Exploring the Teacher Function: Continuing Interventions in Automated Teaching

Research areas 
Digital Cultures
Research team 

Principal investigator: Dr Michael Gallagher 

Dr Markus Roos Breines

Myles Blaney (Learning, Teaching and Web Services)

Marcello Crolla (Instructional Designer)

Key contact 
Funding 

Information Services Group (ISG)

Dates 
01 Jul 201901 May 2020

This project will identify attitudes towards automated agents (bots)

This project builds on the pioneering work of Teacherbot (Bayne 2015) and its model “assemblage of teacher-student-code (that) might be pedagogically generative” (2015), as well as indicative actions emerging from the Near Future Teaching project (2019), specifically for an instigation of “an academic-led programme to scope ways in which transparent, fair, context-sensitive artificial intelligence applications and services could assist and support human-driven teaching.” This research project is largely positioned as building on the findings emerging from Teacherbot, further building on ‘the conscious construction of technological worlds that support a desirable conception of what it is to be human’ (Feenberg 2003).  

As such, the research proposed here addresses this by speculatively exploring what the use of bots in teaching and learning might entail, which teaching and learning practices it might seek to augment, what sociocultural or organisational practices it might circumvent or disrupt, and ultimately provide feedback on the impact on the student and teaching experience at the University of Edinburgh.  

It is advancing a broad speculative, largely qualitative agenda to identify student and faculty attitudes towards automated agents (bots), and values we would want embedded therein; as well as determining appropriate and productive teaching and community-oriented implementations within programme or course contexts.  This project is largely concerned with speculating how a: bots might be used to support teaching and learning practices within distance learning programmes offered through the University of Edinburgh, b: the impact of bots on existing teaching and learning practices as well as the development of new practices that might emerge; and c: the potential impact of the use of bots on the student and teaching experience.