Moira Sarsfield, Principal Learning Technologist, Faculty of Natural Sciences

“It is a very exciting time to be involved with supporting teaching and learning in the College. It is a fantastic challenge, and really motivating to be involved with improving the learning opportunities for Imperial students.”

I am a scientist at heart with a degree in genetics from the University of Aberdeen (my home town). After university, I worked in STEMM publishing, then as an e-learning project manager, producing CD-ROMs and websites for medical continuing professional development, and supplementary materials for university-level textbooks.

I began the third stage of my career in 2003, joining Imperial as one of the first learning technologists in the College – at the time, it was a part-time role in what is now called the Department of Life Sciences. During this period, I also worked with a consortium of universities and the Royal College of Nursing on development and delivery of an online degree programme for healthcare professionals.

I now lead the EdTech team in the Faculty of Natural Sciences (FoNS). We support teaching and admin staff to use technology to improve student learning and the student experience. It’s a very varied role, and I really appreciate working with such smart, innovative and committed colleagues.

To give a flavour of what my role involves, here are some of the things I’ve been up to recently:

  • Meeting with ICT, EdTech and Disability Advisory Service colleagues to discuss implementing the Ally add-in to Blackboard to help us comply with new disabilities legislation
  • Facilitating ABC learning design workshops with members of my team, supporting the development of the new STEMM cross-college i-Explore Modules, which will become available to students in 2020 – 21
  • Planning, with the Education Office and other EdTech team leads, a College-wide event for January 2020 to showcase technology-enhanced techniques for teaching and learning
  • As Chair of the Learning Analytics Working Group, preparing an update on progress with the Learning Analytics provision for the college
  • Providing feedback to team members on a Student Shapers proposal, which seeks to incorporate the student voice into all our learning design documentation

Last year FoNS and the Faculty of Engineering received significant funding from the College’s Pedagogic Transformation Fund to increase the size of our EdTech teams, to support the ongoing implementation of curriculum review and transformation of the way our degrees are taught, making the teaching more active, more inclusive and more digital.

This has led to a step-change in our activities, and it is a very exciting time to be involved with supporting teaching and learning in the College. It is a fantastic challenge, and really motivating to be involved with improving the learning opportunities for Imperial students.

I also enjoy creative challenges in my home life. I have a box of fruit and vegetables delivered to my house each week, and I really enjoy the challenge of cooking using whatever arrives in ‘the box’. This can involve a lot of experimentation (and Google), but usually ends with appetising results.

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