EU Erasmus Meeting at Academy of Pop Culture

During the Minerva Academy of Popular Culture’s annual iWeek, at which Graham and Martyn delivered a workshop, representatives from the participating Universities had a meeting to discuss a joint bid for a large scale multinational research project, ‘Connected Neighbourhoods’, and took the first steps in developing a potential EU Erasmus Strategic Partnership between the following institutions:

– Tampere University of Applied Sciences, TAMK (Finland)

– Liepaja University, MP-LAB (Latvia)

– Budapest University of Applied Sciences BKF (Hungary)

– UVic (Catalonia)

– Hanze (Academy of Pop Culture)

– University of Lincoln, co_LAB (UK)

Leeuwarden partners

The strategic partnership will be used to exchange best practices in teaching and learning, to design and implement international collaborative courses, and to research issues of pedagogy for future publications. The project will be linked by projects between  the partner Universities and through student/teaching exchanges, whilst information will be disseminated during existing iWeeks and conferences at these institutions.

The dialogue and shared values between this international network of universities appears to be very strong, and has been formed out of previous collaborations between the Universities and their representatives. We will  find out in November whether the funding bid has been successful.

(Fingers crossed!)


Best Practice Session at Festival of Teaching and Learning

On June 20th 2014, co_LAB delivered a ‘best practice’ presentation at the Festival of Teaching and Learning which took place at the University of Lincoln which provided opportunities for colleagues to share their pedagogical practice as well as discover what has been happening in this year’s FED projects. Graham and Martyn used this platform to report on the recent ‘co_LAB #Project1′ pedagogical experiment to an audience of University colleagues and visiting academics. This was a great opportunity to share our story, and to respond to questions and enthusiastic feedback from the room.

fest teach learn

In addition to this event the co_LAB team told our story to Lincoln colleagues at the LSFM away day. This model of teaching and learning is something we hope will play a key role in future curriculum development within the School of Film and Media and the University in general.




Project 1 – Intensive Workshop

co_LAB Project 1 was a one week interdisciplinary workshop that took place between 12-16 May, 2014. Project 1 was designed to explore and develop new approaches to collaborative teaching and learning through the use of networked digital tools, and through the transferral of knowledge, skillsets and teaching styles. The pilot co_LAB workshop aimed to overcome traditional barriers of working between individual course specialisms by bringing together students and colleagues from across different academic disciplines to collaborate on a transmedia design project. The project was motivated by a desire to enhance collaboration and knowledge transfer, between different courses and schools within the College of Arts. Whilst many of the courses ran by the School of School of Film and Media share similar themes and creative skillsets, they are often located within separate buildings and have very different working practices. Students are subsequently siloed off into their individual course specialisms and rarely get the opportunity to share ideas or work collaboratively to produce new knowledge and creative outputs. The pilot project featured collaborations from a number of lecturers and 14 second year students from Media Production, Interactive Design and Contemporary Lens Media. It also featured a drone/robotics demonstration from Dr. John Murray from the School of Computer Science and an online lecture by Chris Heydra from The Hague University of Applied Science (which was streamed live and recorded to YouTube).

co_LAB Project 1 was the result of an internal ‘Fund for Educational Development’ programme, which was set up to support the implementation of the University of Lincoln’s ‘Student as Producer’ initiative through innovative curriculum redesign projects. The core concept of the Student as Producer project, led by the Educational Development and Enhancement Unit (EDEU) at the University of Lincoln, is research-engaged teaching. This means encouraging students at all levels and across all disciplines to see themselves as active producers of knowledge, rather than passive consumers. The principle of research-engaged teaching now underpins the curriculum across all subject areas at the University of Lincoln. co_LAB explored the following aims and objectives of Student as Producer:

  • Discovery – The open-ended brief and flexible teaching structure empowered students to define the working environment. The structure of the workshop itself was open to negotiation, whilst students were encouraged to pool their collective research and practice skills. This approach was designed to engage students in the discovery and sharing of new knowledge by underscoring the importance of research within the conceptual development stage.
  • Technology in Teaching – co_LAB utilised a range of Google Drive and associated software (Docs, Presentation and Hangouts) to share information. The project also made use of a blog to publicise the project, as well as a number of social media platforms to foster closer working partnerships between staff and students. We believe that by leveraging the capabilities of Web 2.0 technologies this model of digital scholarship can facilitate a more open, interactive and collaborative working environment for teaching and learning.
  • Space & Spatiality – The technologies and virtual learning environments used in this project allowed for real-time collaboration whereby information and knowledge could be accessed and disseminated across a number of networked devices.
  • Assessment – Peer-review and student driven feedback was encouraged throughout the project. The workshop was also planned to coincide with ‘As Above, So Below’, an international academic event on ‘drone culture’ and network politics. Not only did the workshop share similar themes, the work produced during the co_LAB programme was exhibited at this public event. This demonstrated the ‘real-world’ context of research and encouraged students to engage in greater depth with the development of ideas.
  • Student Voice – The established teacher/student divide was avoided wherever possible, with optional seminars, interactive workshops, student-led presentations, group discussions and plenaries taking the place of the traditional, rigid lecture/seminar structure.
  • Research & Evaluation – Participants were engaged in active research activities throughout the conceptual development, presentation and delivery of projects. A collaborative approach to research was encouraged, with both staff and students contributing to an archive of research sources. A number of open plenaries were held to discuss and evaluate this research in relation to developing student concepts.

ChiSparks 2014 – University of Applied Science – The Hague

In April co_LAB visited The University of Applied Science, The Hague, Netherlands to deliver a paper at ChiSparks14. The one day conference provided a platform for researchers and practitioners in the HCI community to share and discuss their efforts on researching and developing methods, techniques, products, and services that enable people to have better interactions with systems and other people.

The theme of the 2014 edition of the conference was ‘Creating the Difference’. HCI is a creative field where practitioners engage both in the design and the production of interactions. Creating excellent interfaces for people, they make a difference in media and systems that people are eager to use.

Keynote speakers were provided by Thomas Marzano, the Global Head of Brand Design at Philips, Ohyoon Kwon and Albert Kivits presented the social innovation project ‘HomelessSMS’, and finally Dick Rijken and Frank Baldé outlined their current developments in the world of music and musical instruments and interfaces.

One of the programme strands was entitled ‘Kids@play’ which focused on digital tools used in innovative forms of teaching and learning. It was here that Graham delivered the paper ‘Digital Learning Environments and Collaborative Pedagogy: Media Culture 2020 by Thayne & Cooper’

chi program Graham Chi

Graham was also invited to present a demo of one of his personal art projects entitled ‘Memory Box – Graham aged 8’ which was set up in the main atrium of the impressive campus building. The piece takes the form of a homemade victorian viewing box, where housed within is a digital display that challenges notions of the validity of photographic memory.

membox membox2