Social Media and Innovative Teaching at Bath

Showcasing innovative teaching involving Skype and Twitter by the University of Bath staff

Knowledge leadership in a global economy (MN50399): Skype Lecture

📥  Skype Lectures

Speaker: Professor Juani Swart, Associate Dean Faculty, School of Management

External speaker: Hanadi TUTUNJI - United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)

Date: 16 February 2016

This lecture was a Q&A session about a live case study that Professor Swart is running with UNCDF. Students had the opportunity to ask questions of the person responsible for knowledge management in UNCDF which would then be followed up by case presentations by the students to the organisation.

Professor Swart felt the session went very well and was aided by the technology working well at both ends and a large amount of interaction took place making the setting feel very ‘real’.

Hanadi TUTUNJI (UNCDF) talking with students via skype

Hanadi TUTUNJI (UNCDF) talking with students via skype


Expert Patient living with COPD - Health Psychology (PA40250): Skype Lecture

📥  Skype Lectures

Internal Speaker: Dr Hannah Family

External Speaker: Andrew Kennedy

Date: Friday 5 February 2016


Andrew Kennedy speaking with students via Skype

Following the lecture Dr Hannah Family shared her thoughts on using Skype within a lecture setting:

I’ve never used Skype in a session before – so I was unsure what to expect. I invited a guest speaker, who is an "expert patient" – who has previously joined my classes in person to talk about his experiences of being diagnosed with, and living with a long-term  health condition. Skype presented many benefits, firstly this speaker does not live that locally to the university so it meant they avoided a long journey to visit us for a brief lecture. Secondly, it meant he didn’t have to venture out in the cold, which is one of the triggers for his symptoms (of chronic asthma) amongst other conditions.

Although I could see all the benefits that Skype could bring, I was worried that we might lose some of the impact of the session because our guest speaker wasn’t physically present. However, I was keen to explore how it could work, as I knew this would help me to invite more patients into the classroom in the future.

I didn’t need to worry – the whole thing ran smoothly, and our guest speaker was just as confident and as engaging via Skype as when he had physically been in the classroom. We had just as many questions and the class ran as it had in previous years. Things that both I and the speaker felt, was he had less of a sense of how the class were interacting or reacting to what he said. This didn’t impair the class experience and we both I and the speaker felt that we could see how this could improve patient input into our classes in the future. What it did mean was that I could then bring  him in another day to work in smaller groups with the students – without taking up too much of his time.

Now that we have trialled it, we may also be more adventurous and try and work with pharmacists in different countries, or even patients from different countries to see how care of the same illness varies with culture and country!



Peace processes in the Middle East and Europe (PL30897): Skype Lecture

📥  Skype Lectures

Internal speaker: Dr Sophie Whiting, Lecturer, Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies

External speaker: Philip Leech - Council for British Research in Levant

Date: 13 November 2015

A second Skype lecture in the Dr Sophie Whiting series.  During this lecture Dr Whiting invited Philip Leech to participate in the lecture via Skype allowing him to share his expertise with students present. Philip discussed The Obstacles to Peace in Israel-Palenstine.


Dr Sophie Whiting and students speak with Philip Leech via Skype


Public Health Engineering for Developing Communities (AR40446): Skype Lecture

📥  Skype Lectures

Internal speaker: Dr Danielle Wain, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Dr Danielle Wain has conducted a series of lectures for final year students studying Public Health Engineering for Developing Communities (AR40446) incorporating discussions with external speakers via Skype. During this semester Dr Wain arranged for external speakers to form a part of the teaching in three lectures across the unit:

Friday 23 October 2015
External Speaker:
Dr Greg McGrath, EOS International
Lecture: Appropriate Technology for the Developing World

Friday 6th November
External speaker: Dr Monroe Weber-Shirk, AguaClara
Lecture: The Next Generation of Water Treatment Technologies

Friday 13 November 2015
External speaker: Dr Avery Bang, Bridges to Prosperity
Lecture: Leveraging an engineering degree into a career in the social sector?

Dr Wain spoke positively of the experience and offered advice for others looking to bring guest speakers into their teaching:

I have had three Skype lectures in my class thus far.  This is particularly well suited for my new class, Public Health Engineering in Developing Countries, as the students hear from people with experience in this field.  The feedback from the students has been very good thus far.

If I were to do this again, the main thing I would change would be to make the brief for the guest speakers more specific so that more specific content was conveyed.


Skype and Twitter for International Conversations - how and why?

