The Education Incubator Café Online 2020!

The Education Incubator Café is an annual event that provides a space for Incubator fellows to showcase their projects, discuss wider applicability, and network with colleagues. Each year, the event provides the opportunity for incoming fellows to kick-off their projects, and for outgoing fellows to highlight their outputs, outcomes, and project findings.

Alongside our Dartington Writing Retreat, the Incubator Café has become part of our capstone offering to the staff and colleagues at the University of Exeter. In previous years, the Café has been a two-hour meeting where our fellows share their projects and swap ideas with attendees for 10-15 minutes before a bell is rung to move on; think speed-dating, but more scones and tea.

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The Incubator Café last year!

In previous years, attendees have given consistently positive feedback for the event, focusing on the space it provides to learn about a diverse range of topics, and discuss them in depth with innovative education developers. Two areas for improvement have been that:

  • at only two hours long, there is not enough time to interact with all project fellows to discuss their work.
  • Incubator fellows who are running sessions do not get an opportunity to attend those run by their project peers.

However, despite our best efforts, we have been unable to make these changes to improve the experience of our presenters and attendees due to the more traditional format of the Incubator Café. One of our fellows from last year described these wicked problems best in their feedback form, ‘I wish it could be different, but I guess the Café wouldn’t work any other way.’

Some Unexpected Benefits of Moving the Café Online

The onset of COVID-19 has created unimaginable challenges for all of us, both in our personal and professional lives. Over the past few months, we have all learned to work remotely and move quickly to change how we deliver different parts of our roles online. At the Incubator, we have found that organising and delivering both Dartington and the Café in online formats have led a number of challenges, but that the solutions to these have led us in new directions, which have also begun to address these wicked problems.

The first challenge we faced was the interactivity of the event – where over 100 staff would normally meet in a room in small groups to discuss the projects. To ensure we could replicate this effectively, we have adopted Microsoft Teams. However, to ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to engage and that the crosstalk is minimised, we have limited the number of attendees in each session to nine. This is to allow all attendees to appear on the presenter’s Teams tile (to maximise the face-to-face contact and avoid the digital isolation that can sometimes occur when muted in meetings).

We learned about how useful this tile is so that all meeting attendees can be seen.

Where previously, we had encouraged attendees to scribble their thoughts and questions on tablecloths at the event, we created and populated a Padlet to allow these discussions to start before, take place during, and continue after the event.

Perhaps the biggest change to the Café was moving from a set two-hour period to sessions that ran across the week of July 6th – 10th. This has allowed us to offer each presenter four thirty-minute session blocs spread across the week to fit their busy schedules and ensure that a much broader group of staff and students can attend the event. This change has resulted in over 130 sessions at the Café this year, with sessions ranging from online learning, decolonising the curriculum, and challenges online (see below for the full list).

To tailor the programme of sessions for each attendee to fit this schedule, we have asked fellows to sign up for sessions online. At the time of writing, just over 650 spaces have been booked across the sessions, or just over 63% capacity.

Therefore, despite its challenges, the expanded structure of the online Incubator Café has also helped us to fix the wicked problem of project fellows not being able to attend the sessions of their peers, with a number attending at least one session across each day of the entire week.

Moving forward, the bigger challenge for the Incubator Team will be how we can incorporate these online elements into our offering in future years to ensure that we can retain similar flexibility for when we return to face-to-face events.

In the meantime, we are excited to see how the online Incubator Café event goes, and what we can learn from the format.

You can still sign up to attend these sessions, so please look at the list below and click the following link: https://forms.gle/yHTFWck1jcwSU4cN9

Monday 6th July afternoon sessions

12:00 – 13:00 – Christine Heales and Demelza Green – Engaging students in the use of progress testing to enable deep learning

12:00 – 13:00 – Peter Cox – Challenges Online (Grand Challenges)

12:00 – 13:00 – Sonia Cunico and Juan Garcia-Precedo – Access for all to UG Modern Languages: supporting learners in their transition to University

13:00 – 14:00 – Andy Higginson – Student partnerships to enhance course organisation: an online module selection pilot

13:00 – 14:00 – Holly Henderson – Serious Play, Serious Fun, Serious Skills: Developing a Serious Play and Gaming Pedagogic Community across the University of Exeter

14:00 – 15:00 – Peter Connor – Equality of Opportunity in the Practical STEM Environment

14:00 – 15:00 – Tudor Chinnah – Student-Crowd Sourced Formative Question Bank Items Writing as a Learning and Teaching Tool.

15:00 – 16:00 – Clemens Ullmann – Penryn Geo-Observatory as an interdisciplinary natural laboratory for Earth observation, research-led teaching, and practical skills development

Tuesday 7th July morning sessions

10:00 – 11:00 – Christine Heales and Demelza Green – Engaging students in the use of progress testing to enable deep learning.

