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EDEN NAP Webinar – Using Interactive Live Broadcasts For Developing Students’ Practical Skills

April 24 @ 16:00 17:30


Practical and practice-based learning is highly valued for introducing students to the distinctive practices, concepts, and values of various disciplines. However, this type of learning may be difficult or daunting for some online and distance students to access.  

In this session we will explore how live and interactive web broadcasts can be used to introduce students to practical learning or unfamiliar environments, and how a scaffolded approach can help students participate in decision-making to drive a practical investigation. The presenters will give an overview of their work, before opening the session for questions and discussion from attendees. 

Trevor Collins will present how Stadium Live (a webcasting platform used at the Open University UK) was developed to engage students in live interactive learning in different settings. Sarah Davies will share her experience of using this system for field-based teaching, the range of communication strategies involved, and how a flexible teaching framework enables a study to be guided by student responses. Janine Maddison will show how live interactive work can further involve students as participants by sharing her experience of co-producing live broadcasts using a ‘students as partners’ approach at Newcastle University.  

Q+A and discussion will follow. 

Type of session: presentations with discussion


Fiona Aiken, Senior Lecturer, Staff Tutor in the STEM Faculty, School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, The Open University, UK

Fiona Aiken is a Senior Lecturer, Staff tutor in the STEM faculty, School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences with the Open University, UK. She is a home worker, living in Northern Ireland. Fiona started out as an Associate lecturer with the Open University in 1993 teaching general Science and Environmental Science modules at all levels. In her current role she manages a team of Associate Lecturers on environmental science modules and is the scholarship lead for her school.

Fiona’s current research interests are in educational research focussing on where improvements can be made to the student experience. One current project is looking at how students can be better supported in using the print resources which are sent to students who can’t access module resources online. A second project is researching the levels of eco-anxiety that students experience on environment modules and developing resources to help students build resilience and address
their eco-anxiety.

Fiona is a peer reviewer for two journals, Open Learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learning and Higher Education: Skills and Work-based Learning. She has presented at the EDEN workshop in Barcelona in 2018, the EDEN workshop in Dubrovnik in 2022 and the EDEN conference in Dublin 2023. She also regularly attends the online EDEN NAP webinars.


Trevor Collins, Senior Research Fellow at The Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute, UK.

Trevor Collins (he/him) is a Senior Research Fellow at The Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute. His research interests are in the design and use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. He is the Director of The OpenSTEM Labs, which supports practical and practice-based learning at a distance. 

Sarah Davies, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science at the Open University, UK

Sarah Davies (she/her) is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science at the Open University, UK, with research interests in technology-enhanced learning in the earth and environmental sciences, particularly involving fieldwork learning and inclusion. Together with Open University colleagues, she teaches fieldwork to distance learning students through live interactive ‘fieldcasts’. 

Janine Maddison, Postgraduate Researcher at Newcastle University, UK

Janine Maddison (she/her) is a postgraduate researcher at Newcastle University researching the pedagogic benefits of the virtual world to enhance fieldwork. Previously an Education Development Officer with the Field Studies Council, Janine worked teaching and developing fieldwork approaches. She works with exam boards and subject associations providing fieldwork support, training and resources to the teacher community.