Skip to main content

Treasure Island Pedagogies at the University of Liverpool

01 Jul 2020 | Advance HE In a series of podcasts for the University of Liverpool, Dr Tunde Varga-Atkins asks lecturers to discuss the transition to remote teaching and the pedagogies that lecturers will find most useful in the socially distant society we now live in

These podcasts were originally posted on the University of Liverpool website, links below.

From The Beatles to Beefheart

What do Beatles pop songs and experimental jazz by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band have to do with remote teaching? In a recent, February podcast on digital education by Professor Neil Selwyn interviewing Sian Bayne the main backdrop was Brexit. It is April, and how quickly things have moved on! Our guests were Dr Anna O’Connor from Orthoptics, Prof Diana Jeater from History, Dr James Gaynor from Chemistry, and Dr Stuart Wilks-Heeg, Politics, who shared their rollercoaster ride with their transition to remote teaching.

Listen to Part 1 of the podcast below.

In Part 2 of the podcast, the guests discuss technological comfort zones of staff and students, whilst also taking remote teaching as opportunity to venture into new territories; the complexity of catering for both students’ wellbeing and their learning; the pros and cons of asynchronous and synchronous interactions; and paving way for ‘rethinking our pedagogy’ in the long term. Finally, the guests share what keeps them going in these difficult times. One such example are students who surpass staff expectations by taking their brief to the next level, such as those third-year Politics students producing daily podcasts for Spotify or Soundcloud.

Treasure Island Pedagogies

The age-old question: if you were stranded on an island what pedagogies would you bring? How might you take your lightbulb moments with your students into next semester’s socially distanced campus, your treasure island? Tune in to our very t(r)opical two-part podcast, inspired by Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, in which four University of Liverpool lecturers share their lightbulb moments and treasure island pedagogies.

Inspired by Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, in Part 1 of the podcast we asked our four guests, all lecturers at the University of Liverpool, to talk in turn about a lightbulb moment with their students: when they felt that students ‘were getting it’ and they were part of this. To put a twist in the story, instead of being cast away to a desert island, they were asked to conjure up a Treasure Island representing the precious synchronous contact time (whether face to face or virtual) with students, preparing for a potentially still social distancing campus in September 2020.

Anna O’Connor (Orthoptics), Stuart Wilks-Heeg (Politics), James Gaynor (Chemistry) and Diana Jeater (History) were then invited to identify what pedagogy, teaching prop and a luxury item they would like to take to their Treasure Island.

In Part 2 of Treasure Island Discs, Anna, Diana, James and Stuart discuss their thoughts and plans about moving towards hybrid active learning in autumn 2020. How might we preserve and carry on these lightbulb moments for our students? The archipelago of our four guests’ islands covers topics including: moving focus away from content to facilitating engagement and offering support, how we can maximise contact hours, offering more small continuous assessments, creating space for kindness and community online, the difference between practice-, lab- and clinical-based subjects and others in terms of face-to-face sessions, and taking relief that some of the remote teaching efforts really did work! And finally, a call to reflect on if we can be challenged to teach in different ways from the way we had learnt ourselves? 

Blogs originally posted here:

Remote teaching: From The Beatles to Beefheart 1/2

Remote teaching: From The Beatles to Beefheart 2/2

Treasure Island Discs / Pedagogies (Parts 1 and 2)


Dr Tünde Varga-Atkins (@tundeva) is a Senior Educational Developer at the Centre for Innovation in Education, University of Liverpool. Tünde supports programmes with curriculum design, with a specialism in digital education. Her doctoral thesis was a case study of disciplinary digital capabilities. In addition, her research areas encompass curriculum evaluation, digital innovation, assessment and feedback, and more recently, artificial intelligence in education, and organisational learning. As the current Chair of ALT ELESIG, a special interest group aimed at building capacity of practitioners, Tünde is passionate about student evaluation and pedagogic research and a keen promoter of inter-disciplinary dialogue and sharing practice.

Chris Loxham is a Content Developer of the Digital Resource Team at the Centre for Innovation in Education, University of Liverpool and helped develop the podcasts.


The Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference 2020 - 'Teaching in the spotlight: Creative thinking to enhance the student experience: From curriculum design to student success' will be delivered on our brand new digital conference platform. Find out more and book your place here.


Keep up to date - Sign up to Advance HE communications

Our monthly newsletter contains the latest news from Advance HE, updates from around the sector, links to articles sharing knowledge and best practice and information on our services and upcoming events. Don't miss out, sign up to our newsletter now.

Sign up to our enewsletter