Current Project

More transitions online, podcasts, and music

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.

Podcasts

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.

My students

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.

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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