Supporting First-Year Transitions into Higher Education (STEM)

The experiencing of transitioning to and starting university is a very individual one, with some students lacking the cultural capital needed to access teaching and learning within higher education.

This project proposes to explore, understand and create an induction “process” for students transitioning to university, with the aim of allowing students to take ownership of their experience, as well as gain an awareness of the responsibilities expected of them in their new role as students.

Misc. Projects on Education and Pedagogy

There are various aspects of education and pedagogy that are worth thinking about and considering. I am currently involved in a number of projects looking at a number of concepts such as authenticity, inclusivity, entrepreneurship education and client-led teaching.

Exploring Communication within Pair Programming

Visit the project website at pairprogramming.co.uk

Pair programming is a method for software development that favours informal and immediate communication over more traditional work methods. Several studies and user accounts indicate that the end error content produced by pair programmers is lower, and that the designs produced are better. The nature of this method is that the programmers constantly communicate ideas to each other; however, little work has been done to study intra-pair communication.

The main aim of this research was to understand how the communication experience within the pair impacted their programming. Following an evaluation period with both expert and novice pairs, a collection of guidelines were extracted, which could be used to improve a pair’s experience of their communication. This work was published in a number of papers, and a thesis at the University of Dundee entitled Towards an Understanding of Communication within Pair Programming.

 

GILS: Group Work in Informal Learning Spaces

How do individuals within a group communicate with each other? Initial research shows that it is quite difficult for some people to voice disagreement or opinions in their group, for a variety of reasons. This project looks at several ways of gathering anonymous feedback from within the group, such as a web-based system and several texting tools, whilst also allowing the group to visualise this data to improve their collaborative efforts.

 

rateMyLab

As a spiritual successor to GILS, the rateMyLab project aimed to use tablet devices to get instant and anonymous feedback from students within a “lab-based” practical session, with regards to their learning experience. Following a comparison of a number of tablet devices, the following questions were considered: Did students feel that previous lectures had sufficiently prepared them to tackle a practical session? How did this impact their future learning experience?

 

GENIE: Games to Enhance Natural Interactive Education 

My Honours dissertation consisted of working with autistic children. After several user-centred sessions with the children and their teachers, software was produced to tackle a problem in the classroom: to allow the children to elicit and learn new vocabulary through simple computer-based games. This research also presented an opportunity for me to work with a fellow undergraduate student, and allowed us to collaborate on each others’ projects to explore the differences between user-centred design and the more traditional waterfall development lifecycle.