Bioengineering classroom

Seminars by staff for staff interested in learning and teaching

Dates for your diary

Wednesday, 14:00 to 15:00
  • 9th November 2022
  • 7th December 2022
  • 25th January 2023
  • 22nd February 2023
  • 22nd March 2023
  • 21st June 2023

The Talking Teaching series showcase best practice approaches to teaching from around the College. Anyone with an interest in education can come along to hear from Imperial staff and students, and network with colleagues.

These events generally feature two of our staff members delivering short (10-15 mins) talks with time for Q&A.

Abstracts and recordings can be found below.


16 November 2023

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Enhancing Group Assessment with Peer Review: A Technology-assisted Approach

Lekan Ladipo and Greg Robinson

Peer assessment and review does boost student engagement, reflection and performance along their learning journey. However, administering this to enhance the intended learning objectives with group works may be quite challenging in the absence of suitable education technology to support delivery. In this work, we re-purposed an edtech tool – originally designed to only evaluate group member contribution to a group task – to deliver a strictly peer review assessment on poster-submissions from student-groups within a large class. In conjunction with other functionalities available on our VLE, evidence-informed bespoke solutions were tailored to address the essential requirements for the assessment – including mapping ratings received on each poster-submission to the overall group score with feedback. 

22 March 2023

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Changing Feedback Culture with Reflective ePortfolios by Magda Charalambous  

Dr Magda Charalambous

Magda will give a presentation on the use of existing online tools to help students and tutors to engage in iterative feedback processes that promote action and continuous dialogue. Magda and the team have developed a reflective ePortfolio in Microsoft OneNote that provides a repository for assessed coursework, marks, reflection on feedback, skills development and action plans which she will demonstrate. She will explain the rationale behind the reflective ePortfolio, how it might help change culture around the giving, receiving and use of feedback, and how it has been received by students and tutors. 

The impact of team-based learning on the self-efficacy of neurodiverse students by Laura Collopy 

Laura Collopy

Laura will give a presentation questioning the benefits of team-based learning for neurodivergent students with social communication differences. Laura conducted a research project involving neurodiverse students on the BSc Medical Bioscience course, who are enrolled on a course that focuses on active learning and a 'flipped' classroom approach. She will discuss the importance of self-efficacy in learning, and present results showing the impact of team-learning on the self-efficacy of neurodiverse students.

22 February 2023

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Student Research Network Model

Dr Aaron M. Lett

Aaron will be giving a presentation on the "Student Research Network" model. A learning model and initiative he launched through StudentShapers funding in 2022. This model of learning, delivered by a student-as-partners approach, brings together all students across the college working in a related discipline, providing opportunities for networking, collaboration, community, cross-disciplinary learning, enrichment of perspectives and personal and professional development. The Food Student Research Network launched at ICL in 2022, and there is current international expansion of this network into Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and new Student Research Networks at ICL in the "Drug" and "Vaccine" themes being launched in 2023. Aaron will discuss the learning, successes, challenges and future of Student Research Network models as a form of educational enhancement and enrichment for research-engaged students.

Impact and experience of improving laboratory manuals for Year 1 students

Silke KerruthHiroko Yaguchi, Owen Chan, Cindy Sung, Marlin Li 

Learning basic laboratory and more advanced biomedical techniques can be quite challenging for first year students as they often have little to no experience in working in a research laboratory. The Lab Pod 1 module of the BSc Medical Biosciences (BMB) course in the faculty of medicine takes a hypothesis-driven flipped classroom approach in teaching techniques, like cell viability assays, Western blotting, and qPCR. Over two summers, the teaching team has created videos demonstrating all techniques for students to review before coming to the labs and performing those themselves. However, due to the expert view of teachers, the videos lacked details important for novice learners to be able to perform the techniques. Together with students-as-partners we reviewed these teaching resources and improved them by adding animations, close-up scenes, and interactive knowledge checks. In this Talking Teaching presentation, we showcase our personal experiences of being part of this unique partnership and its outcome and impact.

February 2022

7 December 2022

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Elevating Automated Mathematics Feedback

Dr Peter Johnson, Dr Phil Ramsden, and Dr Karl Lundengard

The presenters will begin with a rationale, the principles on which automated feedback should be developed, and the role of software in its delivery. The presentation will include a brief demo of new software being developed at Imperial, currently being piloted in 8 departments. A 'problem definition' for providing automated feedback will be articulated to identify key challenges in this new area of research. Some early algorithms - now being piloted - will be shared, showing the challenges and the potential benefits. Plans for the future will be shared, and open questions will be asked for the community to discuss (for example, what is good automated feedback?).

23 June 2022

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Assessing Assessment

Marleen de Mul, School of Health Policy & Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam

I am director of the bachelor in health sciences (180 EC). This year we evaluated the curriculum (which has been completely redesigned in 2018-2020 on several domains including assessment. I've look into the whole process of assessment: the organizational aspects (how can we speed up the process of marking, how can we give more efficient feedback on writing assignments) and if the assessment pathways on skills and knowledge are well aligned. My project will also result in a vision on further development of our assessment philosophy. I am inspired by programmatic assessment, but still puzzling how that would work out for university bachelor degrees that do not have a competency profile (yet).

