Five things you can do right away to make your in person teaching more accessible and inclusive

Photo by Joao Cruz on Unsplash

Accurate transcripts are important for people who need them, whether it be for deaf students, international students or perhaps where there is a lot of technical language. For each of these groups, inaccurate transcripts can be severely impactful when it comes to relying on them for assessment.  Accuracy is also important for the increasing number of AI enabled learning and assistive technologies. Many of them use pre-recorded content and rely on accurately captured transcriptions. Whether it be for summaries, flashcards, reviewing or searching – accuracy matters.

With a nod to Deaf Awareness Week last week and on today’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day, this short post will highlight a few ways in which we can make our teaching more accessible as well as being more useful for transcription based AI tools.  

1. Who and what is in the room? 

Knowing who in your classroom can go a long way to mitigating some of the accessibility challenges your students will face. Having awareness of their needs and any software or interventions being used can help you in planning and thinking about where you stand or where you focus your attention when speaking. Even better and more often than not, your students will tell you what works for them, or offer advice. 

2. Be seen 

Some with hearing impairments rely on lip reading, this can be challenging in dark rooms and impossible when the lips are facing away from them. Ensure you have lights on at the front of your lecture, speak clearly at a relaxed pace, focusing your attention to your deaf students as much as is practically possible. Also avoid covering your face with your hands or microphone when speaking.  

3. Be heard 

In most teaching spaces, microphones are available for use by teaching staff. It’s critical that these are used, whether they be desk mounted, lapel or wireless mics, there is a solution for most situations. Never assume you can be heard without them. People with hearing aids may use the Hearing Loops available in teaching spaces, using a mic is critical for this to work. When taking input from the students, either repeat what is said or pass the wireless mic around.  

4. Live captions 

Using Zoom or PowerPoint it is possible to display live captions on the screen during your session. Whilst this is not required, it can certainly be beneficial. 

5. Check in 

Finally, follow up with your students, is it working for them? You may not be able to meet all adjustments they want, but we should absolutely be meeting the adjustments they need. 

When it comes to the transcript, obviously a well-lit room isn’t going to have an impact, but clearly spoken dialogue at a reasonable volume will produce much better results. Whilst automatic captions may still fall short of 100% accuracy in most cases, if your students have been in the room and able to hear through Hearing Loops, or lip read during the session, they’ll be better able to fill the gaps or self correct any technical language inaccuracies.  

What have I missed? Are you a student who relies on good audio and transcripts, what helps you? Let me know in the comments. As ever if you need support for your teaching at Sussex, then get in touch with your Learning Technologist or Academic Developer for support.

Posted in Accessibility, AI, Inclusive teaching

Academic Developers: May round up

A picture of a megaphone, a mobile phone, a lightbulb, a magnifying glass and the YouTube logo, to indicate announcing information

Guidance for students from the Library on use of AI

A new using generative AI in your assessments page has been added to the Skills Hub by the library team, created with colleagues from across campus who support academic skills and academic regulations. 

Learn how generative AI works and the issues with using it in assessments; discover what Sussex regulations do and don’t allow; and develop your AI literacy so that you can work with academic integrity. 

You’ll also find recommended alternatives to generative AI: academic tools and skills you may not be aware of that give better results for particular tasks e.g. dedicated reference management software like Zotero. 

Find out more about using generative AI in your assessments

Save the Date- Sussex Education Festival 2024 

Please save the date for the Sussex Education Festival 2024. We will have a day of in-person content on Wednesday 10 July and online content on Thursday 11 July.  

We were delighted with the response to the Call for Participation- we received three times more proposals than last year. We are busy putting the programme together- watch this space for registration! 

Learning Matters 

A number of new posts have recently been published on the Learning Matters blog. Learning Matters provides a space for multiple and diverse forms of writing about teaching and learning at Sussex. We welcome contributions from staff as well as external collaborators. All submissions are assigned to a reviewer who will get in touch to discuss next steps.  

