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Lucy Kendra

Lucy Kendra

Based in Edinburgh, Lucy has over 20 years’ experience in the creative industries, the last 10 of which have been mostly within media education. Her first creative documentary short received recognition at national awards, and her work has since featured in many international festivals, live performances and broadcasts. She has directed, produced, edited, and taught moving image and sound projects at all levels of education (from early-years upwards) – including as course Creative Director for World Bank, and projects in collaboration with CERN and the Tate. She led on media output for the University of Edinburgh’s initial cohort of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Currently, she is the Digital Media Manager for an award-winning team of creative specialists developing learning resources in moving image and sound for Heriot-Watt Online. Lucy has degrees in music (BMus, First Class, Edinburgh; MA, City University, London) and vocational qualifications in visual communication. As a musician she has performed globally, including for the BBC, and collaborated with many artists, including the writer Jackie Kay.

Lucy is a board member of Media and Learning, a global, not-for-profit association set up under Belgian law to promote and stimulate the use of media as a way to enhance innovation and creativity in teaching and learning across all levels of education.

Psychology meets digital media meets pedagogy

The growth of online learning is spectacular and increasingly disruptive. It predates Covid and continues to gather pace. Registered online learners number hundreds of millions, and the sector attracts tens of billions of dollars of annual investment (World Economy Forum, 2022; McKinsey, 2022). And it is evolving. New generations of online learning design no longer seek to mimic traditional text-based and face-to-face configurations. They are, instead, redefining relationships between academic content producers, media and students; generating new psychological challenges that traditional pedagogies will need to accommodate if they want to keep up with the times.

In line with these advances, a new generation of online courses is being offered at Heriot-Watt University. One of the pioneering degrees in Business and Organisational Psychology is the product of an across-the-globe collaboration between the academic and media teams. This production process has afforded valuable psychological insights into teaching and learning in a digital world. Firstly, a reconsideration of the social identities of both academics and media professionals: academics have a traditional attachment to the printed word, and media professionals a traditional detachment from the nuances of content. Psychological adjustments are negotiated on both sides as they make the transition to the category of “third space professionals” in the intersection of two traditional domains (Whitchurch, 2008). Secondly, the psychological design of an asynchronous online environment to support mentored dialogic inquiry: in essence, a virtual intellectual Escape Room which deploys digital media to motivate and entice students to engage in knowledge-creating dialogues with others. “Others” who are real, imagined, or somewhere in between. There is discussion of the graduated ways in which the enticements, or “bread crumbs” of cues and prompts, might be distributed effectively. The key rôle of engendering a “feeling-of-knowing” (Keil, 2006) ahead of understanding and application is examined and illustrated in detail. Finally, although the relationship between Academic and Student in an asynchronous online setting is an indirect one (literally mediated), the human relationship can be asserted in several ways, which are discussed; and the online setting facilitates, with suitable guidance, the student’s engagement with still wider communities of learning (Wegerif, 2019).
The world is changing, and academics must appreciate that video is not an inferior form of teaching, and keeping up does not mean dumbing down.

Keil F. C. (2006). Explanation and understanding. Annual review of psychology, 57, 227–254.

McKinsey Insights (2022). Demand for online education is growing. Are providers ready? Online article, July 20, 2022. Accessed 6/7/23 Check out this useful article:
Demand for online education is growing. Are providers ready?

Wegerif, R. (2019). Towards a dialogic theory of education for the Internet Age. In
(Mercer, N., Wegerif, R. and Major, L. eds) The Routledge International Handbook of Research on Dialogic Education. Routledge.

Whitchurch, C. (2008). "Shifting Identities and Blurring Boundaries: The Emergence of Third Space Professionals in UK Higher Education". Higher Education Quarterly 62(4): 377-396.

World Economic Forum (2022) Three charts show the global growth in online learning. Online article, Jan 27, 2022. Accessed 6/7/23.

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