Interdisciplinary Curriculum Review

Haiko van der Voort, Policy & Management, Technical University of Delft

I am leading a curriculum change in an interdisciplinary program. Its inflow consists of around 50% Bachelor students (first group) with a distinct profile and 50% other engineering students (second group). The masters programme builds partly on the knowledge of the Bsc programme. The current curriculum splits both groups: the second group follows 10 ECTS with content of the Bsc programme. The second group follow other courses. It results in a divide, both social and content-wise. How do we deal with this heterogeneity of inflow without splitting the two groups? I am in the middle of the process of change.

9 February 2022

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Going digital: embracing the potential of digital media in education

Hywel Jones, Ollie Inglis, and Sophie Clarke

Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the change of routine has bought several advantages to our work in education technology. We have seen a shift in perspective towards video and digital media in the Faculty of Engineering. The use of video began as a necessity due to remote teaching delivery. Now more than ever, we are seeing staff embracing the potential of video and animation in their modules.  

Digital media has evolved into an integral part of teaching content as it creates rich and engaging learning experiences. We are seeing an increasing demand from teaching colleagues which further supports this trend. 

The Engineering Ed Tech lab team will share learnings and practice from this journey in the hope of inspiring other teaching colleagues to consider digital media.

Intrigued, confused, anxious, excited: What's the value of reflecting on emotion in learning?

Dr Kate Ippolito and Dr Iro Ntonia

As teachers we are aware that students experience an ever-changing shift in emotions as they progress through their studies.  Far from getting in the way of learning, we believe that these emotions are an essential component of learning, especially of the kinds of transformative learning that universities aim to facilitate. 

Our I-Explore STEMM module 'Science of Learning' enables students to gain insight into how humans learn from neuroscientific, psychological and sociological perspectives and apply these ideas towards becoming more self-aware learners.  This provided an unmissable opportunity to engage students in reflecting on their transforming awareness and associated emotions and a strong reflective element is embedded throughout this module’s design, including weekly online learning logs.  

In this presentation we will share anonymised student reflections from these logs to illustrate the role of Imperial students' emotions in learning and to demonstrate the value of this illuminating process for students and teachers.  Although reflection is a useful process, it can be difficult.  Based on our experiences, we will offer suggestions for how you can guide and support student reflection on any aspect of their learning. 

March 2021 - December 2021

8 December 2021

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Physical activity in Lifestyle Medicine and Prevention : do we practice what we

Dr Amy Bannerman

In the Lifestyle Medicine and Prevention module, we teach about the importance of physical activity in health and wellbeing. Last year, with the majority of students and faculty sitting behind cameras for teaching and the general effect of the pandemic – most of us are less active. So we wondered - do we practice what we preach?

This exciting project re-imagined what the student experience could look like as we transition towards new teaching approaches, taking physical activity into account and utilising its benefits to improve learning.

This project acts as a springboard into how we can shape learning experiences and environments to reduce sedentary time and increase physical activity, but also more broadly, poses questions around how we might imagine an environment and culture at that prioritises health and wellbeing.

Promoting inclusion, diversity and success for STEMM students through authentic student stories and evidence-based resources

Dr Tiffany Chiu, Dr Órla Murray, Katarzyna Zukowska, Marine Coispeau

With an increasing number of underrepresented students at Imperial, it is important to foster a diverse and inclusive academic community. Our Studentshapers project built upon 110 in-depth interviews conducted in phase 1 of the SIDUS project, which focused on academic and professional identity development and student sense of belonging. Using this data, we co-produced an illustrated student handbook to Imperial, bookmarks, and posters. These authentic and evidence-based pedagogical resources aim to promote inclusion, educational aspirations, and student success, integrating practical information, educational research, and discussion of the emotional and social elements of university life, such as imposter syndrome.

In this presentation, we will share the rationale for this initiative and introduce these pedagogical materials, including our staff guide to using them, with student-focused activities using the handbook and bookmarks. We will discuss examples of how we have incorporated these resources into different areas of learning and teaching practice and ask for feedback and suggestions for further implementation.

10 November 2021

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Students’ engagement in blended learning

Ioanna Papatsouma, Department of Mathematics

Dr Ioanna Papatsouma planned and led the Maths StudentShapers project on engagement with blended learning in summer 2021. She will be discussing student engagement in the department’s blended learning environment in the academic year 2020-2021, retrospectively looking at changes that have taken place in the last three academic years by presenting the data analysis results of students’ activities in virtual learning environments (Blackboard, Panopto and Piazza). She will present the support tools that the student partners created for current and incoming students, and she will discuss the benefits of the project outputs on the student learning/student experience.


The lab is dead. Long live the lab!

Peter Johnson, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Lockdown turned our ideas of undergraduate lab sessions on their head. For second year undergraduate students studying fluid mechanics we replaced a wind tunnel practical session with a small water flow visualisation activity. We engineered a new bespoke kit and shipped one to each student to use at home. In this presentation we share the rationale for the innovation, a demonstration of the kit (which you can try for yourself in the room), examples of student work, and an evaluation of the activity. We reflect on what we have learned and how future lab sessions on campus will use the new (or old?) model of 'one each', where every student has their own kit. This is a story of hope, where crisis means opportunity, and where E. F. Armstrong's principle that 'individual eyes and hands must be actually and persistently practiced' has found new life in the most unexpected of circumstances.

16 June 2021

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Facilitating asynchronous collaboration and peer scaffolding using a student-led Wiki

In January 2020, a student-led Chemical Engineering Wiki was rolled-out by two undergraduate students (Thomas Nok Cheng and Pierre Walker) with progressive support from staff. Thomas, Pierre and Marsha Maraj (Senior Strategic Teaching Fellow) will join us to talk about this Wiki which was created to facilitate an effective and increased online engagement between students across the globe.

