Edinburgh University Students’ Association’s Student-Led Teaching Awards are back to recognise outstanding members of learning and support staff. After a challenging year for everyone, we’re celebrating our worthy nominees by shouting about their successes across our digital platforms.
What is your full name?
What is your job title?
Senior Lecturer in Philosophy
What school or service do you work in?
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role.
I’ve been at Edinburgh since 2011 (originally as a postdoc, later as faculty). I’m currently the Undergraduate Director for Philosophy, responsible for the delivery and assessment of all undergraduate philosophy courses.
What does it mean to you to have been nominated for a Teaching Award this year?
It’s very touching. This year there has, of course, been less opportunity to interact with students and it was harder to know how teaching was going. It’s nice to get some positive feedback for how I organised and delivered the teaching on this course.
What’s your favourite part of your role and working with students?
Administratively I love finding ways to organise things to make them better for faculty, students, and administrators. As a teacher, I love connecting abstract philosophical issues to things that students care about to show they how they matter.
How have you adapted your approach to teaching and supporting students under the Hybrid Model this year?
I turned my usual 2-hour seminars into lecture recordings and asynchronous activities plus 1-hour tutorials. I gave the students a weekly plan that detailed exactly what they should do, in what order, with optional extension tasks. I tried to give them a wider variety of tasks involving a wider range of sources than usual – they watched films, read short stories, listened to podcasts – to provide a substitute for the enrichment that normally comes from discussions at, and just after, class. I also adapted a creative assignment to make that online and turned my usual quizzes into online quizzes.
What’s been the biggest challenge in your role this year?
What would you say to the student(s) who nominated you, or students who are considering submitting a nomination for a staff member who has had an impact on them?
Thank you! It’s much appreciated, especially as the usual kinds of positive feedback in teaching (the looks on students’ faces when you see them *get* something that you’re trying to get them to see, the little comments during class, the discussion before and after class have all been much harder or impossible). Teaching online can feel extremely alienating, lonely, and detached, so I’d really urge people who found their courses valuable to let the faculty know that (by whatever means).
To find out more about the Teaching Awards and browse nomination categories, please visit the Students’ Association’s website.