Professor Sian Baynes Keynote (Report from ALDinHE Conference 2016 #aldcon)

Professor Sian Baynes Keynote:  A teaching philosophy for digital education : Manifesto for teaching online

Professor Bayne teaches on MSc in Digital Education; and is part of the team working on one of the most influential MOOCs in the world: E-Learning and digital cultures MOOC and has recently set up the Edinburgh University Research in Digital Education centre (

The first theme of the keynote:

There was a call from Sian for us to ‘stop talking about digital natives’!

‘Generation was not the only significant variable in exhaling these activities, gender education experience and breadth of use also plays a part’ Ellen Eynon, Rebecca 2009 Digital natives

Bayne, Ross, 2011 Digital native and digital immigrant discourses a critique in Land an Bayne eds Digital differences: perspectives on online education. London: Sense pp 159-170

Link to open version is here


The next theme was around automation and the balance between having computers in control and humans in control- yet retaining the power on technology to enhance our learning processes. A study on the future of employment looks at different sectors, and Sian was pleased to advise us that there is only a 3% change of academic jobs being taken over by machines!

The E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC ( the course overview)

This course will explore how digital cultures and learning cultures connect, and what this means for the ways in which we conduct education online. The course is not about how to ‘do’ e-learning; rather, it is an invitation to view online educational practices through a particular lens – that of popular and digital culture. Follow this course on Twitter at #edcmooc.

Edcmooc – have created a twitterbot which assists with teaching well at scale, develop something to help students think critically #edcmooc – Sian says:

Automation need not impoverish education: we welcome our robot colleagues ….if we have a say in what they look like, what they say

The third theme Why a manifesto? To process forward and meet new prospects .

Manifesto is call to attention rather than call to arms


Distance is temporal, affective, political, not simply spatial. Place is differently, not less, important online institutional sedentarism, idea we privilege banded spaces, campus, city, nation state, not what comes from outside, the classroom as container, fetishising the campus, fill promo docs on the real estate, social topologies of distance students. Our distance students are making campus in hotel rooms, kitchens, different cities, and should not be differentiated – we are the campus!

Sian can be followed on twitter @sbayne

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