FASS Festival of Research 2021: ‘Technology and Life-Long Learning’ Panel.

The FASS Festival of Research 2021, hosted by the University of Surrey, was a series of virtual panels and speeches showcasing some of the University’s top research throughout the Faculties. The Festival ran from the 18th January to the 21st January, with the closing panel, ‘Technology and Life-Long Learning’, highlighting the university’s brand-new strategic research theme Technology and Society, and chaired by the themes very own theme champion Dr Ranjana Das. The panel was held on the 21st January and consisted of three fascinating talks from Dr Anesa Hosein (Institute of Higher Education), Dr Debbie Cooke (FHMS, Health Sciences) and Dr Doris Dippold (School of Literature and Languages).

The opening talk by Dr Doris Dippold (School of Literature and Languages), focused on ‘Life-long learning through a research-led MOOC’. Doris’s project consisted of a course centered around communication with diverse audiences. The course was targeted at professionals who regularly communicated across cultural and linguistic boundaries, and included a language-led approach to intercultural communication which drew on theories and models from applied linguistics. The approach encouraged reflection on personal communication rather than providing general solutions. Doris’s findings highlighted how communication can be affected by norms, rules, customs and conceptions, and emphasized that the technical jargon was often not necessary, thus providing feedback for future projects.

Dr Anesa Hosein (Institute of Higher Education) spoke about her work on ‘Video Gaming and Life-Long Learning’. Her project consisted of a longitudinal survey of young people in England, focusing on the gaming behaviors of boys and girls, the location of this behavior (whether they were at university or not), and if they were at university, the degree they were pursuing. Anesa’s study found that girls, who played 9 hours or more of video games compared to non-gamers, are over 3 times more likely to pursue a PSTEM degree than any other option.

Finally, Dr Debbie Cooke (FHMS, Health Sciences) talked about her project ‘Facilitating lifelong learning and lifestyle change within a supported self-management programme for people living with type 2 diabetes’. This consists of bringing together industry and the NHS to tackle key health challenges. Debbie’s study highlighted that people with type 2 diabetes appreciated the flexibility and novelty of the programme, and that additional technology, such as scales and trackers, are not always necessarily required and seen as hindrance to some.

All 3 speakers delivered fantastic talks about their own expertise within technology and life-long learning. A big thanks to the speakers, the chair Ranjana Das, and all the attendees who made the panel a brilliant component of the FASS Festival of Research 2021.