Beyond the Technology: The education 4.0 podcast

This week Derfel Owen, Registrar and director of student and registry services at University College London, joins us to talk about how the university moved their exams online as part of a university wide digital assessment strategy.

Derfel explains how and why the university chose to transition exams to online at such scale, providing more than 20,000 students with 1200 digital exams in Spring 2021. He also shares the lessons learnt from the project, and provides advice about how other institutions could approach bringing assessments online.

We also discuss the future of assessment, looking into how things such as artificial intelligence help to improve the assessment marking process.

Direct download: Digital_assessment_at_scale_main.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:26am UTC

In this episode we are joined by Clare Killen, senior consultant for the business intelligence team at Jisc, to talk about the findings from the recently released HE and FE staff digital experience insight surveys.

The annual survey polls over 6,500 teaching staff in further and higher education, looking into their experiences of using technology to support their teaching.

Clare provides an interesting deep dive analysis into the results, as well as suggesting what can be done to support staff digital skills going forward.

The episode also investigates how the role of teaching staff has changed since the pandemic.

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

Our guest this week is Debs Gray, Principal of Grimsby Institute, and Jisc trustee. She joined us to talk all about the college’s trailblazing industry 4.0 programme.

This episode is packed with advice about how to support staff and students to prepare for the workplace of the future, in terms of digital skills and making the most out of the tools you already have.

Debs maintains a strong focus on not just levelling the field, but tilting it, giving every student a fair chance. You’d be hard pushed to find someone more passionate about further education.

A big thank you to Debs for coming on the show!

Direct download: How_can_we_really_ready_students_for_jobs_of_the_future.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:46pm UTC

We’re joined by Dr Jill McKay, a senior lecturer of veterinary science education at the University of Edinburgh.

Jill has completed some fascinating research into lecture capture, how students use recordings, and why. The data is really encouraging, so it’s worth a listen to hear some of the benefits, in particular for students from widening participation backgrounds.

As you’ll be able to tell, this was a wonderfully fun and interesting chat. Jill is a brilliant speaker, and shares some great resources to help you to use recordings to their best potential, in a way that helps both staff and students.

Direct download: Dr_Jill_Mckay_mixdown2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:27am UTC

Dr Phil Anthony, learning technologist from the division of natural sciences at the University of Kent, joins us to talk about his international digital teaching best practice community, where sector professionals from all around the world now engage to share advice, experiences and ideas about teaching online and digitally.

Phil is a brilliant guest, full of ideas and insights from what he’s learned from setting up the community. The group has proved a huge success in so many ways, reassuring staff around the world on mutual experiences (enter the great cameras on or off debate again, Phil shares a really interesting story there).

Phil also shares his top tips on making online teaching engaging, and how you can join in with the online community yourself – by visiting the link in our show notes.

Direct download: How_to_share_best_practice_with_teachers_around_the_world.mp3
Category:Education -- posted at: 8:29am UTC

Dr Rachel Bolton-King is an associate professor of forensic science, in the department of criminology, policing and forensic science at Staffordshire University. She joins us to talk about remote delivery, and how to help students to engage when working online.

Rachel covers how to ensure forensics students are fully engaged when working online and how to offer a truly immersive experience to students who are at home. We also explore what the future holds for subjects like forensics with large practical elements, and how can technology might help to enhance the teaching and learning experience for students and staff.

This was an inspiring conversation, and Rachel’s enthusiasm and expertise knowledge really shine through. A big thank you to Rachel for coming on the show!

If you’ve listened back to the series over the summer, or particularly enjoy this episode, please do share with your colleagues who might enjoy it too. And don’t forget, if you have any questions, or would like to come on the show, you can email

Direct download: Forensics_Bringing_a_practical_subject_to_life_online.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:18am UTC

Rob Blagden, director of libraries, technology and information at the University of Gloucestershire, joins us to talk all about the environmental impact of universities, and what can be done to address the climate emergency.

You’ll hear all about what the university is doing in terms of sustainable technology, making physical buildings and systems more eco-friendly, and educating students and staff about the climate emergency.

Direct download: Rob_Blagoption_2_mixdownnew21.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:54am UTC

This week we’re joined by the fantastic Miranda Melcher, a teacher, researcher, author, and a fellow of the higher education academy.

Miranda is currently completing her PhD on post-conflict military reconstruction at King’s College London’s Defence Studies Department, and she joins us to talk all about engaging students when teaching online.

Miranda’s enthusiasm for teaching is palpable. Her ability to engage an audience (and classroom) is evident in this interview, which is packed with tips and resources to do with making the most out of teaching all students virtually.

