As we all know by now, when it comes to academia, I’m pretty chill. I’m both easy and breezy, and I am hardly vengeful at all. So it takes a lot to make me sit down and type furiously at this keyboard brimming as I am with righteous indignation. Although the fact that an earlier post was exactly that does kinda undermine my argument… Anyway,  a couple of times recently, I’ve been presented with the same frustrating argument that I’ve heard countless times before. And…Continue Reading “That’s my secret, I’m always angry…”

While I was having a bit of a digital clear-out before the Christmas break, I stumbled across this piece which I had written back in 2017. To be honest, I’d totally forgotten that I had written this and I thought it’d be interesting to revisit it in light of the developments that have occurred during the three years that have followed, and in particular with regard to the sudden embrace of digital tools that the pandemic has forced upon the sector. It was written for…Continue Reading “Developing and disseminating digital tools – 3 years on…”

We’ve pivoted. We’ve shifted. We’ve migrated. Take your pick – but whichever one you go for, university academic staff have moved our face-to-face teaching online to allow us to support our students during our various COVID lock-downs. But now a number of friends and colleagues who work at other universities have been told to start thinking about increasing the online delivery of degree courses. And they’ve got the summer to do it all in! Now when I was Associate Dean (Learning & Teaching) in SSED…Continue Reading “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads…”

Just because it’s sunny here, doesn’t mean that I’m not working hard! At the start of this year’s AAFS, I attended a day-long workshop called High-Impact Practices in Forensic Science Education. It was Chaired by Gina Londino-Smolar and Dr Karen S. Scott and was supported by the Council of Forensic Science Educators.  The main aim was for attendees to: “learn how high-impact practices can be used in forensic science education and discover how to adapt their courses using common programing for students by: (1) identifying…Continue Reading “What are High-Impact teaching practices?”

When my twelve year old called me a nerd recently, I pointed out that ‘nerd’ pays the bills. And then pointed out that he was an even bigger nerd than I was. And then we laughed, high-fived and went to do our respective homework because that’s how we roll. Clearly, he’s not wrong. And gaming is where he usually points this out to me. The resurgence of Dungeons and Dragons, the fact that Warhammer is now worth over £1 billion, and that tabletop gaming generally…Continue Reading “Choose your own adventures…”

Am I the greatest forensic anthropology lecturer in the world? No. But do I get up every day, go to work and strive to be the best lecturer that I can? Also no. But I do make a token effort to get people to learn. This can take different forms, depending on the context and the learners we are working with. And now that I think about it, I’d say that most of my teaching time over the past couple of years has actually been…Continue Reading “MOOC the week…”

Well, it’s official. Tim Thompson has left the building. And entered another one. 100 metres away. On the same campus. This seemed more dramatic when I started… As some of you may know, the School of Science, Engineering and Design is no more. We’ve had a bit of a restructure here at Teesside, and the School that was once my home has been split into its three component parts and spread across the rest of the Institution. Engineering heads over to the new School of…Continue Reading “Parting is such sweet sorrow…”

Croeso! Which Google Translate reliably informs me means ‘Welcome’ in Welsh. I’m in Cardiff, FYI, so this is not as random as it seems. I’ve spent the last couple of days down here in Wales working with colleagues at the University of South Wales. Last year, Dr Stewart Eyres (Deputy Dean of Computing, Engineering & Science) reached out to the Teaching Excellence Alliance Peer Review College for some support with their work to develop their Foundation Years. Since I was just coming out of my…Continue Reading “Sharing is caring…”

One of the things that I’ve been trying to do since taking on this AD role is improve the learning spaces in our School. We’ve got great labs, but our more flexible spaces are poor by comparison. To be honest, it’s been a key aim of my annual L&T plan for two years and strongly supports our TU Future Facing Learning framework, but this year I’ve been able to extract some funds from the School to address this issue. Where to start though? The relatively…Continue Reading “Space. The final something-or-other…”

So, I almost knocked over both Emily Thornberry and Floella Benjamin in one day… Forensic science is in a challenging place at the moment. The well-publicised closure of the national Forensic Science Service and the rapid marketisation of forensic provision has left the sector a little winded. Combined with the complexity of contracting out forensic services, the increasing demands associated with ISO accreditation, the budgetary cuts, the fragmentation of research and so on, it is little wonder that the criminal justice system and the public…Continue Reading “House of Lords Science & Technology Committee – Inquiry into Forensic Science”