Wiki pages were developed for all Year 1 – 3 undergraduate modules and by May 2021 had over 100,000 views. 90% of the students who used the Wiki found it to be a valuable means of retrieving information, consolidating concepts and preparing for their examinations. These students have also indicated that the Wiki provided additional opportunities for increased collaboration and peer scaffolding during remote teaching and learning.

Opportunities for Active Learning

Y. Andrew, S. Foster, M. Seifikar, V. Tymms, S. Vezzoli

This presentation will provide an overview of an ongoing project to introduce active teaching to the undergraduate physics curriculum through blended learning and interactive demonstrations.

Flipped classroom approaches and teaching resources have been developed and used for several physics courses and modules.  In parallel, over the last three years a bank of experimental demonstrations have been developed for all four years of the undergraduate physics degree, documented and catalogued.  Many of these demonstrations have associated learning cycle questions and evaluation resources, developed with the course leaders for use either in person or remotely.  The effectiveness of both active approaches have been measured and evaluated using surveys, focus groups, interviews, in lecture observation and Mentimeter quiz analyses. Preliminary results will be discussed along with remaining work planned over the next year.

There will be an emphasis on points that could not be covered in our Education Week talk, due to time constraints.

14 April 2021

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Adapt to Postgrad: preparing prospective students

Anna Maria Jones and Danielle Kurtin

Anna Maria Jones (Biomedical Education Transformation Fellow, PGT Academic Development Team) from the Faculty of Medicine will be joined by one of her student partners Danielle Kurtin (current PhD student and previous FoM PGT student) to present the collaborative design, delivery and evaluation of a Faculty-wide online pre-arrival course to support the student transition to PGT study. Adapt To Postgrad (ATP) is a highly active and reflective course designed to effectively set student expectations for Master’s study, not only preparing prospective students for an intensive programme of study, but also equipping students for predominantly remote learning in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Square One: mixed reality learning experiences

Tim Heightman and Thomas Hurkxkens 

Tim Heightman (a physics undergraduate student and lead developer at the DLH) and Thomas Hurkxkens (New Media and Innovation Lead, DLH) will join us to talk about Square One, a recent Imperial College spinout. Square One create mixed reality learning experiences and are backed by the Enterprise Lab’s flagship IVMS scheme. They have so far delivered two products:

  •  An optics lab capable of dynamically modelling the ray and wave-like nature of light to produce lab-grade data on holographic equipment
  • A robotics learning experience to understand the articulation and dynamics of robotic motion and design, giving students the ability to design bodies in augmented reality and visualising the underlying mathematics.

Square One are looking for new staff partners in Imperial for content creation in their summer programme in 2021, in which they will run an “XR Bootcamp” that trains staff and students in how to develop these learning experiences.

10 March 2021

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The Visualisation and Collaboration Platform (VCP)

Stephen Green and Freddie Page

Stephen Green and Freddie Page from the Dyson School of Design Engineering will introduce the work they’ve carried out in collaboration with CHERS on a digital platform to support various aspects of Project Based Learning.  The Visualisation and Collaboration Platform (VCP) streamlines and makes functions ‘visible’ including: project selection and team forming, peer review and assessment, synchronous multi-tutor assessments of student presentations and visibility of project archives.  To-date the work has been piloted with various modules in the Dyson School and within the I-Explore Multidisciplinary Project module.  The team are keen to further explore applications in Project Based Learning across the College.

Building new opportunities for developing fluency and oracy online

Sharon Smith and Liz Chiu

Sharon Smith and Liz Chiu will be talking about their work at the Centre for Academic English building new opportunities for developing fluency and oracy online. They are looking at ways to harness Microsoft 365 apps to match the needs of different learner types and explore how student interaction can be improved in the online environment.

Feb 2020 - Dec 2020

9 December 2020

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Student Cohort Building

Louise Rickard and Sean Conner

Louise and Sean will be talking about the work the Centre for Environmental Policy have done in collaboration with the FONS Digital Media and Communications team to create fun online student profiles. These profiles enabled students to meet virtually and to make connections with each other before the start of term and were intended to contribute to cohort building by enhancing a sense of BELONGING, IDENTITY and FRIENDSHIP in the new MSc cohort, and within the wider department as a whole.

Cohort building via vertical integration

Inkeri Hibbins

Inkeri will be discussing the importance of cohort building via vertical integration through peer tutorials, and the challenges of moving fully online in 20-21. She will provide examples from the Department's summer Student Shapers project, the guides the student partners created for running tutorials online, the larger question of how to approach working collaboratively on mathematics in a remote environment, and whether there are aspects of remote learning we can take forward once we return to "normal".

11 November 2020

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ImpVis - developing interactive visualisations on abstract STEMM concepts

Caroline Clewley

Caroline will join us to talk about ImpVis - a staff-student partnership project to develop interactive visualisations on abstract STEMM concepts. Over 100 of these visualisations are now in use in modules throughout College. In this talk, Caroline will introduce the new public ImpVis website and discuss how you can obtain visualisations for use in your own modules.

Actrivity - a gaming based active learning platform

James Campbell

James will be talking about the development of a gaming based active learning approach using the mobile quiz app Atrivity. Using students as partners the department has adapted and evolved the platform from an application that was more suited to simple rote learning, to a tool for interactive learning. The tool now promotes student self-efficacy and also provides a way for students to monitor their own well-being.

