The LearnSci Community: 6 ways to connect with fellow university STEM educators

Ashleigh Steele
November 24, 2022

Whether you’re new to teaching in higher education, or an experienced university educator, having access to a network of others to learn from and discuss challenges with can help you deliver best practice in teaching and learning. That’s why we created the LearnSci Community of Practice to connect educators of all levels across the world to inspire one another and share innovative ideas. And we want you to join! Here’s how you can get involved.

Ashleigh and members of the LearnSci Community presenting at the Horizons in STEM Education Conference.

What is the LearnSci Community of Practice?

We created the LearnSci Community of Practice to build a network of science educators from all over the world who are championing the use of digital tools in teaching. Over the last few years, our community has grown to include over 450 educators, and it’s still growing. Our vision is to provide opportunities for all of our LearnSci Partners to:

  • connect with other educators regionally and globally.
  • share best pedagogical practices.
  • learn about digital educational tools and their positive impacts.
  • feedback to us about their experiences and challenges.

Interested in joining this global network of educators? Here’s six different ways you can get involved in the Community.

1. Teaching Innovation Awards - Celebrating innovations in digital education

What are they?

Our annual awards celebrate innovation in the use of digital tools in science education that positively impact teaching quality and enhance student learning. It’s a chance for educators in science to showcase the creative ways they’ve used technology to enhance student learning experiences. Submissions are showcased on our website, meaning best practice will be shared with our entire global community. In addition, all winning entries receive a cash prize to be used for an educational purpose of your choice, and a bespoke hand crafted trophy to display!

How do I get involved?

Apply now! Applications for the 2022 awards are currently open. Find out what we’re looking for in applications and hear the benefits of applying from previous applicants on Teaching Innovation Awards homepage. Submit your application now to be in with a chance of winning! Applications close at midday (GMT) on January 3rd 2023.

“The amount of people showing interest in our work, and replicating it across their departments and courses is phenomenal. The awards have catalysed that sharing of best practice.”
- Helen Cregg, Atlantic Technological University

2. Digital Champions - Recognising expertise and advancing careers

What is it?

The LearnSci Digital Champion certification formally recognises the expertise of educators using digital learning tools, including LabSims and Smart Worksheets. It provides you with evidence to support career progression applications such as FHEA and SFHEA and helps to promote the use of LearnSci resources within your institution. 

How do I get involved?

Check if you meet the criteria and hear from some of our current Digital Champions about their goals of supporting colleagues on the Digital Champions webpage. Our Community of Practice Lead is happy to discuss how we can support you to reach the criteria and submit an application, contact Ashleigh with any questions.

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3. Community Groups - Spaces to discuss ideas and share best practices

What are they?

We’re dedicated to spreading best practice, creating effective ways for our partners and community to share knowledge and ideas. Our Community Groups invite educators worldwide to connect and discuss best practices around particular topic areas. We currently offer groups around: 

  • Effective Feedback and Assessments
  • Scientific and Practical Skills
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Mathematical Skills in Science

We also currently offer a regional Community Group for our partners based in Australia and New Zealand.

Each group meets online twice a year to share their challenges, best practices and solutions. Anyone working in the education sector interested in these areas can join these groups, no matter their career stage or involvement with LearnSci.

How do I get involved?

Get involved in the discussions with fellow educators by joining our next online meeting. Simply register your interest on the Community Groups webpage. We’d also love to hear ideas for future Community Groups, so tell us what you’d love to discuss with educators from around the world.

4. LearnSci Webcasts - Stories, tips and tricks from experienced educators

What are they?

We’re inviting our partners to be part of global conversations. The LearnSci Webcasts are all about educators helping educators. Each episode will provide tips and tricks around a particular pedagogical topic and guest speakers will share their experiences, challenges and solutions. Season 1 is available on our youtube channel now!

How do I get involved?

Subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date with all new episodes. Episodes will be released fortnightly across Season 1 coming soon. 

If you’d like the opportunity to be part of global pedagogical conversations, connect with other educators and have exposure as an expert online, you could be a guest speaker. We’d love to hear from you.

5. Educational Research - Opportunities and support for your projects

What is it?

We’re actively committed to helping our academic partners and educators understand and share the impact their use of LearnSci resources have on student outcomes. We do this by supporting our partners research projects, identifying opportunities for group research and collaboration, or by offering chances to participate in our Student Insight Survey

How do I get involved?

If you’re a current LearnSci partner, you can still register an interest in the 2022/23 Student Insights Survey to gather a deeper understanding of your students opinions and usage of our resources. You can also get in touch with our Education Research and Insights lead Emily if you have any initial ideas or queries about research opportunities.

6. Outreach - Supporting your projects with digital tools

What is it?

We aim to expand the horizons of students studying science at all educational levels. We support our partner universities to offer outreach programmes to schools in their local communities, and help fund international cross-institutional initiatives to enhance the student experience. This could be guidance on how to use your solutions to engage different audiences or perhaps providing access for specific projects. For example, we recently supported the WorldSkills Laboratory Technician Competition.

How do I get involved?

If you want to run an outreach science activity in your community, let us know. We would love to see how we can support you.

Get involved with our community today!

We’d love to see you join our community, and hope you can get involved in one or more of the ways above. If you have any questions about taking part, or have ideas about how to continue building our community, get in touch today!