Send all submissions to: 

Encouraging attendance and engagement through portfolio assessment 

The Evidence-Informed-Teaching Infographics Project: a novel and engaging way to communicate scholarship 

Assessment in a world of Generative AI: What might we lose? 

Remember to update your Advance HE status 

Staff who have recently joined the University should update their Fellowship status with Advance HE to ensure that they have the correct details about you, and can continue to send you updates and information. 

Posted in Academic Development, Educational Enhancement, Monthly Round-ups

Imagining Education: Reflections from Digifest 2024

by Helen Morley, Learning Technologist, University of Sussex

In March 2024 I attended the Digifest conference hosted by JISC at the ICC in Birmingham. The focus for the two days was “Imagine the Future” and the programme included sessions on virtual reality class environments, how the learner experience can be improved by gamification and – unsurprisingly – AI.  Here are some reflections on my top 3 sessions:

Picture shows the pass and lanyard of the writer for the Digifest conference.

Imagine the Future

We began with a fascinating keynote talk by Tessa Cramer, professor of Designing the Future, Fontys Applied University (the Netherlands). Cramer explained her role as a futurologist and warned us of potential pitfalls when we try to imagine what is coming next. An amusing example was that when decades ago people were encouraged to imagine how the domestic sphere might change, there were plenty of gadgets and gizmos in the imagined home but the person in the kitchen was always “mum”! The talk was far from negative though as we were shown examples of how thinking differently about what might be really does give us the opportunities to think and imagine truly creatively. Cramer’s mantra is “things can be done differently, and that takes courage” which is a challenging position to hold, but we were left with valuable advice that we remember to include rest and play in our work if we are to realise this.

AI and Empathy

Scott Hayden, head of teaching, learning and digital at Basingstoke College of Technology spoke to a packed-out breakout group about how he and his colleagues are using AI across their college. I’ve chosen this talk as one of my top three because it was such a comprehensive account of how AI can be used for different purposes across an entire institution. Hayden skipped seamlessly between examples like producing AI videos of the college’s Principal welcoming international students in their home languages – and how this then informs lessons on critical thinking about the authenticity of digital media and the college’s policy about using real people’s images and voices to create false content, chatbots editing teaching materials to make them more accessible to learners with very focused interests (maths problems explained using the mechanics of a favourite classic car), and creating a bank of AI prompts for subject specialists to use when outsourcing administration tasks to assistive technology. Basingstoke College of Technology is a secondary school with sixth form and it’s so important that we in HE have an understanding of what our future students will be used to.

Generative AI – Student Panel

I think this session is the one I have to name as my most useful. Five students, from different disciplines at different universities at different points in their academic careers, with different experiences and challenges, discussed how they and their peers are (or are not) using generative AI in their studies. The students were candid and those who make frequent use of generative AI were convincing in their reasoning. The discussion was not adversarial and all students said that they use generative AI to some extent, but it was really reassuring to hear students talk about fairness, equal access to resources, the need to be able to evaluate and make good use of AI output, accessibility and how AI supports them to manage diverse needs, and integrity. Best of all, the panel spoke of how they value the input from their tutors more than that of the machines. I would be interested to hear from students at Sussex on the same topic.

Other sessions I found particularly interesting included:

  • Using student data to support a more personalised learning experience (Carmen Miles, De Montfort University; Richard Floyd and Ben Gill, Lancaster University).
  • Culture shock to digital shock: understanding international students’ digital experience (Sharon Perera, University of Greenwich; Tom Wright, University of Lincoln; Vartika Khandelwal, UKCISA student ambassador; Elizabeth Newall, Jisc).
  • AI 2030 (Michael Webb, director of technology and analytics, Jisc).