17 June 2020

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Building a sense of belonging in a competitive environment

Alejandro will speak about building a sense of belonging in a competitive environment. Alejandro has been researching how sense of belonging is cultivated across various sectors including the Military, Private, Non-Profit and Sports sectors and how this relates to factors such as excellence, success, failure and inclusivity.

The Biodiversity Challenge - pulling learning out of the classroom and into the real world

Audrey will walk you through the Biodiversity Challenge, a major shift in the teaching about the diversity of life to first year Life Sciences undergraduates. The Challenge pulled the students, and the learning, out of the classroom and into the real world to make a more active, visceral, and hopefully longer-lasting experience.

13 May 2020

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Confidence-Based Multiple Choice Questions

Simon Gerrard

Simon (Chemistry) will be talking about his use of confidence-based multiple choice questions (MCQs) through Blackboard. Designed to increase retention, better address misconceptions, and minimise the effects of guessing, Simon will be presenting an analysis of the results as well as the feedback from his students.

Entrepreneurship Coaching Practice

Harveen Chugh

Harveen (Business School) will be talking about the review of entrepreneurship coaching practice across the Business School, Enterprise Lab and externally, as part of the College’s Learning and Teaching Strategy Fund to transform pedagogy. She will provide tips and implications for coaching practices within the College.

1 April 2020

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Digital teaching is the new black and learning design is the dressmaker

Which comes first the content or the tools?

This presentation will take you through a brief introduction to the pedagogy transformation funded, Attributes and Aspirations Short Course; how we constructed the programme and how we have built an interactive, student focussed course that just happens to be online. We will also discuss how the models we have used can be adapted and applied to other disciplines and scenarios.

Digital delivery of content can get overlooked and regarded as an extra. There is a view that it isn’t a fundamental part of the curriculum and can be seen as just a set of videos. Often, discussions can become bogged down in technical considerations of which platform to use, which tools are supported, will it be compliant with accessibility legislation and copyright law?

In truth, all of these are relevant but digital delivery is so much more.

We are now in the 4th industrial revolution and can no longer differentiate between digital and analogue education. The world is digital. Of course, educationally it is a sliding scale and depending on the needs of your cohort, the focus will be different.

The Attributes and Aspirations short course is primarily online for a wealth of reasons, mostly practical in order to meet the needs of the students. However, it is being designed with a ‘andragogy-first’ approach, that mixes established teaching theories with new ideas on student centred online classrooms and the incorporation of the tools used for career planning.

Giving feedback on clear, accurate writing in a lab report. The Centre for Academic English (CfAE) shares the feedback with Mechanical Engineering.

Brett Harmony

First-year undergraduate writing assignments are often designed to initiate students into practices in their field, including lab work and conventions of reporting. But they are also meant to be well-written and able to communicate clearly to a non-specialist. Feedback on all aspects of such assignments creates a load for both staff and students.

Mr Brett Harmony will present a three-year collaboration with the CfAE and Mechanical Engineering, where CfAE teachers have given the feedback on writing communication for a 2000 word report. Using Turnitin's Feedback Studio and a workforce of remote writing teachers, the CfAE gave timely feedback on 175+ first-year reports. Using evaluations, debriefs, and exportable reports feedback has been streamlined.

Brett is a Senior Teacher of English for Academic Purposes for the CfAE and coordinator of the 3-week Pre-sessional and undergraduate support

12 February 2020

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How can software enhance maths learning?

Shireen Lock (FoE Ed Tech), Dr Phil Ramsden (Maths), and Dr Peter Johnson (Mech Eng)

Our speakers will explain how software can enhance maths learning by freeing the teacher to teach and equipping the learner to learn. Examples of current practice using ‘Mobius assessment’ software (available to all at Imperial) will be shown. Examples include students inputting equations and receiving customised feedback; and how we can change our lesson plans week-by-week based on analytics of student usage.

Chemical Kitchen

 Dr Luke Delmas and Dr Jakub Radzikowski 

Chemical Kitchen aims to provide training to undergraduate students in good laboratory practice, experimental design, and practical skills through food experiments. It is an example of learning across disciplines, where this non-threatening, parallel, and inclusive learning environment is rooted in the strong overlap between the skills and attributes needed by professionals both in science and gastronomy. Dr Luke Delmas and Dr Jakub Radzikowski (Chemistry) have developed a novel practical course for first year chemistry undergraduates in which groups of 15 students work in a hybrid kitchen-lab environment over three sessions prior to conducting their first synthetic chemistry experiment. In this talk, they will describe the developed learning activities and reflect on the experience of the first cohort of students who took the course in winter 2019.

March 2019 - January 2020

15 January 2020

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Pushing the boundaries - Inspiring educators through interdisciplinary simulation in music and surgery

Kirsten co-directs the Department of Surgery and Cancer’s MEd in Surgical Education with Roger Kneebone and will be presenting a case study of an interdisciplinary simulation session their team has developed with the Royal College of Music’s Master’s of Performance Science. Their immersive simulation session allows music and surgeon educators to experience a taste of what practice and performance is like in each other's domain and serves as a trigger to enable exploration of:

  • connections between theory and practice
  • perspectives and practices from another discipline
  • creative and open-ended uses of simulation for learning

Kirsten will share what their team has learned from its pedagogic experiment - including some of the unanticipated applications and benefits.

Conceptualising the ideal university student and its pedagogical implications

Tiffany and Freddie will be presenting on a two year study into staff and student’s interpretations of what it means to be an ‘ideal student’.

