Welcome to the August issue of Teaching Matters!
Once again, the Edinburgh Fringe is upon us, and this month Teaching Matters is very excited to present blog post contributions from staff and students performing at the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas (CoDI), as part of the Fringe. To introduce CoDI, we welcome our guest blogger, CoDI intern, Lola Moutel-Davesne…
What is the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas?
The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas is a unique opportunity for researchers to bring controversial, contentious, and dangerous ideas to the Edinburgh Fringe, and for members of the public to engage with world class academics from all over the country outside of their ivory towers. The shows all attract a wide range of audiences and aim to provoke innovative discussions and change the way the wider public thinks about a topic. Last year 74% of our 2438 audience members said they learnt something new, and 83% said they would recommend the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas to a friend.
Having worked for the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas these past two months as an intern, focussing on marketing and promotion, I feel I’ve gained an insight into how important it is to learn to reach different audiences to encourage them to engage with research coming from the university. From formal emails and meetings to mass tweeting and shameless flyering, my time working with CoDI has involved promoting both learning and teaching in ways I never imagined. Being an intern here on the Employ.Ed scheme has proved to be an invaluable source of learning to me in itself- both through working with researchers from an endless variety of backgrounds and through independently adapting to a new work environment.
During August, University staff and students will be blogging and reflecting on this unique opportunity for public engagement, their own research, and how public engagement and teaching outside of the university can impact research. This month’s blogs will include posts from:
- Dr Andreas Zaunseder discussing the benefits of the darknet, particularly in scrutinising the teaching environment, and considering why a resistant communitarian-anarchist structure may be a guide to a more humanist and egalitarian future for teaching.
- David Mountain explaining the problem with patriotism, and how it is illogical, dangerous and a waste of time.
- Dr Cathy Bovill who focusses on student engagement. Her blog post will be exploring some of the highs and lows of teachers’ attempts to motivate students and make learning more exciting and engaging.
To purchase tickets to these shows, and view the rest of our amazing programme, head to the website here.
Teaching Matters in Academic Year 2018/2019
Teaching Matters has been growing steadily since its inception in January 2016 – in June 2018, readership peaked at 4,300. For the next Academic year, we will continue to align our monthly themes with the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy. To help us do so, along with publishing the usual twice weekly (Tuesdays and Thursdays) themed posts, Teaching Matters is officially launching a regular mini-series. Like the Near Future Teaching video blog post series, mini-series posts will be published once a week, on Wednesdays. These mini-series will run over two to three months, and will invite conversations around current University initiatives or hot topics. For example, in September, October and November, the mini-series will be focussing on lecture recording. This month will feature a (mini) mini-series showcasing some of the parallel sessions delivered at the University’s Learning and Teaching Conference. Remember to check out Prof Amy Tsui’s blog post summarising her key note here.
Teaching Matters is delighted to announce a collaboration with the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures: Spotlight on Joint Degrees. Staff members and students from LLC are embarking on a major review of joint degrees with the aim of enhancing student experience. With Spotlight on Joint Degrees, a monthly blog post will bring you notes from the field, which we hope will encourage discussion across the university about what joint degrees should look like, and facilitate productive dialogue between students, professional services staff and academics. Blog posts will be posted on the first Monday of the month, over the next two years. The first post this month, by Chris Perkins and Jackie Barnhart, provides some of the background to this project.
Finally, Teaching Matters is encouraging student contributors to write blog posts, or film video blogs posts, about their experiences of learning and teaching at the University. Please do get in touch if you know of any students who would like this opportunity – relevant training will be provided.