Miranda has taught as a teaching assistant, a PHD tutor, and provides 1:1 tutoring for students with learning differences.

We also look into the brand new and somehow age-old question – is it better for students to have their cameras on or off?

Direct download: Mianda_mixdown2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:49pm UTC

Dr Swati Virmani, senior lecturer in economics at De Montfort University, joins us to talk all about the importance of continuous professional development (CPD). An Associate Member of the Association for Learning Technology, she also holds an impressive list of qualifications from around the world.

To share the varied experiences of pandemic teaching had by her colleagues, Swati co-created a monograph, recording lessons learned and challenges overcome. We hear all about these stories, and why it’s so important that staff feel heard, especially during difficult times.

Swati also shares her thoughts on the link between staff wellbeing and CPD, her thoughts on the impact that technology might have on the future of CPD, and what she hopes might happen in the future.

Direct download: Swati_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:51pm UTC

This week’s episode is all about teaching students on the autism spectrum, with the incredibly inspirational and creative Charlotte Judd, from Weston Bay College.

Weston Bay is the only residential autism training environment in the UK, and Charlotte paints a brilliant picture of what it’s like to work, and study there. Everything from ensuring the wellbeing of students, to improving digital skills, and training students for the workplace, is perfectly tailored to the needs of each individual student.

Charlotte explains how they supported students during lockdown – including everything from online cooking classes, to work experience placements in COVID-19 test centres.

Direct download: Preparing_students_on_the_autistic_spectrum_for_the_workplace.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:42pm UTC

In this episode, we were joined by Keith W McIntosh, vice president for information services and CIO at the University of Richmond who is a keynote speaker at this year's Digifest.
Coding graphic with text on top that says beyond the technology, the education 4.0 podcast.

We spoke to Keith about his extensive work in diversity, equity, and inclusion, which includes his journey launching Intersections, a discussion group that started organically within his division then grew to include students, faculty, and staff from across the university. This group meets weekly to discuss the -isms of today, their roots in the past, and their impacts on our future.

Direct download: Keith_Mac_mixdown2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:36pm UTC

In this episode we chat with Simon Hayhoe, Digifest speaker and author of six books on disability and the arts. His work is the subject of many international academic courses, and his specialisms are impressive and varied, from culture to disability, technology and teaching.

We chat about his presentation at Digifest next week: accessible technology 4.0, inclusion 2.0 - what next?, as well as where his passion for the subject comes from, how to embrace accessibility on a budget, and what the future holds when making sure technology works for everyone.

Simon is currently based at the University of Bath, and is also a temporary advisor for the World Health Organisation's Academy - as well as a centre research associate in the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science at the London School of Economics and an associate of the Scottish Sensory Centre, University of Edinburgh.

Direct download: Simon_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:02am UTC

Back in November 2020, we chatted to Hannah Mathias, e-learning manager at Cardiff and Vale College, where they’ve created a personalised learning bot for GCSE Maths and English.

Hannah runs through how the bot can be used by students, how it’s programmed by staff, and how it can be used to support students to complete their work. Embedded into Microsoft Teams, teachers can easily add and tag up resources and assignments for students. The bot uses gamification and other rewards for student engagement and aims to provide a personalised learner experience.

The team are also working on a bot to support student wellbeing – not to replace human contact, but to point students towards the support they might need. It’s a work in process, but Hannah explores how technology might support student wellbeing in the future. The wellbeing bot in the pipeline is learner-led and designed by a student.

At Jisc we’re holding several online sessions around mental wellbeing in further and higher education. On the 24 of February, there’s a further education round table discussion: strategies and tactics for improving the wellbeing of staff and learners. Learn more and sign up here.

We’re keen to cover the subjects that matter to you, so do get in touch with us at if you’d like to come on the show or have any suggestions.

Direct download: Hannah_mixdown2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:12am UTC

Our guest for this episode is Professor Parama Chaudhury, professor in the department of economics at University College London.

Edtech fanatic, and departmental e-learning champion, Parama’s enthusiasm about using technology to support teaching and learning is infectious. She shares an abundance of tips, as well as stories from her time teaching in America and the UK, and what she’s learned along the way.

The biggest theme in this episode is the importance of structure for students, especially now with lockdowns and online learning having a huge impact on our lives. We discuss wellbeing, how the student experience has changed, and how and why Parama was an early adopter of online assessment.

Direct download: Parama_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:03am UTC

This week we speak to Hayley Mulenda, all about student mental health. Hayley is an award winning international speaker, author and change agent, who speaks openly about her struggles with mental health as a student, and how best to support students who need help.

Direct download: Hayley_M_2_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:10am UTC