Tiffany has found that exploring this topic with staff and students can encourage open discussions about the explicit, implicit and idealistic expectations of students at university.

Tiffany will report on the findings of her study and how this links to her 'ideal' student survey that was most recently trialled by Freddie in the Dyson School of Design Engineering with a short activity during students' course induction.

11 December 2019

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Embedding diverse and authentic assessments across 20 PG Medicine Programmes

Latha will be presenting data on the introduction and spread of diverse and authentic assessments, pre and post curriculum review across 20 PG Medicine programmes.

Making Skills Fit

Katie works with all departments supporting them building skills into curriculum. Over the past two years the collaboration between Mechanical Engineering and The Career Service has evolved and changed, discovering different ways for the department to teach their students transferable skills to complement their technical knowledge. Hear about this journey along with other examples of how departments are building their students skills in curriculum.

13 November 2019

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Implementing active learning in a 1st and 3rd year physics course: investigating student perceptions, and other lessons learned

Jon has been working with Roberto Trotta, Caroline Clewley and Masoud Seifikar to investigate student perceptions of active learning interventions – specifically the use of prereading and in-class polling in partially flipped physics lectures. Jon spoke about their findings so far from focus groups and class surveys, compare the perceptions of students in 1st and 3rd year, and discussed what this means practically for how similar activities should be run to maximise their effectiveness, inclusivity and student buy-in, and implications for scaling these up more widely.

Developing Video Guides and revamping experiment with StudentShapers

Manjula and Mark Oxborrow worked with StudentShapers students (Laura Lain, Louis Kang and Jiyu Jiang ) over the summer to enrich laboratory learning experiences by developing pre-learning video guides and revamping experiments. Manjula, Mark, Jiyu and Laura spoke about how they developed these materials with a view to bridging the gap in students’ practical skills.

19 June 2019

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Immersive Technologies in Education

Professor Omar Matar will tell us about how he and his Group are utilising Virtual Reality (VR) technology for teaching fluid dynamics. VR provides students with a multi-sensory experience of fluid dynamics from within a liquid flow with real-time feedback through touch and sound of velocity, pressure, and stress fields. Using VR facilitates an interactive learning experience, allowing students to visualise the flow phenomena that the mathematical equations describe, and are complementary to traditional lectures.

Lean Learning - applying lean techniques to improve software engineering education

Dr Robert Chatley

Dr. Robert Chatley has been applying the lean and agile techniques typically used in the development of software to the teaching of software engineering at Imperial. Drivers for teaching in this way include the ability to give sustained, high-quality feedback and guidance to all students, even in the face of large class sizes and fostering skills which align well with the needs of industry.

10 April 2019

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Learning Fitness: Empowering Students to Become Efficient, Effective and Resilient Learners

Elizabeth Hauke

Over the last two years, staff and students within the Change Makers field of Imperial Horizons have co-developed their own ‘Skills Manual’ to help define a range of skills that are essential to effective learning and development. Divided into five skill families, these cover many typical ‘skills’ that are seen in higher education literature, programme and module learning outcomes and are often listed as key graduate attributes. However, the skills have been re-imagined by the students to make them more accessible and relevant to their day to day learning. This presentation will focus on skills in the ‘Learning Fitness’ family including time management, managing disagreement, giving and responding to critique and building enduring study habits. Opportunities to embed these into different types of learning activity and assignment will be explored, including use of both contact and non-contact learning encounters.

Gamification: gimmick or game-changer?

James Moss

Although most learning as a young child is achieved through playing games, this approach to learning (and teaching) tapers as a student progresses through the primary, secondary and higher education systems. Gamification in education is the incorporation of game elements into teaching, which may enhance students’ involvement, engagement, peer-to-peer learning and application of knowledge. Our approaches to gamification are deliberately low-tech, and utilise table-top paper-based resources. Sessions are designed to promote collaborative enquiry by providing small groups of students with focal themed tasks of increasing complexity within a central ‘sandbox’ (a shared workspace to which students can freely add, amend or remove ideas).

Students reported sessions to be more engaging that traditional tutorials. They found the structure useful to integrate discrete concepts, promoted active learning and improved understanding of systems physiology. Students [players?] engaged differently with different game elements; some were actively conscious of remaining time and strategies for scoring, whereas others were less immersed in the game characteristics. A range of opinions were collected on group sizing and parallel tasks, with some students preferring splitting tasks and smaller groups, and others preferring to work as a larger group on a single task.

This talk will provide an account of experiences on gamified educational activities being used in the School of Medicine.

13 March 2019

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Can computers do our marking?

Professor Kevin Buzzard

Computers are very good at logic. A typical first year undergraduate on Imperial's mathematics degree is often not as good as a computer, at least when they arrive, because (for pedagogical reasons) the standards of rigour in A-level mathematics are not as high as those at university. It is my job, in the first term of these students' university careers, to teach them what a rigorous logical argument is, and how to justify arguments which at school could be dismissed with "it's obvious" (or sometimes "It's obvious....I think...").

I have been exploring how to use cutting edge "proof verification" technology in my classes, and have been teaching students how to write simple mathematical proofs not with pen and paper but in a new computer language. It is hard, and the outcomes so far have been, to say the least, interesting, and perhaps surprising (it is not often I find myself writing papers with second year undergraduates). I will tell the story of what I've been doing for the last 18 months with our first years.

No mathematical background is required. 

Teaching in collaboration with alumni in industry

Dr Andrew Phillips

Dr Andrew Phillips (Civil and Environmental Engineering) will be speaking about his experience of teaching a module in collaboration with alumni who now work in industry.

Andrew has partnered with alumni to teach the ‘Sketching and Modelling’ module that is taught to first year Civil and Environmental Engineering students. Alumni are employed as 'Visiting Design Fellows' and their feedback shapes the module, focusing the module on skills that the alumni put into practice in industry.

This module is now in its second year of running and Andrew will be reflecting on lessons learnt and the changes that have been implemented based on student feedback

July 2018 - Feb 2019

20 February 2019

Download Marsha Maraj's slides

Download Sohag Saleh's slides

Facilitating collaborative learning in Chemical Engineering:

The value of student-led makerspaces and peer interactions in team-based projects

Marsha Maraj

Engineers will often work in teams to solve complex problems. Collaboration is therefore an integral part of engineering education and has been shown to be a valuable source of self-efficacy, motivation, critical thinking skills and active learning. Managing and embedding collaborative learning within the curriculum can be somewhat challenging and this work examines how we can better support existing classroom collaborative approaches such as problem-based learning (PBL) and how we can also help students develop independent collaborative opportunities outside of classroom activities.

Marsha will discuss her experiences of using PBL to teach mechanical design to chemical engineering students and the importance of peer interactions towards knowledge facilitation, team effectiveness and self-efficacy. She will also share examples of student-led makerspaces (learning environments where students collaborate with peers to pursue projects of personal interest, which are often related to their academic studies and which use advanced technologies) and will go on to examine how these initiatives, supported by departments, can further foster independent learning and improve student experiences.

Marsha is a Senior Strategic Teaching Fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering where she is involved in curriculum review and redesign. She also teaches mechanical design to third-year chemical engineering students.

The practical application of peer-assessment for a summatively assessed teamwork product in the undergraduate medical degree

Dr Sohag Saleh

The vast majority of professional careers require employees to work in an effective team and therefore higher education has a responsibility to teach students how to work within teams. Medicine is no different, with The General Medical Council’s, Outcomes for Graduates (2018) specifically stating that medical students “must learn and work effectively within a multi-professional and multi-disciplinary team across multiple care setting”.

Morrison et al (2010) argues that true teamwork varies from group-work and requires problem-solving of complex topics for active engagement and achieving in-depth learning. They also recommend that “the performance is directly assessed based on the collective work product”. Although it is well established in the literature that assessment drives learning, within the undergraduate medical degree, students often work within groups but are very rarely assessed on the ‘collective work product’.

Here we report the practical application of a peer assessment used on second year undergraduate medical students (n=289) and discuss its success and failures. The peer assessment was originally developed by John Hopkins University and was used within a newly-developed situated learning module named Clinical Research & Innovation where students worked on a supervised group research project that was summatively assessed as a poster presentation.


GMC’s outcomes for graduates (2018). Available from

Morrison G, Goldfarb S, Lanken PN (2010) Team training of medical student sin the 21st century: would Flexner approve? Acad Med; 85:254-259

23 January 2019

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Rebalancing the power dynamic in education and health through coaching conversations

Dr Arti Maini

A modern vision for education includes reference to concepts such as student-centredness, growth mindset, self-efficacy, inclusivity, reflective practice, and empowering students to take responsibility for their learning. What is often less clear is how to translate this vision into practice in day to day interactions between faculty and students. Applying coaching principles and approaches to these interactions offers a way forward to support this translation.

Dr Maini will discuss her work in training medical students and faculty in coaching skills and in developing a strategy to facilitate the development of a coaching culture within the Faculty of Medicine. She will share her research findings on the impact of training medical students in coaching skills and explore the application of these skills to educational, health and leadership contexts. The wider relevance of these skills to socially-accountable conversations will also be discussed, including when working with community organisations, with a view to rebalancing of the power dynamic and creating the foundations for collaborative conversations.

Dr Maini is a GP, Deputy Director for Undergraduate Primary Care Education and Coaching Lead for the School of Medicine. She is also an accredited coach and works as a coach trainer and supervisor.

Imperial MedSTEP studentshaper project: Developing self-tests in an innovative staff – student partnership

Dr Tanvi Agrawal

The ongoing MBBS curriculum review recognized the need for an interactive, user-friendly and expansive self-testing resource for the Year 1&2 medical students, mapped onto the Sofia’s Learning Outcomes, which is able to provide the students with high quality detailed feedback. This led to the development of Imperial MedSTEP, which stands for “Imperial Medicine Self-Tests for Exam Preparation”. This self-testing platform has been recently launched in collaboration with the MBBS study skills team which is led by Dr Mike Emerson.

Dr Agrawal will discuss the design of this project, the steps involved, the hurdles faced and the final project outcomes. The promotional activity associated with this project and way to implement this project across different subject areas in the college will also be discussed. She will then give a tour of the website developed and explain the active learning principles employed. A video developed by her studentshaper student partners discussing their personal experience and the value of active learning in self-testing will also be shown. Finally, she will share the feedback from the student partners on the impact of this project on their learning experience.

12 December 2018

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MIT’s Communication Requirement, Imperial Horizons and I-Explore

Dr Michael Weatherburn

There is substantial evidence that key STEMM institutions are increasingly, and formally, recognising the value that communication-orientated study brings to the learning and career opportunities of STEMM students. The example best-known to Imperial Colleagues will be Imperial Horizons, which has been growing since its launch in 2012 and will soon form part of the I-Explore programme.

