Near Future Teaching

The Near Future Teaching project ran between 2017 and 2019, with the goal of developing a values-based vision for the future of digital education at the University of Edinburgh.

Over the two years, it applied the collective agency and creative insights of the university community to the design of a preferred future for our teaching and learning.

It advocated for the idea that the University community should take stock and actively shape a preferred future for teaching based on shared values, at a time when technological change is accelerating and often assumed to be driving the future of learning.

The project was led by Sian Bayne (Assistant Principal Digital Education), and conducted by a core team of Jennifer Williams (Project Manager) and Michael Gallagher (Research Associate), from the Centre for Research in Digital Education.

Many of the project outputs, including resources, materials and thematic edits of video interviews have been made available to reuse under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence and can be downloaded from the project website and via the links below.


Future Reviews

Two short reviews which summarise what we see as the key trends and influences likely to shape digital education in universities in the near future.

Opinion Cards

The opinion cards distill the ideas that came out of our interviews, focus groups and events. They were devised via an affinity mapping approach across all our data. Each opinion card has a theme on one side and a sample of quotes direct from the students and staff of the University of Edinburgh on the back.

Value Cards

These are one of the most important outputs from the project. Through further of analysis of the opinion cards developed from the interviews and events with students and staff, we established four core driving values. These form the basis for all the aims, objectives and actions in the final report.

Future Worlds

These were written from the Future reviews to be used in our design workshops as thought experiments. They helped us to test how the values we distilled might work within a series of plausible future worlds.

Future Universities

These speculations were used as source material to shape discussion around how universities might look within our four Future worlds. From these, we moved to understand what a preferable future university might be like.

Future Practices

These further speculations emerged through workshops in which we tried to understand what teaching might actually look like within our future university scenarios.


These short videos present the thoughts of staff and students at the University of Edinburgh on the future of digital education. The project team asked over 50 members of the community to talk about their values, their relationship to the university, their perspective on technological change, and their preferred futures. All videos are available to view, download and reuse under CC BY licence from the Near Future Teaching channel on  Media Hopper Create.