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The Mobile Campus: Imagining The Future of Distributed Education at the University of Edinburgh

James Lamb and I, both of the Centre for Research in Digital Education, are hosting a mobile learning event as part of the Festival of Creative Learning at the University of Edinburgh. James has written an excellent post exploring the parameters of what we are trying to do. So if you have an affiliation with the university- staff, students, alumni- join in wherever you are. We are interested in exploring the distributed university and what that might mean for how people define campus and what the future of that campus might be.

Time: 23 February 2018, 13:00-14:00 GMT

Venue: DHT Cafe, 50 George Square; or anywhere where students or staff participate in the University of Edinburgh. You can participate from wherever you happen to find yourself: at home, at the office, on any of the campuses in Edinburgh or the thousands of smaller campuses that our distance students inhabit.

What it is: This mobile learning event is designed to explore a series of provocations delivered via mobile messaging on what the future of distributed education will be for the university. The event will be 60 minutes in length and will move through select aspects of the campus, however defined. Participants will comprise both on-campus students and staff, as well as any distance education students that might wish to participate, creating essentially a distributed mobile learning activity. Beyond these explorations, the activity has a core aim: to identify the future of the University of Edinburgh as seen through a mobile and highly distributed perspective. And to do so with members of the University of Edinburgh community wherever they might be: at home, at the office, at George Square, King’s Buildings, Moray House, on any of the campuses in Edinburgh or the thousands of smaller campuses that our distance students inhabit. We are the campus; it is wherever we are.

Participants will be delivered via their mobile devices instructions, passages from texts, media, and more, all exploring the future of disciplinary fieldwork, the future of distributed education, and values-oriented questions as to what the university does in the future: access, equity, compassion, and identity. A lot of ground to cover 140+ characters at a time. But we can do it. This is fieldwork that many disciplines depend on as part of their core practice. We are just tweaking it a bit for exploring what a mobile campus might be.

James Lamb and I will be collecting and remixing this data at the DHT Cafe in 50 George Square, displaying it for all that pass by. We want to bridge the distributed campus with the traditional one through the data. We believe this method to be experimental, although not radically so. It has been field tested in some configuration many times by the organisers (Edinburgh, Bremen, Seoul, Helsinki, Amsterdam, London, New York, and more).

Instructions & Technology:

To participate, all you need is a mobile phone, a willingness to use a little bit of your data to send us media, and to download Telegram, the mobile messaging application we will be using. We are using Telegram because it is (relatively) secure. You can remove it as soon as we are done with the event. We will provide the rest.

So here is what you should do (if you are interested):

  1. Please fill out this simple form: All your information will be kept for the duration of the event and then discarded. You will not receive any unsolicited information from us except for immediately prior and during the duration of the event.
  2. Download and install Telegram on your mobile device.
  3. Once you have installed Telegram, click on this link from your mobile device: It will add you to the Telegram group we are using for the event.
  4. Add a calendar reminder for yourself for 23 February at 13:00 GMT.
  5. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at
  6. To officially register for the event, you will need to go to MyEd, login, and navigate to Event Bookings and find us there. The direct link to register is here. That link will be available come 15 January 2018. Otherwise, just reach out to me directly (at the email above) or fill out the Google Form.

We look forward to exploring the campus, however defined, together with you.

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