Post—humanistic 'practices of community' for non-traditional laboratory work

Simon Kelley, Tim Drysdale, Victoria Dishon, Anne-Marie Scott, Jenny Scoles, Andrew Weightman, Richard Lewis, Stephen Watts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Many traditional campuses face pressure on physical laboratory estate, making it
difficult or impossible to simultaneously satisfy an enhanced level of active learning for
an increasing number of students. Non-traditional practical work (NTPW) approaches
such as virtual or remote labs can be delivered digitally, reducing estates pressure.
There is emerging evidence that NTPW activities, especially when mixed with
traditional laboratories, produce as-good or better educational outcomes than
traditional laboratories alone. This hints at the idea that technology offers not just a
replacement for existing practices, but the opportunity for enhancement, including
directing and evaluating students through collaborations between teachers and nonhuman
remote laboratory entities. Inspiration and insight can be drawn from critical
post-humanism, which explores what happens when non-human actors exert
influence in education. We look to understand the effect of widespread introduction of
NTPW on students’ practices during study and also in their subsequent professional
practices. We use the field of Science and Technology Studies, to find a description
of how students will come together in the socio-technological environment created by
non-traditional practical work. Like the world in which our graduates are going to enter,
sociotech environments can be difficult to predict, which challenges the idea that best
practice is a ‘thing’ that should be solidified, static, or final. It instead emphasises that
practices (plural) are multiple, non-finalised performances that evolve over time. This
must be reflected in the implementation, evaluation and support given to both staff and
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the SEFI 47th Annual Conference
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • remote laboratories
  • virtual laboratories
  • simulations


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