Exploring the Teacher Function: Continuing Interventions in Automated Teaching

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.

Forthcoming events

We are running workshops exploring the roles that automated agents have in education, how they might augment or redefine the ‘teacher function’ and what that all means for the student and teaching experience here at the University of Edinburgh. We are looking to see if automation in this context can be “pedagogically generative” (Bayne 2015). To do this, we need your help. 

These workshops are designed to be an opportunity to think these automated agents through creatively and critically, to map out what they might do and how that impacts what we currently do now in our study and teaching practices. There will be an opportunity for some of these ideas to potentially be mocked up for further experimentation. There are no technological skills needed to participate; just your imagination. 

You can have a hand in shaping what we do here at the University of Edinburgh, to ensure that these agents carry with them our values and our ideas of teaching and learning. Our community of students and staff will shape whatever we do here so please join us. If you have any questions, please contact Dr Markus Breines at markus.breines@ed.ac.uk or Dr Michael Gallagher at michael.s.gallagher@ed.ac.uk.

Join us at any of the following:

November 11, 12-2pm: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/exploring-the-teacher-function-designing-automated-interventions-tickets-78207481683 

November 11, 3-5pm: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/exploring-the-teacher-function-designing-automated-interventions-tickets-78207987195 

November 12, 9-11am: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/exploring-the-teacher-function-designing-automated-interventions-tickets-78208245969 

November 12, 11am-1pm: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/exploring-the-teacher-function-designing-automated-interventions-tickets-78208641151 

November 28, 3-5pm: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/exploring-the-teacher-function-designing-automated-interventions-tickets-78208781571 

November 29, 11am-12pm: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/exploring-the-teacher-function-designing-automated-interventions-tickets-78209134627 

November 29, 1-2pm: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/exploring-the-teacher-function-designing-automated-interventions-tickets-78209373341 

December 12, 12-2pm: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/exploring-the-teacher-function-designing-automated-interventions-tickets-78218173663 

December 12, 3-5pm: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/exploring-the-teacher-function-designing-automated-interventions-tickets-78218879775 

9 January, 12-2pm: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/exploring-the-teacher-function-designing-automated-interventions-tickets-78219680169 

9 January, 3-5pm: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/exploring-the-teacher-function-designing-automated-interventions-tickets-78219850679 

10 January, 10am-12pm: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/exploring-the-teacher-function-designing-automated-interventions-tickets-78219979063 

10 January, 2-4pm: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/exploring-the-teacher-function-designing-automated-interventions-tickets-78220358197 



Research areas
Digital Cultures
Research team

Principal investigator: Dr Michael Gallagher 

Dr Markus Roos Breines

Dr Jeremy Knox

Myles Blaney (Learning, Teaching and Web Services)

Marcello Crolla (Instructional Designer)


Information Services Group (ISG)