Gardens and roofs as nature reserves in cities

I just heard about this brilliant initiative at Sharrow School in Sheffield (less than a mile from the hospital where I was born!).    One of the school buildings has a roof garden which was specifically designed to represent the various habitats that can be found in the local area.  The garden was so successful that the school was able to have it designated as a local nature reserve under UK law.  You can see more details of the school and the building (including the description of the LNR itself and the justification for the designation).  The roof garden was organised by the Green Roof Centre, an organisation based within the University of Sheffield, when building was created in 2007 during the merger of two local schools to form Sharrow School.Read More »

Three simple reasons why MOOCs are a good thing

A group of UK universities (mine included) have embarked upon a new initiative called “FutureLearn” which seeks to take the raw success of MOOC providers like Udacity, EdX and Coursera (almost exclusively North American) and build them into a diverse and viable teaching framework.  This is a really exciting opportunity for the UK universities involved, and I am looking forward to seeing how it turns out.  I also have a vested interest, as I am (as of a couple of weeks ago) chairing a Faculty committee on the integration of technology into student learning.  However, I have been reading a lot of material about MOOCs that has been less than positive and so I think it is probably worth pointing out some important benefits of MOOCs to help balance the debate:Read More »