Enhancement Themes Mini-projects Case Studies

Mini-projects are an integral part of our Enhancement Themes activity. We have highlighted some of the projects here, to let you see the variety of activity going on at Heriot-Watt University. These projects have been disseminated externally at national and international conferences, and you may be inspired to do something similar in your context.

Lothian Learners Development Programme

Camilla Irvine-Fortescue and Samantha Clark, from the Public Engagement and Outreach teams at HWU, received mini-project funding in 2021/22 for a public engagement event. Their idea was to support PhD research students develop their skills through a number of activities, to develop resources and materials which could be used in the community.

There are many benefits to this project:

  • The PhD students gained confidence in making their research public.
  • Schools were able to take advantage of bespoke resources
  • Relationships were supported between schools and the university
  • The reputation of the university was enhanced
  • People who might not otherwise be involved in higher education or research could see the benefits of taking part in a project

A collaborative approach to student scholarship skills

Marion Kennedy, Thomas Farrington and Claudine Salgado led a mini-project which aimed to embed literacy skills within a programme. Very often, literacy skills are seen as a “bolt-on” to an academic programme, and students are encouraged to go to the library to complete a workshop, or are sent to effective learning advisers for remedial help.

The thinking behind this project was to embed skills which are normally considered additional into the heart of a course. This was done by using the flipped classroom approach, with online resources and live sessions to support development.

There are plans to continue with this approach, gather more data as to its effectiveness, and develop skills acquisition and information literature for students.

A collaborative approach to teaching translation

This mini-project, led by Juliette Rutherford and Khadidja Merakchi, LINCS, and Sui He, Swansea University, was funded in 2021/22.

The purpose of the project was to develop a workshop for translators to address the concept of translating metaphors, and the complexities of this in teaching and translation. The workshop developers took a collaborative approach, realising the benefits of this type of learning.

The workshop was held in April 2022, and was attended by a range of translators who worked through a number of examples, using French, Chinese and English as the translation languages.

The authors have plans to further develop this workshop and have taken their work to a disciplinary conference.

Virtual labs for digital electronics to embedded systems

This project by Mathini Sellathurai and Mauro Dragone is a project which is designed to support engineering students during their programme of study, but also develop a community of learners. The project was identified from student feedback and programme leaders were keen to address that feedback and improve things for their students. The situation was exacerbated by the pandemic, so the solution was to use programming packs (Arduino and Raspberry Pi) sent out to students.