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CUDiM/CHEF Talk: Participatory and playful approaches to analogue, digital and online education: some future directions

Joint external seminar on future trends and potentials in participatory analogue, digital and online education hosted by Center for Teaching Development and Digital Media in collaboration with the Centre for Higher Education Futures.   This seminar focuses on potentials in adopting more participatory and playful approaches and attitudes when designing for and engaging students in higher education. Particularly, it will focus on the potentials of adopting a participatory playful approach for widening participation in HE, encouraging student engagement and designing for participation in online education – also on a massive scale such as found in e.g. MOOCs. The seminar itself will give examples of and demonstrate this approach.

07.03.2017 | Pia Gjermandsen Andersen

Dato tir 28 mar
Tid 14:00 16:00
Sted Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media (CUDiM), Building 5620/139, Paludan-Müllers Vej 48, 8200 Aarhus N

John Lean, PhD Fellow

Alex Moseley, Educational Designer, Leicester Learning Institute, University of Leicester

Talks by:
PhD Fellow John Lean, Education and Social Research Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University and
National Teaching Fellow and Educational Designer Alex Moseley, Leicester Learning Institute, University of Leicester and   


  • 14:00: Welcome and introduction
  • 14:05-14:55: “Analogue approaches to digital universities: Exploring university participation through play” with PhD Fellow John Lean
  • 14:55-15:05: Short break & coffee
  • 15:05-16:00: “Scoping and designing future online higher education” with Alex Moseley
  • 16:00-18:00: Wine reception

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John Lean:
Analogue approaches to digital universities: Exploring university participation through play

Education and play are both underpinned by questions of participation; what is it to participate in play and education, how do we encourage participation, and how can participation in play encourage participation in education? In UK universities, widening participation to students who historically would not have attended is an accepted political and institutional goal, but is frequently understood as a policy problem solved by ‘raising aspirations’ of school-leavers and attempting to admit a greater number of students from minority groups and low socio-economic backgrounds (Thomas, 2001). This approach is problematic because it uncritically accepts that universities’ cultures and methods are something to be aspired to, and that potential students must adapt in order to be admitted. A more critical approach would focus less upon the process of how universities encourage potential students to participate and more upon how their participation might transform the university itself (Burke, 2012).

By using a concept of participation in play, in particular one focused on the interactions between the ‘magic circle’ and the ‘real world’ (Huizinga, 1970; Salen and Zimmerman, 2003; Consalvo, 2009), and between the digital and the analogue, I will present an approach to better understand widening participation in education. I will use play as a metaphor for the way in which students participate in education, as well as a practical guide for how universities might respond to this by transforming pedagogy.

This approach raises further questions of whether the ‘digital’ aspect of digital play matters, and whether increasing participation in analogue games as well as digital might reflect new forms of participation in play and education. Beyond this, it also encourages a reflection upon the ways in which both digital and analogue play have influenced the beginnings of my own research as an educational practitioner.
In this interactive session, I will present my preliminary thoughts on a design for a playful model to be used with first-year students, before encouraging discussion of digital and analogue play and their roles in widening university participation.

Alex Moseley:
Scoping and designing future online higher education

The online higher education market is expanding across the world, with new providers joining the pre-existing established university and commercial providers. Fuelling this interest has been the rise of MOOCs and other free or cheap online courses, that provide learners with engaging experiences that might not match up well against the more traditional formal degree courses offered online.

This talk & workshop will begin with a board game, used to help course teams design efficient, effective and robust programmes for online and distant learners. Through the game, we will begin to explore the contexts, approaches and technologies that are available to modern higher education providers. Following that, we will discuss the rise of MOOCs, and the lessons they are teaching us about engaging learners through social interaction on a mass scale. I will talk through the approach we are taking within the University of Leicester, the second largest provider of postgraduate distance learning courses (after the Open University) in the UK, to design and deliver a range of different courses, from free to full accredited programmes.

Finally, we will cover authentic approaches to course and assessment design: connecting the curriculum to the modern learner, who is working within their own professional context whilst studying; and who needs their education to connect them into modern professional approaches and skills.


National Teaching Fellow and Head of Curriculum Enhancement Alex Moseley, Leicester Learning Institute, University of Leicester
Alex Moseley is a National Teaching Fellow, and Head of Curriculum Enhancement at the University of Leicester, where he has had long experience as both practitioner and researcher of course design and development for higher education. He has particular interests in online and distance education, student engagement, and provision of effective research skills and student induction. His principal research area is in games based learning; he has co-authored Using Games to Enhance Teaching and Learning (Routledge, 2012) and New Traditional Games for Learning: A Case Book (Routledge, 2013) and has suggested key features of online immersive games which can be transferred to higher education to ensure high engagement and community development. He designs games for education and museums, was part of the  team behind the first charity Alternative Reality Game, Operation: Sleeper Cell, chairs the Association for Learning Technology special interest group on Games and Learning, and co-organises the Playful Learning cross-sector conference. Website: http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/lli/about/staff-profiles/alex-moseley


PhD Fellow John Lean, Education and Social Research Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University
John Lean is currently working towards his PhD at the Education and Social Research Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research focuses on the use of play in Higher Education, in particular how playfulness can contribute to the personal development of students and transform their experiences of university. Prior to starting his research in 2016, John worked in education for ten years as a Philosophy and Humanities teacher, as a teacher-trainer for a project-based learning organisation and in university widening participation.

Organiser: Rikke Toft Nørgård, Associate professor, Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media (CUDiM), Arts, AU

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Forskningsarrangement - TDM, Seminar, Tale, Arts, Hovedområder