Welcome to the July issue of Teaching Matters: Placements and Fieldwork

Photo credit: pixabay, Christopher Burns, CC0

Welcome to the July issue of Teaching Matters: Placements and fieldwork

This issue welcomes contributions that highlight and reflect on placement and fieldwork opportunities throughout The University of Edinburgh, in Edinburgh College of Art, School of Economics, Careers Service, School of GeoSciences, and Moray House School of Education.

I unashamedly reveal my bias this month: I am a huge supporter of embedding placements and fieldwork opportunities into course design. They tap into key pedagogical approaches, such as active, experiential, place-based and affective learning, which can lead to authentic learning experiences. Group work and community engagement are usually fundamental to such experiences, and most importantly, these opportunities are often fun.

How many of you remember in quite some detail the field trips you took in primary school? I have a vivid memory of eating my lunch next to some Roman ruin during a primary school field trip to Butser Ancient Farm, and being disproportionally excited that we were given a Penguin bar as part of our packed lunch. But, to this day, I also remember the excitement of finding a pig’s tooth buried in the archaeology site we were allowed to ‘excavate’. It bought the learning in the classroom to life. Even today, the only pub quiz questions I can answer are due to the fact that I’ve travelled to a country and remember someone telling me an interesting fact that I could see or feel how it related to that moment in time (e.g., Question: Which country has the largest archipelago in the world? Answer: Finland – I went to visit a university friend there in 2005, travelled to her parent’s remote summer island in the archipelago, and forgot to pack the snake antivenom. One point to us).


In May and June, Teaching Matters hosted the mini-series ‘Promoting inclusion, equality and diversity in the curriculum’. Although we highlighted some of the great work that is already been carried out to promote inclusivity and diversity across the university, it is crucial that we don’t rest on our laurels: there is much, much more work that needs to be done in this area, as discussed in the podcast episodes. Let’s keep this conversation visible in all our learning and teaching conversations.

Over July and August, the Teaching Matters’ mini-series will focus on the links between mental health and wellbeing and learning and teaching at The University of Edinburgh. We have a fantastic array of contributions lined-up, starting tomorrow with a great overview from the mini-series co-editor, Director of Student Wellbeing, Andy Shanks. A number of podcast episodes will follow in September.

Happy reading…!

Jenny Scoles

Dr Jenny Scoles is the editor of Teaching Matters. She is an Academic Developer (Learning and Teaching Enhancement) in the Institute for Academic Development, and provides pedagogical support for University course and programme design. Her interests include student engagement, professional learning and sociomaterial methodologies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *