Digital Placemaking: how we use media across our learning spaces

Date: Wednesday 31st May 2017
Host: Edge Hill University

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Organiser: MELSIG (@melsiguk) in partnership with EHU, ELESIGNW & ALTNWESIG
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Description: The event considered how learning space becomes learning place through the use of digital and social media in and out of the classroom. Academics and developers explored how the learning space is becoming richer through blended and more personal and networked approaches.

The discourse around learning place relates the,

“salient qualities of specific learning places to successful learning activities, enjoyable learning experiences and good learning outcomes. Such connections between place and learning can be subtle and powerful.” – Ellis & Goodyear (2016)

The day involved presentations and workshops which allowed us to hear about and develop our thinking on innovative blended learning spaces.

The focus of the event relates to the range of ongoing MELSIG interests and, as always, provided an excellent networking opportunity.

Thank you to Edge Hill University for hosting the day.

What digital placemaking means to me

The concept of digital placemaking was briefly introduced.

Innovation at Edge Hill

  • Kate Johnson and Helen Street – UX and the VLE: Looking at the VLE through students eyes (15 mins)
  • Carl Simmonds – Using video to engage students in other spaces (15 mins)
  • Phil Dixon and Derek Murray – Future gazing, learning spaces through VR and AR technologies (15 mins)

Innovation in the region and beyond

Cityscape as a metaphor for assessment practice: report from an institutional evaluation of e-submission and e-marking

Tunde Varga Atkins, University of Liverpool

  • Esther Jubb e-portfolios as digital place. University of Cumbria.
  • Philip Rothwell – A review of the current provision of ‘in class’ technology,  Liverpool John Moores University (20mins)

Virtually Connecting

Tune In! – experience Virtually Connecting over lunch wherever you are

The Twalk

Learning Space Twalk
Walking, talking and tweeting – we walked the Edge Hill campus for an hour. We were joined by colleagues globally who followed a similar walk using this itinerary.

You are encouraged to organise your own #Twalk on your own campus if you can’t be here at Edge Hill. Here are some tips that will help you to plan it and connect around the hashtag #SIGCLANS. Here is an example guide for your walkers at your place

Virtual Connecting: Place and displacement

Maha Bali, Center for Learning & Teaching at The American University in Cairo

What we can learn about place from Virtual Connecting (VC). VC is a global network of committed open educationalists who will discuss how their global hangouts foster digital placemaking.

A Sociologist walks into an arts centre… Getting “Beyond the Paywall”

Dr Paul Jones, University of Liverpool
Reflecting on my residency at Bluecoat, the UK’s oldest arts centre which is housed in Liverpool’s oldest building, in this talk I aim to share some strategies for creation of spaces for education ‘beyond the paywall’ (Back, 2008). (20 mins)

Digital Placemaking in a Hybrid Learning Space

Andrew Middleton, MELSIG and Sheffield Hallam University

In this workshop, we will create, populate and publish a map of our hybrid learning space. A series of group challenges will explore the different types of formal and non-formal spaces we use for learning and how they connect to create a lifewide learning space.

Examining how coalescent spaces can transform in-class and out of class learning

John Couperthwaite

How can we learn to blend live, in-class learning between physical and digital spaces? And how can teaching pedagogies adapt to new opportunities? This session will examine how digital advances in classroom learning are creating ‘coalescent spaces’ (White, 2016) in which students are empowered to collaborate through activities, discussion and feedback during class. Teachers also benefit from greater engagement through disrupting passive teaching approaches and being better informed of learner interaction and behaviours. Not only can this establish more engaged communities of learning in class, but it also encourages greater sequencing of learning before, during and after class based on the non-linear affordances of digital spaces.

Using Lecture Capture to Support Students with Disabilities

Stuart Philipson, University of Manchester

Software developments at the University of Manchester now mean that every lecture theatre and classroom space is used for the mass production of digital media to support students with disabilities. This short presentation will cover how we are using traditional lecture capture in a new way to provide targeted support to over 2,000 students with disabilities. Our developments will be freely available later this year as part of the open source system, Opencast.

Coding or Bust: The HiPy Story

Robert Treharne, University of Liverpool

HiPy (“Hello Python”) is a grassroots, student and researcher-led initiative that facilitates the learning of coding skills by helping to overcome the challenges of starting from scratch. The overarching aim of the project is to provide an open, warm and welcoming community for anyone who wants to learn how to code FOR FREE.The initiative relies heavily on the use of social media for promotion and the sharing of resources. It also uses a novel “Hive Learning” methodology to ensure that highly effective training is delivered using minimal resources.

Undergraduate use of video resources

Martin Gillie, University of Manchester
A variety of video resources  – lecture capture, key concept videos and tutorial solution videos – are in increasingly wide use.  This talk will present the findings of a research project examining how undergraduate engineering students use these resources, how they are best developed,  and where the benefits and disadvantages of using them in teaching lie.

Facilitating innovation through collaboration: Central Teaching Laboratories’ Education Brokers

Dr Cate Cropper (University of Liverpool)

The Central Teaching Laboratories at the University of Liverpool have become a multi award winning centre of innovation in laboratory teaching. Acting as education brokers, the CTL academics continue to support innovations such as new experiments, interdisciplinary projects and co-curricular events. Key to the success of the team are their modes of collaboration; co-location both physically and digitally. This presentation will provide a whistle-stop tour of CTL, innovations therein and the role of digital media in their achievement.


We shared what we have found out to make a record of the key take away points from today’s activities.


Ellis, R.A. & Goodyear, P. (2016). Models of learning space: integrating research on space, place and learning in higher education. Review of Education, 4(2), June 2016.