Jisc is sourcing content for Digifest 2025 – if there’s something you’re working on that you’d like to have considered, or you’d like to be kept up-to-date, complete the form here or email the Educational Enhancement team on

Posted in AI, Educational Enhancement, Learning Technologies

Teaching and Learning with Artificial Intelligence Community of Practice: April 2024 Update

 by Dr Sam Hemsley, Academic Developer, University of Sussex

This Teaching and Learning with AI Community of Practice (AI CoP) update starts with a look back at the 2nd AI CoP meeting in March. There’s also information about how to access a protected web version of Microsoft Copilot and a brief update on the AI tools currently being piloted at Sussex.

Also, keep reading (or jump to the end) to find out about events coming soon (this week) and for links to things we’ve found interesting, and suspect you will too.

Reflections on the 2nd AI CoP 

On Monday 18th March colleagues and students explored the topic of ‘Talking with Students about AI’ . We started with a few brief updates from Sussex and the sector (you can view the slides on Box) which included the February HEPI report on Student Attitudes to Generative AI in Assessment. See also the HEPI blog contribution posted on the day of our AI CoP: 18th March: Generative AI in Universities: What are Educators Thinking?

Next, Dr Andres Guadamuz talked about the demonstrably positive impacts on the quality of his students’ work of having mature conversations with them about AI. Andres didn’t use slides, but you see his May 2023 post to his enormously popular Technollama blog here: Using Language Models in Legal Higher Education.

We then asked colleagues to discuss how they might integrate/expand the conversations they already have with students around assessment to include discussion of generative AI, and to identify what they need to know about generative AI to inform such conversations.

Unsurprisingly, colleagues’ appetite for, and confidence in, having such conversations varied enormously. While some argued that talking with students could exacerbate or facilitate academic misconduct, others (including the students in the room) felt such conversations were necessary and a general consensus emerged that, where they do take place, such conversations need to foster discipline-specific critical engagement with such tools and their outputs.

Conversations need to foster discipline-specific critical engagement with AI tools and their outputs

For those who had already bitten the bullet and were having conversations with students about AI, we heard examples of academics who had set aside time in their classes to discuss and agree together how AI could be used and acknowledged and reflections on the challenges of doing so on a module-by-module basis.  In her recent article for Learning Matters on Assessment in a World of Generative AI: What Might we Lose?, Verona Ní Drisceoil, Reader in Legal Education, reflects further on insights and concerns discussed in the session and provides her insightful perspective on the implications of AI for teaching and assessment.

What’s next? 

The next AI CoP event will be folded into the University of Sussex Education Festival on 10th and 11th July. The festival programme and joining information is coming soon. In the interim, please let us know about events or resources of interest that we might share with the network.

Microsoft CoPilot is here! 

All our staff and students can now access a protected web version of Microsoft Copilot via their Sussex account. This means we now have institutional access to a GenAI chatbot that won’t ‘feed’ an AI beast or be accessible by all, thereby removing some of the barriers to incorporating GenAI into teaching and assessment, or just exploring such a tool in relative safety. We’re still in the ‘soft launch’ phase, so there will be more comms and guidance to come. For now, find out how to access the protected version of CoPilot in the Teaching Tools section of the Educational Enhancement website.

GenAI pilots at Sussex 

Sussex is now part of a JISC supported pilot of Jamworks, an AI-assisted study tool for students that can transform lecture recordings into well-organised notes and interactive study materials whilst also ensuring they aren’t being shared with wider world. It’s also really good at generating meeting minutes!

Following a successful Education Innovation Fund bid, MPS and Engineering and Informatics are trailing Graide, an AI-assisted marking tool which hopefully will make maths marking more efficient while also ensuring consistent and high-quality feedback to students.

AI in education events coming (very) soon 

29th April: The 6 Days of AI Online Course will get you accustomed to using a variety of different AI tools in just 10–20 minutes per day over 6 days.

The course was developed by Educational Enhancement’s own Chris O’Reilly, who reflects on the Promise and Peril of AI for Learning in last week’s EE Blog.

Wed 1 May: Gen AI in Assessment: Institution and Program Tactics Webinar. Brought to us by the Assessment in Higher Education Network, join online to hear speakers discuss what worked and what didn’t in providing AI acknowledgment templates for staff and students at Liverpool John Moores University (UK), and trialling a course-wide approach to developing staff and students’ generative AI critical literacy at Deakin University (Australia).

Wed 8 May: University of Sussex Business School is hosting the inaugural Festival of SustAInable Education. This groundbreaking event will explore the intersection of sustainability, artificial intelligence, and the future of education.

Wed 8 May: Alternatively, you can join the University of London webinar: Robot Wrestling: Learning Design in the Age of AI which features a distinguished panel of experts facilitated by CODE fellow Leonard Houx (Director of Learning Design, Cambridge Education Group).

Links we liked 

The panel discussion on Generative Artificial Intelligence and the Workplace  from February’s QAA Quality Insights conference is now available online. Contributors include Martin Compton of King’s College London, recruitment consultant Rebecca Feilding, Deloitte’s Lucia Lucchini and behavioural scientist Naeema Pasha.

Martin Compton (yes, again – we’re obsessed!) recently shared some of his ever-insightful reflections on Nuancing the Discussions around the GenAI in HE. This is highly recommended reading!

March’s Digitally Enhanced Teaching Webinar (University of Kent) included a short talk on Integrating Generative AI in Learning and Teaching in a Public Health Module, and on an AI Competence Framework and Task Evaluation Cards

Finally, hot of the virtual press, see the 26 April HEPI blog post by Priya Madina on discussions at the London Book Fair 2024 on How AI Impacts on Academic Publishing. It’s interesting to reflect on the benefits for academics of using AI responsibly in relation to how we enable or allow our students to do the same!

You’ll find all these links, and more, on the AI CoP Padlet.

Posted in Academic Development, AI, AI CoP, Educational Enhancement

Artificial Intelligence Presents Both Promise and Peril: A Learning Technologist Reflects…

by Chris O’Reilly, Learning Technologist, University of Sussex

We acknowledge the use of Firefly on 04/04/2024 to generate this graphic image of Spaghetti Junction.

Throughout my working life I have been passionate about creative learning: I’ve always sought innovative ways to engage with and develop educational content. I am myself a visual learner. Today, I find myself reflecting on an educational career spanning over four decades, starting as a media technician at the South Bank Polytechnic in London (does anyone remember Polytechnics?) My formal education unfolded through day-release programmes, eventually culminating in part-time study for my Master’s degree in Digital Media.

So, what have I learned?

During my career I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with some remarkable, inspirational individuals. Two such people are Sandra Sinfield and Tom Burns, who champion creative learning and emphasise the importance of writing as a process and not merely as an assessment tool — see Supporting Student Writing and Other Modes of Learning and Assessment: A Staff Guide. They have also advocated over the years for more creativity in assessment. This practice and methodology has profoundly influenced my approach to how I work and encouraged me to develop creative and pedagogically rich online learning materials throughout my career.

Having developed hundreds of standalone multimedia packages and courses over many years, I am reminded of one in particular: ‘Clued Up,’ an online resource designed to equip students with essential digital literacy skills. The introduction video, “Your Digital Identity,” which was created just over a decade ago, now feels like a relic from a different era; a reminder of how technology is not just continuously moving forward but that it is accelerating fast.

Technology is not just moving forward…
it is accelerating fast.

For many years in education we’ve grappled with the challenge of moving beyond traditional assessment methods. While attempts have been made to explore alternatives, and dare I say more creative approaches, the truth is that there has not been significant progress. With the continuous growth of the internet many people thought we had come to a fork in the road at various times and that taking the path of new technology might speed up these innovative solutions.

Sadly that has not seemed to be the case.

