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…”

So, I’m a terrible person. Hilarious, but terrible. I was in the kitchen last week and saw the remnants of my youngest’s birthday cake (made by the uber-talented Becky Gowland) and I couldn’t help but notice how it looked a bit like a slice through bone. Obviously my next thought was to take a picture and put it on Twitter to see if I could trick everyone and thus make myself feel smarter than the masses. And then it took off a bit too much…Continue Reading “This is the way – Baby Yoda and the power of the Force (on decision-making)”

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…”

Well, seeing as the whole world is rapidly heading to hell in a hand-basket, it seems entirely appropriate that we’ve been road-testing a game called Catastrophic. Now, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I like games and gaming, and I think there are aspects of this that can enhance our teaching sessions. Over the years I’ve attempted to embrace this, with varying degrees of success. For every Minecraft or Twine success, there’s a car-crash tumbleweed-strewn session I’d rather forget… In fact the last…Continue Reading “Catastrophic: The Card Game”

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…”

Now this may come as a surprise to many of you, and indeed those of a nervous disposition should sit down for this, but I am not perfect. And neither is my teaching. Sometimes my enthusiasm and personal interests get the better of me, and we end up going way off point in class. Thankfully we use a module evaluation process here which allows our students to go, “Tim, what the hell..?”. One of the comments I got last year, from a few students and…Continue Reading “Forensic Science and Climate Change”