Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Dancing teeth

After the various national things last week, a mixture of local meetings in the last couple of days. Yesterday we had a Strategic Liaison meeting with the Faculty of Social Sciences, where we went through our plan again, picking up a number points of interest.

Then I spent sometime discussing our business continuity and incident management procedures specifically around student occupations of University buildings. A lot of things to consider, not least the health and safety of the occupiers themselves.

Today I went to a meeting between all heads of department and the University Executive Board, where we had an update from the VC on the current situation in the sector. Uncertainty in many areas still seems to be the order of the day. The White Paper is still not published, there are obvious differences of opinion in the coalition, and a lot of speculation around student numbers - most of which it is probably safe to ignore. We don't yet know how the changed financial situation is going to affect prospective student behaviour, and it will take a couple of years for patterns to emerge and become clearer. But, we intend to keep on track towards our vision - there's a lot of business as usual which we need to get on with, and this is particularly the case in delivering excellent teaching to our students. Our VC has written a good blog post recently In Praise of Teaching which is definitely worth a read.

And talking about delivering excellent teaching..... This morning I went to one of our Fireside Chat sessions where a topic is presented to staff mainly from Technical Services (although I think following this morning's session we need to look at broadening that out). This morning's session was on Augmented Reality and was delivered by one of our excellent teachers from Dentistry, Chris Stokes. It was an excellent presentation - who knew that teeth could be so interesting? Chris showed how he'd been experimenting with using augmented reality to help teach students to recognise the different types of teeth. He took us through some of the existing AR stuff around, including some of the places you can try it out  - I'm going to have a play here later. Then he showed us what they've been doing in modelling 3D teeth. Lots of exciting stuff  - teeth dancing off the desk! Well, probably not exactly dancing, but spinning.  Lots of problems still to be ironed out in the creation of AR stuff, and development has slowed down slightly as the concentration is on mobile. But, lots of potential for exciting uses.

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