What lies ahead then? Is artificial intelligence (AI) an even bigger catalyst for creative learning and creative assessments than the internet? I am not going into the merits and ethics of AI here in this blog as this requires a huge area of contemplation and is a major subject on its own. But I am keen to understand the influences it may have. Here at Sussex, we encourage the use of Microsoft Copilot as our preferred AI tool. Using your University of Sussex credentials to log in to Copilot will mean that what goes in and what comes out is not saved or shared and your data is not used outside of our organisation. Simply put, Copilot is ‘Protected’, you can find out more about Copilot by accessing our Educational Enhancement webpages.

Is A.I. a bigger catalyst for
creative learning and creative assessments
than the Internet?

There are interesting approaches already adopting AI into teaching practice such as the concept of ‘students as teachers and AI as the student’. This 101 creative ideas to use AI in education has numerous concepts presenting a diverse array of ideas on the potential uses of AI in education. And of course there is a boom of talks, discussions, conferences, blogs, and YouTube videos about what’s to come and how we can approach AI in our teaching. However, I am reminded that back in the 1970s, television news buzzed with excitement about a newly opened road junction: Spaghetti Junction. It was England’s most bewildering motorway interchange of its day and motorists approached it with trepidation, fearing they might emerge at an unintended exit.

Similarly, the emergence of AI presents both promise and peril. Some of our students, like speeding vehicles, may hurtle into AI without fully comprehending its intricacies. They risk emerging from this journey unprepared and disoriented. Can we as educationalists facilitate a smooth transition for our students and enable them to emerge having experienced a creative and deeper knowledge of learning?

As a learning technologist within Educational Enhancement I support the Business School and am currently involved with the ‘Festival of Sust(AI)nable Education’ conference, which is being hosted in the Jubilee Building on the 8th of May. This is a unique opportunity for faculty to shape the future of education at the University of Sussex Business School. This groundbreaking event will explore the intersection of sustainability, artificial intelligence and the future of education. There are several key influential guest speakers lined up for the conference including Sophia, the first robot citizen of the world. She will grace our virtual stage via a video link and will respond to questions from the audience.  

In anticipation of the festival, we’re launching “6 Days of AI”: an online initiative designed for academic participants to explore a variety of AI tools. The course is self-directed and each of the six days will introduce a new task. Every day, there will be comprehensive information about AI along with a platform where staff can provide comments and share their experiences of using it. We hope this leads nicely into the start of the festival and prepares attendees to be more familiar with the various concepts of AI.

So, amidst the buzz and uncertainty surrounding AI, as educationalists I feel we are in the perfect position to steer and guide our students in the right direction, into Spaghetti Junction and out the other side, helping them take the appropriate exit. This journey has the potential for educational enrichment and could help forge a path toward producing a more creative transformation of learning experiences for our students. However, we must remember that sometimes getting lost or confounded and finding your own way out can be a learning experience of the highest order. Getting the balance, it seems, and having the acquired knowledge that we need to deliver this support and provision might well be our steps to a journey of learning that we did not think we would have to take.

Posted in AI, Educational Enhancement, Learning Technologies

Embracing Sustainability: The Journey to Our GrEEn Office

by Simon Overton, Educational Enhancement Co-ordinator, University of Sussex

In a world increasingly conscious of its environmental footprint, the responsibility to adopt sustainable practices falls not just on individuals, but also on organisations. At the heart of this movement lies the concept of the green office – a space where eco-consciousness is integrated into every aspect of daily operations.

A little flag made with a toothpick and folded paper) on top of a monitor in the EE office. It states the name of this desk - Capri - and that "this desk is of medium temperature with moderate natural light".
A close-up view of Capri. Each desk has a flag indicating how warm and naturally-lit it is.

For our team, Educational Enhancement (or EE), the decision to transition to a more environmentally friendly workspace wasn’t just about following a trend; it was a reflection of our commitment to minimising our impact on the planet whilst still being efficient, inclusive, looking after everyone’s well-being and being a little bit playful at the same time. With this ethos guiding us, as well as the Green Impact toolkit, we embarked on a journey to transform our office into a beacon of sustainability.

