What can user researchers learn from reality TV?

Back to the Floor In the late 90s, there was a reality TV show on BBC2 called Back to the Floor. In the show, a senior manager would spend a few days working in a more regular role in their company. A typical episode might feature the boss of Sainsbury's stacking shelves, working on a… Continue reading What can user researchers learn from reality TV?


The UPenn / Coursera / Al Fireis MOOC ModPo opens for another session next week. ModPo = Modern and Contemporary America Poetry. The 10-week course starts out with proto-modernists Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, then moves on through William Carlos Williams, the Imagists, Gertrude Stein, the Beats, and much more. Picasso and Marcel Duchamp get… Continue reading ModPo

Using storytelling in Philosophy teaching videos

This is an essay I wrote for the course Understanding learning in the online environment, which is part of Edinburgh's MSc Digital Education. Video has long been used to support classroom teaching. However, it is only in the last ten to fifteen years that educators have been able to easily produce and distribute their own videos.… Continue reading Using storytelling in Philosophy teaching videos

How should MOOC designers respond to student silence?

I just finished doing a PGCert in Digital Education, and I thought I'd post a few of things I wrote for it here. This essay was written in April 2016 for the course Introduction to Digital Environments for Learning. A teacher in a secondary school classroom raises her voice above the chatter. “Ok everyone, settling down… Continue reading How should MOOC designers respond to student silence?

Standards: sometimes good, sometimes bad

Standardisation Standardisation makes many administrative processes better. If people are submitting forms, it's easier to process those forms when they follow a standard design. If students want to find out the time and place of their lectures, they want that information in a standard way. Technology has a bias towards the pursuit of standardisation, partly… Continue reading Standards: sometimes good, sometimes bad