This talk seeks to enrich and enhance these developments by discussing MIT’s Communication Requirement, a programme of communication-intensive courses mandatory for all MIT undergraduates. Building on a February 2018 investigation, Dr Michael Weatherburn will elaborate on the MIT Communication Requirement, outline lessons learned from the MIT experience since the 1990s, and describe what aspects of the MIT Communication Requirement are presently being integrated into Imperial Horizons’ learning and teaching.

BSc Medical Biosciences: a fully flipped undergraduate programme underpinned by experiential learning

Dr Ana Costa-Pereira

Dr Ana Costa-Pereira will be speaking about her expeirences of developing a fully flipped undergraduate programme and its underpinning by experiential learning in the Faculty of Mecicine.

21 November 2018

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"Flipping the classroom without spilling": the ongoing trials in Electrical & Electronic Engineering

Dr Adrià Junyent-Ferré

There's an ongoing discussion about how we can tailor our teaching methods to be the most effective for our new generations of students that grew up in the era of video streaming and mobile internet. The Panopto video recordings at Imperial have been found to be very useful during revision but we have registered a concerning drop in attendance to some of our lectures. Dr Junyent-Ferre will talk about his experience delivering a specialised 4th year electrical engineering module using a flipped-classroom approach as an alternative to traditional lectures. This relies on recorded lectures that students revise offline before attending in-person problem sessions. The first trial ran in Autumn 2017 and will continue this year.

‘Going into the unknown’: the role of self-efficacy in aiding the transition to university

Dr Magda Charalambous

The transition to university is a time of great academic and social change that students need to navigate. Dr Charalambous will present the results of research into transition for undergraduate Department of Life Sciences students using Bean & Eaton’s model of student retention as the theoretical framework. The aim of the research was to make recommendations for departmental practice, and with the curriculum review upon us, she would like to share these recommendations as most of them are generalisable to other Year 1 induction programmes.


24 October 2018

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Active learning: how to get students on board

Dr Cynthia Heiner

Research indicates that students learn more in an active learning environment. The learner must make sense of new knowledge and build it into their existing understanding; this is something the instructor cannot do for them.  Thus, active learning methods require students to exert more effort in class. In this talk Cynthia Heiner will focus on ways to help you motivate your students to participate and join in the active classroom, ensuring that everyone gets the most out of their time together.

Cynthia Heiner is a physics education researcher who worked at the University of British Columbia’s Science Education Initiative. Cynthia is now working with Imperial College on our Learning and Teaching Strategy to help implement research-based pedagogies in science courses.

11 July 2018

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Education Initiatives (EI) to Promote Independent Learning

Dr Umang Shah

Modern day teaching and learning approaches focus on student centred, immersed, active learning methods. Student involvement in module design and delivery is considered key, leading to nurturing student-academic partnerships, and enhancing students’ sense of belonging and ultimately ownership.

Here, we present a gaming based active learning approach, which is designed by students, for the students. The approach presented in this study can be employed in the classroom setting, or even for learning reinforcement and revision exercises promoting independent learning. Participatory design based student-academic partnership model presented in this study can be applied to any module designed on the principles of independent learning.

Making tomorrow's doctors today’s teachers

Dr Ged Murtagh

Dr Ged Murtagh from the Department of Surgery and Cancer has been leading on a project that uses year 5 medical students in the process of course and curriculum design. In doing so he has utilised the students’ educational experience and used it as a driver for learning and teaching innovation.

Employing some of the principles of the College’s Centre for Engagement and Simulation Science led by Professor Roger Kneebone, students use high realism simulation, realistic prosthetic materials and professional actors to simulate learning scenarios. All of this was designed to build microcosms of student partnership learning

Dec 2017 - June 2018

13 June 2018

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Exploring the hidden curriculum as a way to ‘getting off the carousel’ of curricular reform

Dr Joanne Harris 

We are all being tasked to renew our curricula in line with the Learning and Teaching strategy, but how many of the proposed changes are actually new? Educators talk about fresh issues and a changing environment which underpin a need for reform but these will frequently be a repackaging of old themes.
A mistake often made is to focus on the formal and informal curricula without considering the systems and structures in which the teaching (and learning) occur, the so-called hidden curriculum.

If we focus our curriculum change only on the formal curriculum we are doomed to what Bloom called ‘reform without change’ (1988).

In this talk I will explore what we mean by the hidden curriculum as it applies to STEM education and as curriculum reformers how we can use that awareness to ensure our curriculum change is not one more turn on the carousel.

16 May 2018

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Mirror Mirror...Can the use of vlogs enhance student reflections?

Dr Elinor Gunning

Reflection is acknowledged as a key skill in education, particularly in the field of medicine, and is encouraged throughout the undergraduate curriculum. Traditionally this takes the form of retrospective written assignments, however advances in technology and social media may provide educators with other options which may be more engaging for students. I will discuss how I have used video-logging (vlogs) and WhatsApp to capture and share student reflections during a yoga and mindfulness module for third year medical students. I will review the potential advantages and pitfalls of this method, and propose a series of top tips for other educators interested in employing this technique.

Mathematics for Machine Learning: Learning and Teaching with Massively Open Online Courses

Dr A. Freddie Page

Imperial College has just launched its flagship Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) in the "Mathematics for Machine Learning", a specialisation of three courses that teaches the prerequisite maths to enable learners to access the wide range of machine learning resources currently available.
In this talk I will describe what can be done when working on an online platform, how this fits within the Learning and Teaching Strategy, and how this could be leveraged for blended learning in courses on campus.

