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 my post is really just about reiterating all of that and providing the text we are using for the event. 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, 13:00-14:00 GMT

Venue: DHT Cafe, 50 George Square; anywhere where students or staff participate

Event Listing: 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 questions or passages from selected texts 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. You will be asked to submit answers to these questions as text, as audio, and other media. 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.

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. Please note this event may be photographed and/or recorded for promotional or recruitment materials for the University and University approved third parties.

Instructions & Technology: To participate, all you need is a mobile phone and a willingness to use a little bit of your data to send us media. We will provide the rest. In order to participate, please fill out this simple form: https://goo.gl/forms/qs7RMRJWd8qoBueN2. 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. 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. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at michael.s.gallagher@ed.ac.uk. To register for the event, you will need to go to MyEd, login, and navigate to Event Bookings and fins us there. The direct link to register is here. Otherwise, just reach out to me directly (at the email above) and I will add you in. We look forward to exploring the campus, however defined, together.

The event is entirely open in that there are no preconceived boundaries (aside from the physical or imagined campus). It is about distributed collaboration, participating wherever you are and wherever you want the campus to be. We will follow a path through the campus that was guided, at least partly, by embodied disposition, or what Bourdieu describes as habitus (1977), an evolving personality structure of the individual, a composite set of schemata, sensibilities, tastes, and dispositions. In mobile learning, it is expressed as the ability, even expectation, of the individual to interact across contexts as disposition, rather than as explicitly purposeful. Individuals interact because they are disposed to, rather than always in response to pressing need or predefined purpose. As we make our way through our campus, our pace and direction will be shaped by the way that our of our own feelings, meaning schemes, intuitions and physical traits will come together with the range of meaning-making phenomena we encounter. This disposition will be surfaced with a direct provocation and activity towards this effect. We believe it 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).


Ahead of the actual event

  1. Participants will be asked to fill out a consent form via Google Forms, which will include collecting their telephone number as well as their consent to have their submitted media remixed.
  2. All participants will be invited to a common messaging group for the project
  3. Those that require it will be sent £10 top up vouchers for their mobile phones to participate in the event.


  1. A reminder text will be sent to all participants of the upcoming event, a reminder that a series of instructions will begin at 13:00.


  1. Instructions and background are sent to all participants.
  2. The first prompt is provided, asking for some audio collection.
  3. Participants are encouraged to interact with one another’s answers, answer questions as they appear, collect data as instructed and submit to the messaging group.
  4. This data is projected in 50 George Square (akin to a Tweetwall) while the data is collected by Michael Gallagher and James Lamb, remixed, and played for those congregating at the DHT Cafe.

After the Event

  1. Upon completion of the event, the data is collected, summarized and posted to the organiser’s respective blogs, and shared widely.
  2. All participants will be sent a remixed MP3 of the audio data they submitted.


By Michael Gallagher

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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