One of the first steps we took was to select our new office location. EE sits in the office space on the first floor of the University of Sussex Library, and had been close to an internal window: lovely for seeing Sussex students beavering away at their studies, but less good in terms of heat and light. The library stays pretty warm all year round (probably thanks to 1960s archectural decisions, #SirBasilSpence) and in the summer can become extremely stuffy. Moving closer to windows allowed us to harness natural light, reducing our reliance on artificial lighting and minimising energy consumption. By strategically positioning our workspaces to take advantage of natural heating and cooling, we not only embraced eco-friendliness but also prioritised the comfort of our team members.

We gathered up and stored a large number of desk fans and lamps, dramatically reduced the number of devices drawing AC power, recycled defunct cables, old-fashioned phones, surplus power strips and other outdated tech, and moved our desks.

Four members of Educational Enhancement stand amid their newly moved desks, by a window showing the campus beyond. On the floor are piles of wires which have been removed in the process.
Desk moving complete: 8 December 2023.
Top: George Robinson (Senior Learning Technologist), Chris O’Reilly (Learning Technologist).
Middle: Simona Connelly (Academic Enhancement Officer).
Bottom: Simon Overton (me, pulling a silly face!)

As we settled into our new space, we set out to foster a culture of sustainability within our team. Inspired by the diverse countries of origin within EE and indeed the student body at Sussex, we devised a map highlighting different zones based on natural light and temperature variations. Each desk was given a name, fostering a sense of connection to our surroundings and encouraging mindfulness of our energy usage. The map was inspired by Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings and hangs in our office for visitors to enjoy.

A map of the EE office in the style of Tolkein's Lord of the Rings maps. Each desk is labelled with the name of an island, reflecting the "climate" in that area. Other sustainability areas are also labelled. There are sea creatures swimming in the "water" between the desks.
The EE “GrEEn Office” Map.

In our quest to repurpose and reduce waste, we got creative. Old desktop computers, once destined for the landfill, found new life as monitor risers, wrapped up as jolly birthday presents. This not only gave new purpose to discarded electronics but also served as a reminder of our commitment to finding innovative solutions to environmental challenges. We also avoided needing to buy plastic risers from Amazon and everything that entails. The only new things we did introduce were plants, one for every desk, to brighten things up and provide a bit of natural air purification.

A photo of a typical EE green hot desk. The monitor stands on a riser that looks like a birthday present. Cables are very tidy and the desk is minimalist and has plenty of space for working.
A typical EE hot desk. Note the “birthday present” monitor riser (inside is a defunct desktop PC). The docking hub is hidden behind the monitor and the power strip is behind the riser. The desk is minimalist and has plenty of space for working (also note there are very few cables above or beneath the desk).

Another area of focus was our office kitchen, or “Teaspoon Island” as it was named. Single-use items became a thing of the past as we embraced reusable alternatives. A simple system for washing up teaspoons and replacing shared tea, coffee and milk not only minimises waste but also promotes a sense of responsibility among team members to participate actively in our sustainability efforts. In addition, we created a sustainability station – a hub for all things eco-friendly. Here, team members can swap books, share tools and parts to repair bikes, and find reusable shopping bags, fostering a culture of resourcefulness and community while reducing our environmental footprint.

Two recycled glass jars, one labelled "clean teaspoons" and the other "teaspoons to be washed".
“Teaspoon Island”

Perhaps one of the most impactful changes we made was transitioning all desks to hot desks equipped with easily accessible power points. We reduced power strips to four gangs per desk (there had been 8 to 12 gang strips hardwired to each desk prior to that) and fitted each one with USB-C docking hubs, attached to the back of the monitors. All plugs are now at desktop level and are labelled, making it quick and easy to switch off items that are not in use. This empowers team members to monitor and manage their energy usage, and encourages a collective effort to reduce tech that is on standby.

