I believe in enhancing university teaching at all levels through delivering experiential learning including problem-based and research-based approaches. I am particularly interested in replicating real-word scenarios in teaching and encouraging students to go outside of their comfort zone and to learn through training others. One particular focus of mine is the teaching of quantitative skills in a way that engages all students equally, including those who are intimidated by mathematics, programming and statistics.
Coding Club is a peer-to-peer teaching scheme for computer coding and quantitative skills. Coding Club encourages statistical training and the surmounting of statistics anxiety – worry about a lack of quantitative skills – and code fear – the fear of programming. It is a peer-to-peer teaching initiative where attendees are trained in quantitative skills by PhD and undergraduate students and then mentored to share these skills to their fellow students through a series of informal workshops on a variety of quantitative skills topics at different levels. Coding Club was the winner of the University of Edinburgh 2017 Impact Award for best student staff collaboration.
Online Data Science Course
Data Science in Ecology and Environmental Science
The Data Science in Ecology and Environmental Science course aims to promote the development of quantitative skills among 3rd and 4th year students (and MSc students when appropriate) at the University of Edinburgh using interactive workshops and taught through GitHub as an online learning platform. The course was designed by Isla Myers-Smith and Gergana Daskalova and is taught by Isla, Gergana and PhD tutors from 2018 to 2020.
The Conservation Science course is an interdisciplinary course covering the biological and social sides of the discipline taught by Isla Myers-Smith, Aidan Keane and PhD tutors from 2015 – 2020. Conservation Science was awarded the University of Edinburgh Innovative Assessment award in 2016.
The GeoScience Outreach course is a hands-on course where student conduct an outreach project in the community to communicate science to broad audiences. Students learn key communication skills and project management through carrying out their projects. The course was led by Isla Myers-Smith in 2017 and 2018. GeoScience Outreach was a runner up for the University of Edinburgh Innovative Assessment award in 2017.
Ecology and Critical Thinking
I also teach on the courses Critical Thinking and advanced ecology course in the honours year of the Ecology and Environmental Sciences Programme at the University of Edinburgh teaching critical assessment of the literature and the introductory course in Ecology on the topics of biodiversity science and global change.