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

T. D. Drysdale, S. Kelley, A. M. Scott, V. Dishon, J. Scoles, A. Weightman, R. J. Lewis, S. Watts

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding

1 Citation (SciVal)


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 non-human 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 students.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSEFI 47th Annual Conference
Subtitle of host publicationVarietas Delectat... Complexity is the New Normality, Proceedings
EditorsBalazs Vince Nagy, Mike Murphy, Hannu-Matti Jarvinen, Aniko Kalman
PublisherEuropean Society for Engineering Education (SEFI)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9782873520182
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
Event47th SEFI Annual Conference 2019 - Varietas Delectat: Complexity is the New Normality - Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 16 Sept 201919 Sept 2019

Publication series

NameSEFI 47th Annual Conference: Varietas Delectat... Complexity is the New Normality, Proceedings


Conference47th SEFI Annual Conference 2019 - Varietas Delectat: Complexity is the New Normality


  • Remote laboratories
  • Simulations
  • Virtual laboratories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Education


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