18 April 2018

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CHEMTRACK: Personalised journeys through chemistry

Dr Laura Patel

The aim of CHEMTRACK is to create a programme of chemistry laboratory education, placing students at the centre of the design and implementation of the laboratory activities. CHEMTRACK Modules are a series of practical challenges which enable students to realise their potential as scientists and inventors during their undergraduate studies. Underpinning this new laboratory philosophy is the CHEMTRACK Skills Passport, an electronic framework for capturing student learning across a coherent set of research skills as they pursue their own individual journeys through their self-defined laboratory curriculum. Our progress in the development of this skills passport will be discussed.

Journal of Visual Experiments (JoVE) 

Dr Wayne Mitchell and Dr Maaike Pols

JoVE publishes the first peer reviewed Journal of Visualized Experiments and a library of Science Education videos. Imperial staff members can use JoVE when teaching key STEM concepts and fundamental laboratory techniques.

Dr Maaike Pols, a curriculum specialist with JoVE will introduce JoVE and the content that Imperial staff members currently have access to. She will also talk about some of the case studies JoVE has been involved with, showing how using videos in learning affects student’s confidence and test results.

Dr Wayne Mitchell will reflect on his experience using JoVE resources as teaching aids in a short course he developed for the Department of Medicine (Mastering Laboratory Skills). His students found that the resources were useful in helping them to understand not only the principle but also how it related to scientific research.

21 February 2018

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The Imperial College Advanced Hackspace: Turning Ideas into a Reality for Staff and Students

Professor Oscar Ces

Imperial College Advanced Hackspace (ICAH)’s vision is to allow any member of Imperial’s community to develop their ideas into reality.  Since its launch in mid-2014, ICAH has transformed the ideation and prototyping landscape at the college, growing to over 3000 members from all Faculties and Departments across the college, from medics to scientists to engineers to business students and future technology leaders.

ICAH gives Imperial College students and staff access to a unique suite of prototyping technologies and manufacturing equipment, training courses, workshops, design studios and laboratories around the college campuses.

This network of spaces, which is one of the largest of its kind in the world is home to cutting edge commercial prototyping technologies and pioneering advances from within the college ecosystem that enable the Hackspace to tackle the full spectrum of making in its broadest sense. From additive manufacturing through to robotics, electronics, microfluidics, synthetic biology, metalwork, woodwork and molecular synthesis-a unique one-stop workshop facility.  This technology framework is complemented by large-scale hackathons, training workshops, industry challenge events, bespoke mentoring support, ideation sessions and technology showcases.

Working alongside start-ups and commercial partners, the diverse members of ICAH rapidly convert research ideas into breakthrough prototypes faster than ever before, addressing societal and economic challenges.

IMPLEMnt: developing communities of practice: A call to action

Katie Stripe and James Moss

The National Heart and Lung Institute (Faculty of Medicine) received a grant from the Excellence Fund in Learning & Teaching Innovation 2017 to develop a community site to help teachers navigate their way through today’s technology saturated world in order to more effectively use technology in their teaching.

IMPLEMnT is an online project which hopes to empower teachers to create original resources which support blended learning. Phase one was the development of a web framework to collect and catalogue technologies used in teaching and learning with examples of educational good practice. Phase 2 aims to use that framework to build relationships between the pods of teaching innovation across the college network and collaboratively build content for the site while simultaneously creating a community that will benefit from the content.

We are now offering a challenge to the teaching community of Imperial to co-create content and build networks across departments to leverage our shared expertise to enhance the experience of our teaching staff and consequently of our students.

17 January 2018

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Designing Inclusive and Participatory Curricula

Dr Elizabeth Hauke

Based on six years experience developing interactive learning experiences with students in the Imperial Horizons programme, Dr Elizabeth Hauke will explore some key curriculum design features that build inclusivity and student participation into the structure and delivery of the curriculum.

With examples including setting expectations for the module with learning contracts, engaging students in continuous feedback about their own and others’ learning needs and collaboratively formulating learning outcomes and assessment criteria.

Professional skills: let’s be strategic

Dr Sophie Rutschmann

Reading papers and presenting data are two of the main activities we do as scientists. We have often learnt them “on the job” and might expect our students to have done the same. However, this might be a dangerous assumption when working with our international Master students who come from varied underground backgrounds. Using her experiential knowledge, Dr Sophie Rutschmann will present the “professional skills” sessions she has developed to hopefully improve students’ efficiency and impact when reading and presenting data. 

13 December 2017

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Online visualisations for education

Dr. Caroline Clewley

This summer, Dr Caroline Clewley worked with a team of Python coding UROP students to develop a suite of visualisations.

The visualisations target abstract key concepts within Physics and other STEM subjects which students struggle to gain a deep conceptual understanding. These abstract concepts have applications in many courses across College and examples include: vector algebra, calculus and differential equations.

Online visualisations are versatile teaching tools which can be implemented during lectures to explain difficult concepts, used with an associated problem sheet for tutorials or coursework, or allow students to explore concepts in preparation for flipped lectures.

Dr Clewley is now trialling the visualisations in various learning settings and investigating their effectiveness in different lecture courses. The project has already received funding for another year in order to create a multi-departmental UROP team in the next summer break, working on concepts for lecture courses across College.