Digital presence

We aim to develop our digital education environment and expand the use of learning technologies to enhance the student experience, support high-level digital literacy, scale  up our online and distance learning offerings, and increase the connectivity of our campuses and communities.

Our Strategy for Learning 2015-20 highlights the importance of a transformative approach to learning; flexible learning pathways and partnerships, particularly with colleges; digital learning; learning and teaching excellence; and student engagement. It focuses on a distinctive approach to learning, teaching and assessment. This is based on engagement- led learning and real world problem solving, coupled with inter and multi-disciplinary curricula with opportunities for personalisation. 

The University’s creative programmes, which cover a wide range of disciplines including graphic, interior, games and product design, electronic systems, 3D computer animation, and computer games art and animation, are celebrated in Caledonian Creates, an annual celebration of work.

Flexible learning

Our Strategy for Learning 2015-20 highlights the importance of a transformative approach to learning; flexible learning pathways and partnerships, particularly with colleges; digital learning; learning and teaching excellence; and student engagement. It focuses on a distinctive approach to learning, teaching and assessment. This is based on engagement- led learning and real world problem solving, coupled with inter and multi-disciplinary curricula with opportunities for personalisation. 

GCU is delivering an innovative, bespoke Cisco Certified Networking Associate training programme for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. The blended learning model of delivery utilises Cisco’s Netspace learning environment, featuring online tutorials and further reading. Day schools are held on campus at GCU, and participants complete assessments to progress through to certification. Hands-on labs and Packet Tracer simulation-based learning activities help students develop critical thinking and complex problem solving skills.

Creative programmes

The University’s creative programmes, which cover a wide range of disciplines including graphic, interior, games and product design, electronic systems, 3D computer animation, and computer games art and animation, are celebrated in Caledonian Creates, an annual celebration of work.

A team of GCU students has been shortlisted for a BAFTA at Scotland’s biggest video games festival. During the Dare to be Digital game-design competition, GCU team Pictrail created a game called Selfienation, where the goal is to challenge friends to take selfies before rating them.

The BAFTA-shortlisted team was made up of a group of second and third-year students from GCU’s Computer Games Software Development, Computer Games Design and Computer Games Art and Animation programmes.

While a student at GCU, International Product Design graduate Sam Whitten created a prototype pair of eco-friendly sunglasses made from hemp. He exhibited the sunglasses as part of the University’s Caledonian Creates event. Kickstarter is a crowd-funding platform that allows people to ‘pledge’ donations via a webpage, essentially allowing them to purchase a product before it is manufactured while also giving the business the funds needed to deliver it.

Another three students developed an innovative way for your plants to tell you when they need more water, via Twitter. Created by third-year engineering students Greg Larkin, Kieran Small and Scott Cairns, the Automatic Plant Care System Tweets its owner when the plant needs more watering or additional sunlight.

GCU has also been praised by the Scottish Government for its work in schools to develop digital skills. Gaming for Glasgow was delivered by GCU’s School of Engineering and Built Environment to Glasgow schools, supported by the Celtic FC Foundation and the Caledonian Club. Its aim was to improve digital skills by designing and creating interactive games and storytelling. The project has received the support of industry experts such as film director Danny McGrath.

Each year, the rising stars of Scotland’s gaming industry come together in Glasgow to take part in a worldwide race against the clock to develop original action-packed games in just 48 hours. The Scottish Game Jam, part of the phenomenally successful Global Game Jam which is held in 63 countries, is attended by developers, programmers, designers, artists, musicians and students will work non-stop to develop and design innovative video games.

GCU students and staff recently had the opportunity to create an app to help NASA explore the outer reaches of our solar system. GCU’s Ethical Hacking Society ran the Glasgow International Space Apps Challenge (ISAC), which is set and overseen by space agency NASA, part of the International Space Apps Challenge, a two-day contest where teams of technologists, scientists, designers, artists, educators, entrepreneurs, developers and students across the globe collaborate and engage with publicly available data.

Collaborative Online International Learning

COIL stands for Collaborative Online International Learning. Coordinated by the State University New York (SUNY) it is a learning and teaching approach that uses internet-based tools and innovative online pedagogies to connect students and staff from universities in different countries. Integrated into the taught curriculum at module level it aims to enhance the intercultural competence of academics and their students. GCU is one of COIL's 17 Global Network Partners.

MOOCs

Caledonian Academy is a centre for research in technology-enhanced professional learning. Massive Open Online Courses aim to open access to online learning. Over the past two years hundreds of MOOCs have been set up by universities around the world. Yet little is known about how people learn in MOOCs.

In a study, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through its MOOC Research Initiative funding stream, the team explored the role of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in supporting and enabling professional learning, or learning for work. The study was contextualised within ‘Fundamentals of clinical trials’, a MOOC for health professionals designed and run by the Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, and Harvard Catalyst, the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center, and offered by edX.

The research was informed by contemporary theories of professional learning, which argue that conventional forms of learning are no longer effective in knowledge-intensive domains. As work roles evolve and learning for work becomes continual and personalised, self-regulation is becoming a critical element of professional learning. Yet established forms of professional learning generally have not taken advantage of the affordances of social, semantic technologies to support self-regulated learning. MOOCs present a potentially useful approach to professional learning that may be designed to encourage self-regulated learning (SRL).

GCU Games On

GCU Games On was a free open online event to celebrate, explore and share experiences during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. It ran between 16 July and 8 August 2014. Open to members of the public, GCU Games On was designed as a fun way to enable people to experience online learning and win digital medals.

Over the course of the event we had over 200 participants from the Commonwealth and beyond joining in the fun from countries including Australia, New Zealand, India, Trinidad & Tobago, Canada, Ireland, South Korea Italy, Israel, Denmark and Spain.

Participants won nearly 200 digital medals and contributed to an active twitter community using the #GCUGamesOn hashtag.