Beyond the Technology: The education 4.0 podcast

Join Sarah Knight, head of learning and teaching transformation at Jisc, who is joined by Marieke Guy, Head of Digital Assessment at University College London (UCL) and Mary McHarg, Activities & Engagement Officer at UCL Student Union to discuss the reimagining of assessment and feedback at the institution.

Marieke provides insights into the university's broad scope, with 11 faculties and over 60 departments. UCL supports around 43,000 students and over 14,000 employees, offering a diverse range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. They discuss how the institution faces the challenge of maintaining consistency and utilising technology effectively due to its scale and diversity.

Mary highlights the challenges students face in relation to assessment and feedback. With a vast institution like UCL, students experience different assessment methods, frequencies, and feedback quality across departments. The podcast explores the importance of consistency, quality feedback, and supporting student well-being.

The episode emphasises the involvement of students in the assessment process. UCL actively engages students through panels, partnerships, and programmes such as ‘student changemakers’.

Marieke discusses the wide range of assessment tools used at UCL, such as Moodle, Wiseflow, Mahara, WordPress, Crowdmark, and Turnitin. The conversation moves on to how UCL is addressing the need for assessment practice and curriculum redesign. Marieke mentions ongoing work with the academic practice centre and academic communication centre to support staff in rethinking assessments.

The discussion delves into AI's role in assessment and the need to educate staff and students about its capabilities, limitations, and ethical considerations. UCL is incorporating AI into assessments and actively involving students in discussions about its use.

The episode concludes with the importance of senior leaders supporting the institutional approach to rethinking assessment and feedback. It emphasises the need for clear communication, involving students as partners, providing resources and support for staff, and investing in experts.

Show notes

Direct download: Reimagining_assessment_and_feedback_at_UCL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:40pm UTC

In this episode, Simon Birkett, senior consultant for digital transformation at Jisc is joined by Jodie Wetherall, Associate Director - Office of the CIO at the University of Greenwich to discuss the university's digital strategy and its impact.

Jodie shares insights into the University of Greenwich's vision for 2030, aiming to be the best modern university in the UK. They discuss the strategic priorities that focus on transformational shifts in learning and teaching, research and knowledge exchange, as well as the four cross-cutting priorities of student success, inclusivity and culture, impactful research and knowledge exchange, and connected and sustainable campuses.

The conversation delves into the development and evolution of the university's digital strategy. They talk about the importance of aligning the strategy with the overall corporate strategy, gaining executive sponsorship, and involving the entire university community.

Several initiatives and projects are highlighted, including the Student Lifecycle Management programme, which aims to provide a digital student centre for self-service access, improving the student experience. The Classroom Enhancement Programme is discussed, which focuses on upgrading and enhancing classroom environments to support flexible delivery models. Jodie also mentions the new programme focusing on research and knowledge exchange, exploring ways to streamline processes and empower researchers with technology.

In terms of the wider sector conversation, Jodie discusses the significance of time, opportunities coming out of COVID and long-term planning in digital transformation. They emphasise the importance of having a high-performing team, strong executive leadership, and a positive reputation for delivering change. Looking to the future, Jodie acknowledges the challenges posed by the current financial climate and discusses the university's digital strategy for the future. 

Show notes

Direct download: Greenwich_digital_strategy_new_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:32am UTC

In this episode Lis Parcell is joined by Matt Turner and Gabi Witthaus at the Higher Education Futures institute (HEFi), University of Birmingham to talk about a hybrid teaching project involving two universities.

Gabi and Matt were part of a research team made up of staff and students from University of Nottingham (project lead) and University of Birmingham (project partner) which investigated experiences of hybrid teaching and learning in academic year 2020/2021. The principal investigator was Cecilia Goria (University of Nottingham) and the project was supported and funded by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

“…the term ‘hybrid teaching’ is used to refer to lectures/seminars/classes in which some students are physically present in a classroom and others join online simultaneously from remote locations”

Lis begins by talking to Matt and Gabi about the origins of the project and their definition of hybrid teaching. They look at how hybrid teaching rooms were developed at the two participating universities to enable all students to continue studying as some returned to campus and some remained online as Covid restrictions were lifted. Importantly, the research involved collaboration between students and staff and they touch on how this was achieved.

The project gathered a fascinating array of quantitative and qualitative data from over 500 students and nearly 50 staff (teaching and audio-visual/IT) across the two universities. Gabi and Matt offer an overview of the main themes which emerged, interspersed with quotes from staff and students. Whilst the project’s recommendations make particularly valuable reading for anyone contemplating hybrid teaching, we also hear how they might inform digital transformation of learning and teaching more generally.

Gabi and Matt finish with reflections on some potential areas for further investigation.

Show notes

·       Read the full report published on QAA website.

·       Goria, C., Witthaus, G., Turner, M., Hanford, S., Bhend, M., Wray, A., Wahyudi, M., & Gibson, A. (2022). Hybrid teaching: a futurist model or a realist model for the future? QAA. (Accessed 2 June 2023)

·       Find out more about the work of the Higher Education Futures Institute, University of Birmingham.

·       Subscribe to our Headlines newsletter, which has all the latest edtech news, guidance and events tailored to you.

Get in touch with us at if you’d like to come on the show or know someone who might suit the series.



Direct download: Hybrid_teaching_rooms.mp3
Category:Education -- posted at: 7:58am UTC