Education Incubator

The Education Incubator is a University of Exeter investment in cultivating pedagogic innovation and collaboration. The Incubator supports academics from across the University by creating spaces in which they can explore and develop pedagogic innovations and ideas. It enables any University of Exeter academic to participate in networks of interested peers, providing access to expertise and examples of inspirational education practice. Partnership with students is a core commitment at the University of Exeter and the Incubator champions and supports effective and appreciative partnership.

Incubator themes

The Incubator is running projects under three themes:

  • Success for All
  • Learning Reimagined
  • Using MOOCs to address Grand Challenges.

The Incubator Fellows undertaking our 13 projects come from across the University and a range of disciplinary perspectives. This year they are involved in implementing and evaluating innovative teaching and educational support. The learning from these fellowship projects will be showcased and shared across the University and beyond.

The Education Incubator is part of the University of Exeter’s ongoing commitment to international excellence in education.

This theme is being led by Professor Wendy Robinson. Click here to find out more about the Education Incubator fellows.

Matt Finn (CLES). Transition to university following the introduction of the new A Levels: supporting undergraduates through effective first-year tutorials.

This is an interdisciplinary study on the effects the new linear A-Levels may have on students’ transition to university. Matt with the student researchers will look at how the revised content and changes in assessment structure and the skills taught – across selected subjects - may impact the transition from school to university for the first cohorts of students taking these A-Levels who are entering universities from 2017-2019.

Alex Janes (UEBS). Training tutors to coach students in shared/distributed and emergent forms of leadership for managing project teams.

This project aims to pilot a new approach to supporting group work by developing tutors’ knowledge and skills in leadership coaching. The project will also provide more detailed data on the key issues and successes students experience in group work assignments at Exeter. This should lead to the development of resources to help scaffold group work more effectively.

Alice Osborne (UEMS). Using the learning analytics dashboard to support students; training and resources for tutors.

This project aims to pilot one to one and group tutoring training, resources and activities leading from use of the ELA dashboard and supporting students to develop self-regulated learning skills; reflect on and engage with feedback, monitor their progress, choose suitable strategies and activities to enhance their learning and employability and develop the Exeter graduate attributes.

Andy Pye (CLES). Digital Academic Support (DAS).

The aim of this project is to investigate student views on ‘academic support’ and how it can be delivering through digital technologies. Existing applications such as ‘Yammer’ and ‘Skype for Business’ have the potential to transform the way we think about academic support; taking academic support out of dusty academic offices and into the 21st century. Yammer (effectively an internally administered, office 365 based version of Facebook) has the potential to not only facilitate communication between students and their academic tutor, but also between tutees in tutor groups; enabling the creation of online peer support groups across the University. The ultimate aim would be to seamlessly link these technologies to the iExeter App.

Emma Taylor, Vrinda Nayak, Clare Gallon, David MacDonald (UEMS). Building bridges between academic skills and employability through the Academic Tutor Group system.

This project will develop an electronic platform where students perform an annual ‘skills audit’, and link their experiences to employability. The most essential skills will be identified through review of >20 authentic STEM graduate-level job specifications, across multiple potential career paths. Academic Tutors will have access to this platform, enabling them to engage with their tutees’ skills audits. In discussion with the student, learning and development opportunities can be recognised and suitable training sessions ‘prescribed’, offering individualised support to students. These skills training sessions will be developed in parallel, and be delivered at multiple time points. 

This theme is being led by DVC Education, Tim Quine. Click here to find out more about the Education Incubator fellows.

Clive Barnett, Federico Caprotti (CLES). Global Urban Futures MOOC.

This module engages critically with the increasing importance ascribed to urban practices in generating global problems and to place-based initiatives as pathways to innovating solutions - from issues of climate change and food security, to health, inequality, and poverty, and to economic growth and productivity. The module engages students in a learning journey focused on the challenges and opportunities of living in a majority urban world. The project will be a key plank of the development of a suite of interdisciplinary urban-themed education initiatives in Geography and beyond. The project builds upon the work associated with the Alternative Urbanisms Research Programme in Geography at Exeter.

