Goldsmiths wins funding to explore innovative learning and teaching

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Funding worth nearly £90,000 has been given to Goldsmiths, University of London as part of a sector-wide initiative to support experimental learning and teaching.

Two projects at Goldsmiths were chosen by HEFCE to receive the support from its Catalyst Fund.

Some £47,830 was given to the CodeCircle project in the Department of Computing, which will see brower-based creative coding leading to deeper learning and wider skills acquisition.

A further £40,000 was given to the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship (ICCE) for the project Innovation in Employability and Enterprise – which seeks to help develop learning experiences to encourage students to have successful freelance or portfolio careers in the creative industries.

The CodeCircle project will apply Goldsmiths’ unique approach to computing. Led by Matthew Yee-King in the Department of Computing, the scheme aims to develop an education-focussed, online creative coding platform which embodies the department’s interdisciplinary approach to computing education.

Dr Yee-King said: “I’m delighted that HEFCE have recognised our innovations in creative education technology.

“It’s exciting that we have received funding which will allow us to develop and trial our innovative creative coding platform at scale within our undergraduate and online MOOC cohorts.”

The ICCE project will see Goldsmiths partner with Lewisham Council and gain insight with Creative England’s John Newbigin and Ingenious Media’s Patrick Mckenna, with sessons intended to engage employees and gain expert insight in to the needs and potential of the sector.

It will build on the successful SYNAPSE work in ICCE and develop a credit-bearing module drawing on Design Thinking to help empower students in building their own freelance careers.

This form of employment will become increasingly relevant and the project aims to equip graduates with the skills, knowledge aptitudes and skills capabilities to maximise all their opportunities for work.

Siân Prime, who will be working on the project with Adrian De La Court, said: “This is an exciting confirmation that our approach of embedding entrepreneurial thinking in to the creative and critical skills gained at Goldsmiths works to assist our students to make the impact and navigate the futures they want.”

Goldsmiths was among 67 universities and colleges in England awarded £2.8million in total to develop small-scale experimental innovations in learning and teaching.

The projects will develop and evaluate small-scale, experimental innovations with specific cohorts of learners. Projects will run for a period of 18 months.

Active student engagement is a key aspect of the projects’ approach. The projects address a wide variety of themes including learning analytics, interdisciplinary learning, academic and employability skills, peer-assisted learning, assessment and student co-creation of learning resources.

In total some 139 bids were assessed, with advice from the Higher Education Academy, Jisc, and a student representative, to ensure that the selected projects would fully engage students in the innovation as leaders and co-creators, as well as demonstrating a clear and robust approach to project management, methodology and evaluation.

HEFCE will work with the projects to support their networking, evaluation and dissemination, so that the innovations and lessons learnt are shared with other providers across the whole higher education sector.

HEFCE Chief Executive Madeleine Atkins said: “We were delighted by the level of interest from universities and colleges in developing new ways of working and are pleased to be funding such an exciting range of learning and teaching innovations. We look forward to working with the project organisations to share the lessons across the sector."