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Academic forum

Semester 2: This event was cancelled due to COVID-19. 

Understanding mental health and mental wellbeing support routes for students

Previous open forum events

Information from previous Academic Forum events is available via the links below:

Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP): 8 October 2019

A presentation and discussion was given by Professor Ed Coyle, originator and pioneer of Vertically Integrated Projects (VIPs) at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

VIPs are available at 35 universities worldwide and using the Strathclyde example, Professor Steve Marshall illustrated how VIP modules work within a Scottish curricular model.

Participants were then given the opportunity to engage in discussion with the presenters on their experience of VIPs. 

A powerpoint and presentation are provided: 

Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) (PowerPoint, 28,298 KB)

Vertifically Integrated Project (VIP) Presentation

Living Labs in the Curriculum: 17 April 2019

The Academic Forum considered the experience of Living Lab modules at the University of Edinburgh.  These are team-based interdisciplinary credit-bearing modules that adopt a Learning by Developing approach to pedagogy. The framework was initially developed and delivered in a masters-level module for Design Informatics in 2014, where students were asked to develop innovative solutions to ‘wicked problems’ in the city, using multiple datasets and participatory design methods to inform their approach. The module started from the premise that new solutions should always closely involve input from users, and as far as possible should take place in real world contexts rather than in contrived laboratory settings. Students were encouraged to rapidly prototype project ideas, testing and measuring their effectiveness, refining them or throwing them away as required.

In 2016, this pedagogical approach was adapted to a new module for first and second year undergraduates, and is again being offered this semester as Data, Design and the City.

Edinburgh Living Lab (PDF, 10,971 KB)

Making Things Happen: Enterprise Education and Institutional Change: 14 February 2018

This Academic Forum was delivered by Dr Gareth Trainer, Head of Enterprise Education at the University of Newcastle, and focused on the links between enterprise education and institutional culture, and looked at how enterprising capabilities can be introduced into the curriculum.

The impact of environment and culture on the success or otherwise of any new venture is widely recognised, and this workshop explored the effects of these on the development of enterprise education. In these circumstances it is not uncommon to find educators using their personal enterprise to affect change in the support environment provided by their institution and beyond.

Using the story behind the development of enterprise education at Newcastle University to explore ways in which educators can not only enhance the employability and self-efficacy of their students but work together to shape an institution in which an enterprising approach to learning and teaching is supported and can become regarded as the norm.

Academic Forum February 2018 (PDF, 1,496 KB)


Enhancing Effectiveness through Enterprise Education: November 2017


As higher educators, ‘we are trying to tackle the ‘wicked’ problem of preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that have not yet been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t know are problems yet’ (Jackson 2008).


To face this challenge, we need our students and graduates to be enterprising: able to spot and respond to opportunities by having ideas, and the skills and confidence to do something about them. Enterprise education develops your students’ capability to succeed in being enquiring, deep learners, and contributes to making them successful graduates, equipped to face the challenges of their future careers.


This workshop explored the value of providing enterprising learning experiences for students, with discussion and sharing of some approaches to help do this successfully.

Academic Forum Nov 17 (PDF, 589 KB)

What's the use of lectures? 09 November 2016

Beginning with a brief overview of Donald Bligh’s research in his book ‘What’s the use of lectures?’ the focus of this event was to explore different approaches of ‘doing’ lectures, and to explore the effectiveness and applicability of these different approaches. Participants were given an opportunity to discuss and share their ideas and thoughts in small groups. Slides for three presentations (PDF, 2,481 KB) are three presentations (PDF, 2,481 KB), as well as a video for the fourth presentation.


Teaching-led research: 17 February 2016

Teaching and research go hand in hand at St Andrews and we often speak about research-led teaching. Does inspiration also flow in the other direction? How often is our research led into new areas or enlightened by our teaching? During this event, our speakers explored this question taking examples from their own practice. A keynote address by one of our most successful and prominent researchers, Professor Steve Reicher FBA of the School of Psychology and Neurosciences, opened the event. His talk was followed by four short presentations in which recipients of the University’s Teaching Development Fund discussed the relationship between their teaching and research, referring to the projects that were funded by their awards.
The aim of the event was to share ideas, celebrate good work, encourage Teaching Development applications and inspire further connections between the two most important aspects of the University’s mission.

Diversity and inclusion in learning and teaching within Higher Education 11 November 2015

The focus of the academic forum held in Semester 1, AY 2015/16 was diversity and inclusion in learning and teaching within Higher Education. Professor Ann Phoenix from University College London explored some of the issues and challenges faced by institutions in this area. As a result of this event, the University is now looking at ways to address some of these issues at a practical level.  The presentation slides are available here: Diversity & Inclusion (PDF, 1,437 KB)

Making assessment feedback work for you 18 February 2015

In response to the need to improve student engagement and satisfaction with feedback, and to encourage the provision of feedback that supports longitudinal development, an open forum held in December 2012 was dedicated to the use of feedback for learning; drawing upon an interactive student workshop designed by Edinburgh Napier University called 'Making feedback work for you'.

The workshop did not cover the well-trodden territory of what constitutes well designed and delivered feedback, but instead addressed some of the key psychological aspects that effect how receptive and self-motivated a student may be to acknowledging and acting upon feedback. The workshop and its key concepts were extremely well-received, and the intervention was subsequently piloted in the Schools of Classics and Computer Science in Academic Year 2013-14.

An open forum was held in February 2015 to update participants on the outcomes of the pilot project, and explore ways in which aspects of the intervention could be offered to all students in the University. There was wide spread support for rolling out the intervention, either by embedding in the curriculum, or as a bolt-on via workshops delivered by Academic skills Coordinators. These ideas and other considerations raised at the event are currently being explored by CAPOD in consultation with the Proctor's Office.

Further information on the pilot is available via the evaluation report (PDF, 1,011 KB) and the presentation slides (PDF, 483 KB) from the open forum held in February 2015.

'Diversity in Learning and the Academy' 23 April 2014

The focus of this Open Forum was to discuss issues related to diversity and ethnic disadvantage within the UK HE sector and how the University is attempting to address diversity related issues (eg ATHENA SWAN), respectively.

Professor Andrew Pilkington (University of Northampton) and Sukhi Bains (Equality and Diversity Officer, University of St Andrews) presented on these issues.  At a later LTC meeting, it was agreed to create more opportunities to discuss diversity in learning and teaching pedagogy and ways in which to create an intellectual environment and culture that supports diversity.  For more information contact Dr Gurch Sanghera,

The developing use of technology in teaching at St Andrews’: 24 April 2013

The focus of this Open Forum was to discuss the current and future desirable uses of technology in learning and teaching, and what the University needed to put in place to allow this to happen.

A number of presentations highlighted some of the useful things currently being done with assistance from technology, and colleagues discussed where we as an institution may wish to go. The presentations were followed by a number of group discussions.

‘Making Feedback work for you’: December 2012

The focus of this Open Forum was to discuss ways to improve students’ action-orientated responses to academic feedback. The session was presented by Anne MacNab from Edinburgh Napier University.

Since the Open Forum, two Schools have participated in a pilot scheme introducing both staff and students to the key principles of the intervention during Semester 2, AY 2013-14. More information is available from Ros Campbell in CAPOD.

The presentation is available here: Feedback for learning (PowerPoint, 2,948 KB)

General enquiries

Ros Campbell
Academic Policy Officer (Quality)
Proctor's Office
+44 (0)1334 46 3600