentic and often applied way. This might involve touring unique facilities, interacting with external experts,

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Teaching in an AV enhanced space

9 June 2021

3 minutes to read

How enhancing the AV in teaching spaces can create a more seamless student experience

One of the many challenges faced by educators over the last year is delivering teaching concurrently to both students present in the room and also joining online through Teams or Zoom. Teaching rooms are rarely equipped to enable this concurrent teaching effectively, with limited camera and audio coverage

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26 May 2021

3 minutes to read

Quantum leap: how cutting-edge technologies are giving students industry experience

Since autumn 2020, Physics students at the University of Exeter have been working with real-life quantum computers, thanks to the IBM Quantum Educators Program. IBM is at the forefront of quantum computing systems, research and development and their involvement has

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19 May 2021

4 minutes to read

Building social connections between students during the pandemic

University life is about more than just studying. It’s about building social connections – friendships and relationships that can shape you forever. These social connections with peers are crucial to students’ success and overall wellbeing. But establishing these connections

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12 May 2021

3 minutes to read

Is it time to take a fresh look at MOOCs?

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a sharp focus on online learning, so where do Massive Open Online Courses – MOOCs – fit into the picture? Lisa Harris and Steph Comley take a look… Now that an increasing number of educators and learners are discovering the benefits of inclusive and accessible online learning,…

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6 May 2021

3 minutes to read

How Exeter is helping to strengthen primary care expertise globally

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the importance of public health and primary care into sharp focus – not only in treating people with Covid, but to facilitate vaccine distribution. Managing the impact of the virus is carried out in community settings, and the World Health Organisation has

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29 April 2021

4 minutes to read

Making the case for online conferences: The UG Research Showcase

This year marked two important milestones for the University’s Undergraduate Research Showcase: the annual event celebrated its fifth birthday, and, for the first time ever, it took place all online. The exhibition offers an opportunity for undergraduates to share projects they’ve undertaken during their time at the university

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student reading book in library

22 April 2021

3 minutes to read

Mindful classics: an ancient approach to wellbeing to support modern learners

As the Covid-19 pandemic has progressed, mental health has become almost as much of a concern as physical health. Uncertainty and long-term isolation have been identified as particular threats to overall wellbeing – with mindfulness often touted as a useful antidote.

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15 April 2021

4 minutes to read

Finding the ‘write path’: how writing groups help postgraduate researchers

Pandemic-era higher education conversations have tended to focus more on the issues of undergraduates and taught postgraduates, rather than postgraduate researchers (PGRs) – an issue repeatedly raised on a national stage by Professor Andrew McRae, Dean of Postgraduate Research and the Exeter Doctoral College. 

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dancer

1 April 2021

3 minutes to read

Choreographing excellent education: concurrent dance teaching and learning

Throughout the pandemic, one of the most common pedagogical questions has been: ‘How can I help my students feel connected?’ This is a challenging issue in any discipline, but especially in one where students would normally meet up in a specialist physical space

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25 March 2021

4 minutes to read

The unexpected upsides of digital learning – and overcoming the downsides

For many students, the accelerated move to digital learning in 2020/21 has posed a number of challenges. But it’s also had its advantages. Here, Millie Britton, a final year Economics with Geography student and Digital Learning Assistant, reflects on a year of digital learning. From my own experiences as a third year, and the experiences of other students,…

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17 March 2021

4 minutes to read

Taking Grand Challenges online to create engaging learning experiences

Grand Challenges week plays a key role in the Exeter calendar, giving students the opportunity to work in cross-discipline groups to design innovative solutions to real world challenges. But in COVID-19 times, Grand Challenges has adapted to become Challenges Online.

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3 March 2021

3 minutes to read

Serious Play: how LEGO® can help build learning communities and knowledge

Back-to-school supply lists commonly include items like notebooks and pens, but these days you might find an unexpected addition: LEGO® bricks. LEGO® is thought to be the world’s most popular building toy, and is a highly recognisable brand. Yet that wouldn’t usually recommend it for use in an educational setting. However, LEGO®…

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3 March 2021

3 minutes to read

Using technology to facilitate flexible approaches to academic personal tutoring

At the University of Exeter, the Academic Personal Tutor plays a key role as the first point of contact for students. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, new tools have been needed to facilitate those important conversations.

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1 March 2021

3 minutes to read

Partnering with current and recent students to create compelling blended learning programmes

In April 2020, the University of Exeter faced the same dilemma as most other universities: how to move most or all of its teaching online in just a few months?

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1 March 2021

4 minutes to read

From field to online: creating immersive virtual field trips during a pandemic

For departments like Geography and the Camborne School of Mines, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a particularly difficult challenge. How can the unique experience of educational field trips be replicated in an online environment? It’s a question that departments have tackled in a number of different, innovative ways. In Geography, interactive ‘storymaps’…

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