Acceleration of Technology and Enhanced Learning

Photograph of a cardboard virtual reality headset produced by the ucreate studio at the University of Edinburgh
Image Credit: Original Photo by uCreate Studio at the University of Edinburgh. Graphic Design by Joe Arton

Welcome to January’s theme: Acceleration of Technology and Enhanced Learning.

Digital adoption took a quantum leap in 2020, affecting everything from lectures, seminars and assessments to tutorials and student services. It surfaced questions of accessibility, the impact of technology on mental health and wellbeing and the importance of building community and belonging online. The Covid-19 crisis has shown the strategic importance of technology in every facet of the student and staff experience.

However, it is worth remembering that technology enhanced learning and teaching wasn’t new to Edinburgh; it was simply brought into sharp focus by the pandemic. Thanks to the work of Information Services, the Institute for Academic Development, the Edinburgh Futures Institute, and countless projects carried out by individuals and academic departments across the University, colleagues were able to rapidly find temporary solutions to meet the new demands put on staff and students by Covid-19.

Significant lessons can be drawn from the steps that individual staff and departments have taken during the move to digital and hybrid. One is the importance of continuing to support a culture of research, creativity and experimentation in teaching and learning as we move out of the pandemic and undertake activities such as curriculum review and reform.

This month, the Teaching Matters blog will focus on the Acceleration of Technology and Enhanced Learning. You’ll read about hi-tech and low-tech hacks, creative uses of established technology and how digitisation supported and enhanced the learning and teaching experience. Some of our upcoming posts include contributions by;

  • Mike Boyd from The Digital Library who writes how their team have been supporting digital learning.
  • Richard Fitzpatrick (Deanery of Biomedical Sciences) & Prof Tom Little (School of Biology), who describe a project that generated immersive large-scale virtual field work for Zoology students.
  • Claire Anderson from ECA who writes of her experience editing Wikipedia: Stars, Robots and Talismans Honours course.

As you explore this month’s theme, it is worth revisiting some previous  Teaching Matters posts that showcase the university’s culture of creativity and outside-the-box thinking around technology, teaching and learning.

If you would like to contribute to future Teaching Matters blog posts or podcast episodes please contact the editors Josephine Foucher and Joe Arton at teachingmatters@ed.ac.uk. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Teaching Matters Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.


photograph of the authorJoe Arton

Joe Arton is an Academic Developer at the Institute for Academic Development at the University of Edinburgh and is the co-editor and producer of the Teaching Matters blog and Podcast and curates The Hybrid Teaching Exchange. Joe previously taught Media Studies at the University of Virginia in the US and has worked in Learning and Organisational Development and on enterprise-wide Technology Enhanced Learning projects.


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