Two plugs, one labelled "Dock" and the other "Monitor" lie on a desktop next to a power strip. They have been unplugged.
Easily accessible power strips are labelled to encourage unplugging.

As we reflect on our journey to transform our office into a little green oasis, we recognise that sustainability is not a destination but a continuous journey. While we’ve made significant strides, there’s always more we can do to reduce our impact on the planet whether that be exploring alternative energy sources or further minimising waste. In embracing sustainability, we’ve not only improved our environmental stewardship but also cultivated a workplace that fosters creativity, collaboration, and well-being. Our “GrEEn Office” isn’t just a physical space; it’s a testament to our dedication to building a brighter, more sustainable future for generations to come.

If you would like to get in touch with EE about our sustainable office, or any matters regarding Educational Enhancement, please email or visit

This post was written with help from Chat GPT.

Posted in Educational Enhancement, Sustainability

Sustainable Strategies for Learning Technologists: Reducing Environmental Impact in Educational Technology

by Simon Overton, Educational Enhancement Co-ordinator

In the fast-paced world of educational technology, where innovation drives progress and accessibility is paramount, it’s easy to overlook the environmental footprint of our digital endeavours. Learning technologists play a crucial role in shaping the future of education, but with this role comes a responsibility to minimise the environmental impact of our work. In this blog, we’ll explore practical strategies that learning technologists can implement to reduce their environmental footprint and promote sustainability in educational technology.

A stock image of two hands holding a hologram of the planet Earth, suggesting the potential greenness of technology.
Stock photo by Adobe Stock

The Environmental Impact of Educational Technology

Before delving into solutions, it’s important to understand the environmental implications of educational technology. While digital learning platforms and online resources offer numerous benefits, they also contribute to energy consumption, electronic waste, and carbon emissions. Data centres that host online learning platforms consume vast amounts of energy, and the production, distribution, and disposal of electronic devices contribute to pollution and resource depletion.

Moreover, the rapid pace of technological advancement often leads to shorter product lifecycles and frequent upgrades, resulting in a significant accumulation of electronic waste. As learning technologists, it’s essential to recognise these challenges and proactively seek sustainable solutions.

Sustainable Strategies for Learning Technologists

  1. Optimise Digital Infrastructure: One of the most effective ways to reduce the environmental impact of educational technology is to optimise digital infrastructure. This includes consolidating servers, adopting cloud-based services, and leveraging virtualisation technologies to maximise resource efficiency. By reducing the number of physical servers and data centres, we can minimise energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with hosting online learning platforms.
  2. Promote Energy Efficiency: Encourage energy-efficient practices among students, educators, and administrators. Provide guidance on power-saving settings for devices, promote the use of energy-efficient hardware, and educate users on the environmental benefits of minimising screen time and unplugging devices when not in use. Additionally, explore opportunities to power digital learning initiatives with renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power.
  3. Curate Sustainable Digital Content: When developing digital learning materials, prioritise sustainability by choosing eco-friendly formats and reducing file sizes to minimise bandwidth usage. Opt for open educational resources (OER) and creative commons licensed content to reduce the need for excessive replication and distribution. Encourage collaboration and resource-sharing among educators to minimise redundancy and promote efficiency in content creation.
  4. Extend Product Lifecycles: Encourage users to extend the lifespan of electronic devices by providing guidance on proper maintenance, repair, and refurbishment. Promote responsible disposal practices by facilitating e-waste recycling programmes and partnering with reputable recycling organisations. Consider implementing buy-back or trade-in programmes to incentivise users to return old devices for refurbishment or recycling.
  5. Implement Sustainable Procurement Practices: When purchasing new hardware or software, prioritise products with eco-friendly certifications such as ENERGY STAR or EPEAT. Consider factors such as energy efficiency, recyclability, and environmental impact throughout the product lifecycle. Collaborate with vendors to advocate for sustainable product design and packaging, and explore opportunities for bulk purchasing to reduce packaging waste.
  6. Foster Environmental Awareness: Raise awareness among stakeholders about the environmental impact of educational technology and the importance of sustainability in digital learning initiatives. Provide training and educational resources on eco-friendly practices, and integrate sustainability into curriculum development to instil environmental consciousness in students from an early age.
  7. Measure and Monitor Impact: Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to track and measure the environmental impact of digital learning initiatives. Monitor energy consumption, carbon emissions, and electronic waste generation to identify areas for improvement and benchmark progress over time. Use data analytics and reporting tools to identify opportunities for optimisation and inform decision-making processes.


