söndag 21 december 2014

KTH Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

KTH will organise a pedagogical conference in March, "KTH Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 2015". "The main purpose of the conference is to stimulate our teachers to develop their teaching and learning by documenting and sharing their educational efforts." The information about the conference has not been top notch, we were a little unsure about a couple of different things but still decided to make an effort and submit a bunch of papers before the December 15 deadline.

My colleague Björn Hedin was instrumental in prodding us to write 300-400 words abstracts and I believe me and my colleagues at the Department of Media Technology and Interaction Design submitted no less than six abstracts. Below are the two submissions where I am a co-author:


Seminar or support group? Responding to students’ emotions in sustainability education

Elina Eriksson and Daniel Pargman

Keywords:  Sustainability, emotions, worldview

There are almost 250 courses at KTH that are tagged as ESD courses (environment and sustainable development). Some courses are mandatory, and the student group can then be heterogeneous in terms of their level of understanding and investment in sustainability. We teach such a course for media technology students and have earlier discussed how value-laden the subject of sustainability can be (Pargman and Eriksson 2013). Sustainability is an inherently difficult and complex subject matter, and, some of the facts (Stocker et al. 2013) can be disturbing or even threatening the individual’s sense of well being (e.g. the potential for mass extinction or sea level rises). As teachers we have noticed that presenting such information can provoke strong feelings, as exemplified by the students who approached us after a lecture on climate change, and, with tears in their eyes asked if we could say something more optimistic.

There are many emotional barriers to difficult issues such as climate change, as described in Norgaard’s (2011) book on the social construction of climate change denial. By talking about climate change and resource scarcity, we also to some degree raise topics and open up discussions that go against the ingrained default belief of us living in the best of times, continuing our march towards a future of unlimited progress (Greer 2013). These discussions to a high degree contradict the (meta-)message that students get from other courses at KTH. One way we have handled these issues is to use the seminars as an opportunity for the students to vent their emotions, if necessary allowing the discussions to digress from the pre-planned theme. This opens up questions concerning our roles as teachers. How can we find a balance in our roles as domain experts versus acting as therapists?


Greer, J. M. (2013). Not the future we ordered - Peak oil, psychology, and the myth of progress. London, UK, Karnac Books.

Norgaard, K. M. (2011). Living in denial: Climate change, emotions, and everyday life, MIT Press.

Pargman, D. and E. Eriksson  (2013). “It’s not fair!”-making students engage in sustainability. In Proc. EESD'13

Stocker, T., D. Qin, G. Plattner, M. Tignor, S. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P. Midgley, Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Summary for Policymakers,  2013


Educational use of Social Annotation Systems for Peer Feedback 

Daniel Pargman and Björn Hedin

Keywords: social annotation systems, peer feedback, technology enhanced learning

Social annotation systems provide a way for several students to annotate shared documents in an online environment (Novak, Razzouk & Johnson, 2012). We have for a number of years used social annotation systems in order to allow students to comment on each other's work, and have very positive experiences for using it in academic writing in bachelor theses (Hedin, 2012; Pargman, Hedin, & Hrastinski, 2013). In this roundtable we present and demonstrate the method that is used, and add the experiences from using social annotation systems in two other courses, with more strict guidelines for what constitutes good feedback practice inspired by Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick (2006), and by  De Bono’s “Six thinking hats” (De Bono, 1999).

After introducing social annotation systems in bachelor thesis writing, the throughput has increased from 78% to almost 100%, even though a causal effect cannot be established. The attitudes of the students have been very positive, where both giving and receiving feedback to and from fellow students has been seen as activities well worth the effort. The feedback guidelines have increased the quality of the feedback given by freshmen students.


De Bono, E., 1999. Six thinking hats. Taylor & Francis.

Hedin, B., 2012. Peer Feedback in Academic Writing Using Google Docs. In: Proceedings of LTHs 7:e Pedagogiska Inspirationskonferens, Lund 2012. Lund.

Nicol, D.J. and Macfarlane‐Dick, D., 2006. Formative assessment and self‐regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), pp.199–218.

Novak, E., Razzouk, R. and Johnson, T.E., 2012. The educational use of social annotation tools in higher education: A literature review. The Internet and Higher Education, 15(1), pp.39–49.

Pargman, D., Hedin, B. and Hrastinski, S., 2013. Using group supervision and social annotation systems to support students ’ academic writing. Högre Utbildning, 3(2), pp.129–134.

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