I am going to share music now and again that I find very helpful for inspiration. I have moved away from that in this blog but there was a lot more of that in its earlier iterations (I started this in some form in 2004). Either way, there are very few musicians that I like more than Matthew Robert Cooper, who goes by the pseudonym sometimes of Eluvium and sometimes Martin Eden. I have written what seems like thousands of pages to this music over the years. It stimulates that precarious balance of wonder and focus. So I thought I would share. Do buy if it intrigues you.
Settling in for what seems to be the long haul here, we have been busy at work recording some podcasts, among other things. In these last few we talk about the transition online that the University of Edinburgh undertook in light of Covid and what we emphasized in the process. We were joined by Karen Howie, Head of Digital Learning Applications and Media, and Stuart Nicol, Head of Educational Design and Engagement. Both were absolutely integral to the university’s online transition and both brought valuable perspectives to the podcast. Worth a listen if you can endure my rambling in between their wisdom.
I teach on the MSc in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. In particular I teach a course called Course Design for Digital Environments where we explore the theoretical, critical, and designerly structures of online course design. Students move through the process of designing a course drawing on learning theories, design frameworks, and a large dose of criticality throughout the process. This course always tries to balance the theoretical with the applied but Covid surfaced that quite dramatically. The final assignment is to design a partial course and to provide a written rationale of the context in which design decisions were made, linking it whenever possible to the broader critical context of the programme.
Yet these students are largely performing roles at their respective institutions that made them largely responsible for the ‘pivot’ online; ie they were doing what Stuart, Karen, Myles and myself (and many many others) were doing at the University of Edinburgh. They were bringing their schools, universities, and organisations online in a rapid timeframe, all while juggling care responsibilities and, yes, even attending to my course. I can honestly say I have never been so impressed with my students. Their resolve, their candor, their good cheer despite some truly horrific circumstances was, for lack of a better way to say it, inspiring. It feels necessary to celebrate what we can, when we can.