10:00 – 11:00 – Emma Taylor – ‘Choose your own adventure’: tiered skills development activities for academic workshops

10:00 – 11:00 – Layal Hakim and Barrie Cooper – The Exeter Spectrum Project

11:00 – 12:00 – Barrie Cooper – Rethinking education through the lens of parallel texts

11:00 – 12:00 – Charlie Bishop – Support Innovations to Improve the Academic Success and Emotional Well-being of International and Widening Participation Students in Law

11:00 – 12:00 – Erin Walcon – Can We Talk About This? (Dialogic Spaces)

Tuesday 7th July afternoon sessions

12:00 – 13:00 – Sonia Cunico and Juan Garcia-Precedo – Access for all to UG Modern Languages: supporting learners in their transition to University

12:00 – 13:00 – Pascal Stiefenhofer – Mathematics without Tears and Fears: Pedagogical Games which teach Mathematics Principles across Academic Disciplines

13:00 – 14:00 – Andy Higginson – Student partnerships to enhance course organisation: an online module selection pilot

13:00 – 14:00 – Gihan Marasingha – Developing mathematical reasoning and communication through computer-aided teaching and assessment

13:00 – 14:00 – Jerri Daboo and Charice Bhardwaj – Decolonising the Curriculum/Diversifying the University

13:00 – 14:00 – Matt Finn – Using video content to enhance student learning in a core human geography research design module

14:00 – 15:00 – Pascal Stiefenhofer – Students as Co-Researchers: A new digital technology learning model as a response to the COVID-19 virus and similar potential future threats

14:00 – 15:00 – Peter Connor – Equality of Opportunity in the Practical STEM Environment

14:00 – 15:00 – Tudor Chinnah – Student-Crowd Sourced Formative Question Bank Items Writing as a Learning and Teaching Tool.

15:00 – 16:00 – Houry Melkonian – Creatively re-imagine Mathematics Education through the use of Art at primary level

Wednesday 8th July morning sessions

10:00 – 11:00 – Kirsty Brock – The development of a pre-registration online module to facilitate the transition of Chinese Masters students to the English educational system.

10:00 – 11:00 – Maarten Koeners – The Playful University

11:00 – 12:00 – Gihan Marasingha – Developing mathematical reasoning and communication through computer-aided teaching and assessment

11:00 – 12:00 – Helen Hicks – Sustainability Assessment Tool for Green Consultants

11:00 – 12:00 – Matt Finn – Using video content to enhance student learning in a core human geography research design module

Wednesday 8th July afternoon sessions

12:00 – 13:00 – Houry Melkonian – Creatively re-imagine Mathematics Education through the use of Art at primary level

12:00 – 13:00 – Jerri Daboo and Charice Bhardwaj – Decolonising the Curriculum/Diversifying the University

13:00 – 14:00 – Adam Porter – Crowd Obtained Research and Learning (CORAL) Exeter

13:00 – 14:00 – Sandy Allan – Realising the potential of flexible blended learning for mature students

14:00 – 15:00 – Alice Farris – Transcultural Devon

14:00 – 15:00 – Irene Salvo – Mindful Classics: Embedding Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) into the Study of Antiquity

14:00 – 15:00 – Peter Cox – Challenges Online (Grand Challenges)

15:00 – 16:00 – Clemens Ullmann – Penryn Geo-Observatory as an interdisciplinary natural laboratory for Earth observation, research-led teaching, and practical skills development

15:00 – 16:00 – Layal Hakim – Mobile-Learning project

Thursday 9th July morning sessions

10:00 – 11:00 – Helen Hicks – Sustainability Assessment Tool for Green Consultants

10:00 – 11:00 – Maarten Koeners – The Playful University

11:00 – 12:00 – Adam Porter – Crowd Obtained Research and Learning (CORAL) Exeter

11:00 – 12:00 – Charlie Bishop – Support Innovations to Improve the Academic Success and Emotional Well-being of International and Widening Participation Students in Law

Thursday 9th July afternoon sessions

12:00 – 13:00 – Pascal Stiefenhofer – Mathematics without Tears and Fears: Pedagogical Games which teach Mathematics Principles across Academic Disciplines

13:00 – 14:00 – Emma Taylor – ‘Choose your own adventure’: tiered skills development activities for academic workshops

13:00 – 14:00 – Holly Henderson – Serious Play, Serious Fun, Serious Skills: Developing a Serious Play and Gaming Pedagogic Community across the University of Exeter

14:00 – 15:00 – Alice Farris – Transcultural Devon

14:00 – 15:00 – Joel Smith – Creating a new Environment & Climate Emergency mandatory training resource for all students

14:00 – 15:00 – Kirsty Brock – The development of a pre-registration online module to facilitate the transition of Chinese Masters students to the English educational system.

15:00 – 16:00 – Academic Development Team – Enhancement Hub

15:00 – 16:00 – Kate Wallis – Decolonial Knowledge Production and Anti-Racist Pedagogies: Building a Cross-Disciplinary Community of Practice

Friday 10th July sessions

10:00 – 11:00 – Matt Collison – Improving Student Experience and Employability through Cloud Technologies in the Computer Science curriculum

11:00 – 12:00 – Natalia Lawrence – Future Food for Families: Creating family-friendly educational resources about sustainable diets

14:00 – 15:00 – Joel Smith – Creating a new Environment & Climate Emergency mandatory training resource for all students

14:00 – 15:00 – Pascal Stiefenhofer – Students as Co-Researchers: A new digital technology learning model as a response to the COVID-19 virus and similar potential future threats

15:00 – 16:00 – Irene Salvo – Mindful Classics: Embedding Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) into the Study of Antiquity

15:00 – 16:00 – Natalie Pollard – Unhoming Pedagogies: Decolonial Practices, Ethical Education, and the Humanities

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The University of Exeter’s Education Incubator scheme. Promoting pedagogic innovation and collaboration with an aim to enhance learning across the University and beyond.

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