We welcomed over 150 new postgraduate students to Edinburgh Futures Institute last week as students arrived on campus and in our digital spaces to take up places on six new futures programmes.
As the University of Edinburgh opened its doors to new students for Welcome Week, EFI’s first student cohort on the futures portfolio took up places both online and in-person.
Welcome Week offers students an opportunity to get comfortable with new surroundings, meet fellow students and try out new things. For EFI’s new students this also means finding their way around the fusion classroom and exploring the mix of online and on campus opportunities.
A student hub space has been created on South College Street and classrooms are kitted out with learning technology in teaching spaces in the Lister Building. Many students have the opportunity to take some of their classes online while participating in-person for others.
Edinburgh Futures Institute teams and staff from across the University have worked intensively over the last year to be ready to deliver a new, fusion learning experience to students. The atmosphere is experimental and exciting as staff and students explore new ways of working and collaborating.
Professor Chris Speed, Director of Edinburgh Futures Institute, welcomed new students with a call to action that spoke to EFI’s ideas, principles and vision – the opportunity to experiment, to work across boundaries and to collaborate with other students, with researchers and the many organisations that are committed to ‘making a difference’ in the world.
Professor Sian Bayne, Director of EFI Education, thanked incoming postgraduate students for joining the Futures Institute’s first cohort pioneers, and explained the rationale behind the innovative teaching model that EFI is championing – interdisciplinary, project-led and hybrid.
Six new and interdisciplinary programmes
EFI’s new postgraduate programmes are for those who embrace new ways of thinking and want an education that helps shape a better future, for themselves and for our world. The opportunity to study on-campus, online or move between both is available to all applicants. Full-time, part-time or life-long study is fully supported by the curriculum and in EFI’s approach to creating the student experience.
Students are invited to bring their academic interests, and professional and life experience to their study and will work across disciplines, digging deep into some of the world’s most complex challenges and developing vital career skills.
Experience and experiment
From developing the ethical approaches needed for data innovation to exploring how we create meaningful narratives and work together – EFI is challenging higher education to help meet the demands of an uncertain future.
This new suite of postgraduate programmes is designed to break new ground in inclusivity and flexibility and create an environment in which students can work in teams with people from different disciplines, offering opportunities to develop creative, critical and data skills.
The Futures Institute’s Data + Design Lab ran the first of what will be many deep dives into unique opportunities to collaborate and create, offering students a taste of ‘DAO baking’ and inviting them to get started on developing their student experience as a collective endeavour.
DAOs, short for decentralised autonomous organisations, are collectively-owned organisations (usually online communities with shared crypto wallets) working towards a shared mission.
EFI’s new students were tasked with creating a DAO – establishing a common goal or objective, building a community of support and constructing governance and communication to manage funding and realise the vision.
The Data + Design Lab is helping develop new ideas and ways of thinking by bringing together different audiences and supporting multi-disciplinary engagements using participatory methods.
Pushpi Bagchi, Research Associate, Data+Design Lab said:
“We wanted to engage the first cohort of EFI students by challenging them to bake a DAO that could meaningfully enhance their experience by working through tricky questions around power and values, which are integral to society. This first live project was a fun experiment in catalysing a sense of community through collaboration and shared objectives.”
A warm welcome to all our new students!