Cultivating innovation and collaboration by creating spaces where academics can discover, develop and explore new ideas.
The Education Incubator
At the University of Exeter, we are committed to empowering our academics to challenge traditional thinking in how they deliver education, enabling them to embrace their natural spirit of curiosity to explore and develop new and fresh approaches. One of the finest examples of how we remain relevant in these challenging times within the education sector is the Education Incubator.
This forward thinking initiative, which was established in 2017, allows our academics to cultivate pedagogic innovation, supported by funding, technology, and expertise. Colleagues are encouraged to bring their ideas to the Incubator and participate in peer networks to develop and implement inspirational examples of best practice from across the institution so that our whole community can benefit.
This approach also includes our students, who take an active role in the development of Incubator projects, and further illustrates the core commitment of the University to collaborate with its students as partners. This brings mutual benefits with students gaining a unique insight into their university and developing their skills whilst enhancing and refining the projects from the learner’s perspective.
Led by Professor Sarah Dyer, The Education Incubator has been an undoubted success. In 2020 alone, the Incubator supported 66 Project Fellows to run 37 projects whilst engaging thousands of University of Exeter students. One specific project named ‘InVEnTA’, a virtual field-trip software, deservedly won a Times Higher Education Award and other projects have succeeded in transitioning beyond the university to be adopted by other institutions and industry partners.
In the Incubator, we are supporting staff and students to challenge and change all manner of things taken for granted in university education. These projects have had huge direct benefits for students. The last couple of years have shown the importance of building the capabilities of innovating – the knowledge, skills, relationships, and ways of creating change.
Professor Sarah Dyer
Inaugural Director of the Exeter Education Incubator
Education Incubator projects cover a broad range of disciplinary and pedagogical areas. This includes the adoption of digital technologies for remote and blended learning – an issue that has become very prevalent across the sector in recent times – but also extends to a number of other facets of education. These include projects examining decolonisation of the curriculum, the use of gamification and playful learning, community engagement projects and the adaptation of teaching to meet the diverse needs of students with unique needs.
In 2021, a range of projects are underway from across the University, each focused on creating and evaluating globally engaged learning. These include the ongoing development of internationally connected blended learning initiatives with partner universities and seeking ways to bridge the divide between physical and virtual learning environments.
Our innovative approach in the Education Incubator is transforming and improving education within the University and the wider world, ready to meet the challenges ahead.