📥  Innovative Teaching

Dr Wali Aslam from the Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies at the University of Bath discusses how and why he uses and combination of Skype and Twitter to engage his classes in conversations with students, academics, aid workers and journalists across the world.

You can find more information about the topics discussed in this video on the LITEbox post 'Videoconferencing & Innovative Teaching in Social Sciences Classrooms: Event Review'.


The Nexus of Peace & Justice: Lessons from Northern Ireland & the Balkans (PL30897): Skype Lecture

📥  Skype Lectures

Internal speaker: Dr Sophie Whiting, Lecturer, Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies

External speaker: Dr Maire Braniff from University of Ulster

Date: 19 October 2015

Dr Sophie Whiting delivered her first lecture utlising Skype to feature a remote speaker. During the lecture Dr Whiting invited Dr Maire Braniff to participate in the lecture via Skype allowing her to share her expertise with students present. Students were able to tap into this expertise in order to discuss conflict resolution, legacies of violent conflict, memory and commemoration, victimhood and peace agreements with a particular focus on the Balkans and Northern Ireland.

Speaking about the lecture experience, Dr Whiting commented:

Organising and setting up Skype for the lecture was really straight-forward and it is a great way to get students to engage with different view points. I recommend lecturers consider how using Skype can enrich their teaching.


Dr Maire Braniff speaking to students via Skype


Translation for Food & Agriculture (PL50834): Skype Lecture

📥  Skype Lectures

Internal speaker: Dr Nick Regan, Teaching Fellow in Spanish Translation, Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies

External speaker: Emma Cypher-Dournes from UN Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome

Date: 19 October 2015

Dr Nick Regan delivered his first lecture featuring a remote speaker by Skype as part of the Innovative Teaching project supported by the Teaching Development Fund (TDF).

During the lecture Dr Regan invited Emma Cypher-Dournes, based in Rome, to share her experiences in her field. Using the Skype video chat functionality students were able to put their own questions directly to Emma Cypher-Dournes gaining valuable insight into her work.

Commenting on the lecture, Dr Regan said:

It was very enriching and memorable to have a specialist third party 'come in' and assist with the seminar work. Setting up the Skype link was very easy thanks to the excellent logistical support I got from Amanda Lester and Tony Gallagher.

Student participation in Skype lecture

Student participation in Skype lecture



Skype Event - Targeted Killing and Drones: The Morality of lesser evils

📥  Skype Lectures

Dr Wali Aslam hosted a Skype event on ‘Targeted Killing and Drones:  The Morality of lesser evils on the 6 October 2015.  Three keynote speakers; Professor Akbar S.Ahmed (Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University in Washington, D.C), Dr Brian Glynn Williams (Professor of Islamic History at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, USA) AND Ms Jennifer Gibson, (Reprieve’s Coordinator on Drone Strikes in Pakistan) Skyped into the event attended by students and staff across the University.  Students were able to tweet questions during the lecture including:

  • Are drone strikes a practical solution to the security threats emanating from various tribal hinterlands?
  • Do drone strikes symbolise ‘lesser evil’ in the sense that they prove more effective and ‘moral’ respective to other viable alternatives?
  • Are there any other solutions available to deal with the type of threats drones are tackling?

Dr Wali Aslam leads the event inviting participation for guests across the world via Skype link

View more images from this event.


Innovative Teaching 2014-15

📥  Innovative Teaching

Learning technologies can be immensely useful in conducting innovative teaching. Some of these methods are widely used at the University of Bath. For example, I have used them in two of my recent courses entitled ‘Contemporary Security Challenges in Asia’ (UG, final-year) and ‘Contemporary Politics of the Middle East’ (UG, second-year).

In particular, we have been using a blend of Twitter and Skype to organise interactive videoconference sessions with academics, students, aid-workers, social activists and journalists from across the Middle East and Asia. The purpose of this activity has been to enable students to learn first-hand about a number of political and security issues in those regions by interacting with those living there. This has also helped students learn about a number of political and security issues concerning the two regions studied on these courses.

These interactions lasted around 50 minutes each, and immediately followed 45 minutes of lecture.

Students used Twitter hashtags for each course (#BathCPME and #BathCSCA) to send questions to the remote participants. These participants were given those tags beforehand and could follow them via Twitter during the session. Once they received the questions, the participants would answer them in front of the entire class via Skype. The classrooms at Bath also had cameras and microphones, and students participated in the discussion by commenting on the issues being discussed both verbally and through Twitter. Every student in the class used either a laptop or a smartphone to ask questions and to participate in the discussion.

Dr Wali Aslam, Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies

View pictures from the skype sessions.