As learning technologists, we have a responsibility to prioritise sustainability in our digital learning initiatives and minimise the environmental impact of educational technology. By implementing the strategies outlined above, we can contribute to a more sustainable future for education while empowering learners to become environmentally conscious global citizens. Together, we can harness the power of technology to facilitate learning while preserving the planet for future generations. Let’s embrace sustainability as a guiding principle in educational technology and pave the way for a brighter, greener future.

Written with assistance from Chat GPT.

Posted in Educational Enhancement, Learning Technologies, Sustainability

It Takes a Village to Raise a Learning Technologist: How Work Shadowing can Enhance Collaboration and Professional Development

by Faye Brockwell, Learning Technologist

In the grey gloom of the current weather, being grateful for what you have is one way to boost your mood and I had a great opportunity to do just that recently when a colleague from another team asked to work shadow me. Throughout the process I found myself reflecting on my role as a Learning Technologist (LT) at Sussex, how I got here and just how much I owe to the people who supported me along the way.

Stock photo of two colleagues, sitting in front of a laptop. The person on the left is pointing out something to the person on the right. They are next to a bright window in a modern office.
Photo by Adobe Stock

When my colleague approached me I was feeling a little overwhelmed – I’d had a run of catching pretty much every bug going (as had my kids) and that, along with the usual start-of-year chaos of supporting assessments and the set-up of new module sites in our Canvas Virtual Learning Environment left me feeling like I was just skimming the surface of my to-do list. So it would have been very easy to say no.

It would have been very easy to say no.

But the request immediately brought to mind all the people who have taken time out to help me along my way to becoming an LT, when they too were snowed under. Like my wonderful colleagues on the eLearning team at the University of Brighton, who took time out to demystify module templates and patiently explain Turnitin (well, no-one can ever truly explain Turnitin, but they had a good go). And then there’s the Professional Services colleagues (both here at Sussex and at Brighton before them) who have talked me through processes and terminology and helped me work out who’s who. (I could go on, but this is a blog post, not an Oscars acceptance speech, so sorry to the many others not mentioned here). I am eternally grateful to all of those people, and I feel lucky to now be in a position to pass on that kindness.

So I said yes.

During our weekly sessions together, I took my colleague through some of the work I do. And again I felt grateful. This time for the variety of work that my role comprises: helping stressed colleagues fix things that have gone wrong with Canvas; developing and facilitating workshops; playing with new technology; and collaborating with colleagues across the university.

I am lucky to be in a position to pass on that kindness.

So I said yes.

The experience gave me an opportunity to collaborate more closely with my colleague and reflect on how fortunate I am to work with such amazing people. In every task I included him in, I was able to draw immediately on his expertise, which was invaluable when working to develop some Canvas training for professional services colleagues, as well as when we were trouble-shooting some issues with assessments.

I would recommend work shadowing to anyone, whether you are the shadower or the shadowed – you may be surprised how much you gain from the experience. So, to my lovely colleague, thank you for asking to work shadow me. You probably thought I was doing you an immense favour, when in fact it was the other way around.

And thanks for helping to cheer up a wet, grey start to the year!

Posted in Educational Enhancement, Learning Technologies, Professional Development

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We are the Educational Enhancement team at the University of Sussex. We publish posts each week on using technology to support teaching and learning. Read more about us.

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