Nicole Goodey, Chris Laing (CLES). Cornwall Grand Challenges: Sustainable Oceans/ Sustainable Earth.

Sustainability is a classic example of a “wicked” problem, requiring the kind of outside-the-box thinking and innovation that makes University of Exeter students highly employable. The theme of sustainability celebrates the cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research conducted in the college and exploits its powerful connections with local innovative businesses. State of the art documentary style film-making will capture high quality on-location lectures by Exeter’s world-leading academics and external specialists on land, at sea and underwater. The MOOC will utilize 360 degree interactive videos to create a virtual learning experience, showcasing Cornwall’s natural marine and terrestrial assets.

Stefano Pascucci, Steffen Boehm, Allen Alexander, David Monciardini, Stephen Hickman, Peter Hopkinson, Michele Miller (UEBS). An introduction to the Circular Economy

This MOOC will introduce the goals and key principles and concepts of a circular economy and provides creative opportunities for learning more about this ‘economy of the future’ that has gained widespread interest and attention with policy makers, academics and business.

This MOOC will be linked to a Grand Challenge for undergraduate (UG) students around two themes: Ocean plastics and Regenerative agriculture. The MOOC forms the first step in a series of new on-line courses on CE by the Centre for CE based in Penryn.  

Ting Guo, Yin Zhiguang, Yue Zhuang (HUMS). The Many Faces of Chinese Culture: A Visual Journey through China.

This project will develop an open online module on aspects of Chinese cultural life that are seldom discussed by English mainstream media, but are of great importance in current Chinese society. It emphasizes that a true understanding of modern China cannot be limited to the country's history and politics but affords an insight into its rich culture. In this module, students will therefore study a wide range of topics such as underground queer cinema in China, Chinese fansubbing and knowledge sharing, Africans in Guangzhou, Chinese Selfie beauty apps, classic gardens in Chinese modern cities, and Chinese square dancing. The diversity of these topics provides students with a fresh and critical perspective of modern China and helps them to understand and analyse new cultural phenomenon and trends emerging in Chinese society. 

This theme is being led by Dr Sarah Dyer. Click here to find out more about the Education Incubator fellows.

Sue Prince (CSSIS). Reimagining the learning space to fit the 21st Century curriculum: active learning, simulations and built pedagogy.

This proposal aims to create a project that will focus on the means by which technology is most effectively integrated into physical teaching space to help support staff who wish to use active learning techniques and groupwork. What sort of space best encourages all students to participate in an active task for example? The project aims to inform the development of teaching spaces at the University of Exeter into the future.

Barrie Cooper, Bob Beare, Nicky King (CEMPS). Towards a digital pedagogy in mathematics.

The aim of this project is to explore how online tools can be used effectively to shape the learning journey for scientific and mathematical education courses and for developing rich interactive resources and learning experiences. These tools have matured to the extent that there are serious alternatives to traditional forms of teaching and assessment in these subjects. The project will look at “collaborative calculation in the cloud” and bringing in ideas from gamification. It will initially focus on the revised mathematics curriculum with a view to disseminate more broadly with potential applications to online courses and MOOCs.

Alison Hill (CLES). Addressing the mathematics gap in Biosciences.

This project will develop a bespoke resource that will be available for all students and would provide support in maths skills. Theory, worked examples and quizzes, both general and targeted to the module would be developed. For example, in BIO3041, Hansch equations are used to correlate biological data with physicochemical properties of molecules. To solve these equations, the students need to be able to do basic algebra, differentiate a quadratic equation, and understand what log is (and take an anti-log) and how to calculate a reciprocal. A significant proportion of students cannot complete all these tasks and a large minority cannot do any of them.

Steven Palmer, Damien Mansell, Anne Le Brocq (CLES). InVEnTA: Interactive Virtual Environments for Teaching and Assessment.

In this project, we will develop software tools for quickly and efficiently producing ‘free roaming’ immersive Interactive Virtual Environments from a range of different digital terrain datasets and imagery. During the project we will produce 'case-study' Virtual Environments to showcase their potential for delivering innovative and engaging teaching and learning content”.