Treasure Island Pedagogies: Episode 15 - the one with Winnie-the-Pooh

Posted on: 17 December 2021 by Dr Tunde Varga-Atkins in General

Host and Guests in Online Meeting
(Host and Guests in Online Meeting)

In Episode 15, our guests’ lightbulb moments included ways of facilitating learning through questioning, good learning design, our boat of treasure island pedagogies/props carries items including bottles of confidence, constructive alignment, De Bono’s thinking hats and characters from Winnie-the-Pooh.

Speakers: Dr Eli Saetnan, Professor Fiona Smart & Tim Neumann

Date: 06 December 2021

Treasure Island Pedagogies: Episode 15 podcast

(Treasure Island Pedagogies Episode 15 - Podcast Transcript)

Read or listen to find out our guests’ lightbulb moments, teaching props, pedagogies and luxury items that they would take to their Treasure Islands for precious contact time with students.

Dr Eli Saetnan

University of Liverpool, England


  • Original discipline(s): Ecology, Animal Behaviour, Animal Science
  • Current role: Academic Developer
  • Lightbulb moment: the episode that has stuck in my mind was a double lightbulb moment when teaching students biology. I got students to question the concept of 'species'. I didn't give a lecture; I gave them 3 papers to read, got them to introduce these to the group and ask questions with a view to contradict the idea of species; I then facilitated their discussions. It got students fired up and excited. This also became a lightbulb for me as a teacher: I realised that this was such an effective way of teaching.
  • Teaching prop or pedagogy: a good set of questions and a bottle of confidence for those situations when you might be involved in teaching in an area not your subject expertise.
  • Luxury item: for myself, I'd bring my knitting, for our joint island experience I'd bring coffee and biscuits to have some of those relaxed conversations where most of real learning and insights can happen.

Professor Fiona Smart

Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland

  • Original discipline(s): Nurse, adult and child (still a registrant 😊)
  • Current role: Learning and Teaching Enhancement Consultant and Visiting Professor
  • Lightbulb moment: that we can facilitate learning without being subject experts: came as a result of an online programme with distance learners in the late 1990s when we allocated facilitators to groups of students. I then used this to shape my on-campus teaching. It is about the magic of 'learning to trust the process' and the students – if you design learning well for students, they will engage.
  • Teaching prop or pedagogy: can I also choose two? My more learned option would be de Bono's - 6 Thinking Hats. My more fun one is getting groups of students to think about which character they would be from Winnie-the-Pooh to help them work together and consider the upside and downside of each character.
  • Luxury item: I’d bring flat coat retrievers; they are forever bouncy and never grow up.

Tim Neumann

University College London, United Kingdom


  • Original discipline(s): Sound Engineering & Music Production
  • Current role: Lecturer & Faculty Learning Technology Lead
  • Lightbulb moment: cheating as want to share two of these, (1) hearing a lecturer say, "I feel I'm not worth your study fees if I don't lecture you", while learners wanted to learn from each other's experiences. Learners value someone who can facilitate their learning. (2) receiving such a well-structured pack of distance education materials with activities that I did not really miss an expert lecturer - magic of keeping you interested and focused, but challenged and supported. Structure can also come from a really well-designed teaching resource.
  • Teaching prop or pedagogy: would love to nominate constructive alignment ~ is something I strive for and am influenced by Biggs, learning outcomes, activities and assessments work together to guide learners. Giving students the 'time spent on task estimates' helps clarify our expectations and manage their time; it also helps us as designers to make sure our design is good. The prop that would help me with all this is our online UCL Learning Designer tool and if we wanted something physical, it would be the ABC learning types cards.
  • Luxury item: for myself, I'd bring Archdough, my sourdough starter but in the spirit of collaboration, I'd now like to change it to bring a set of cones instead to do some collaborative mass movement choreographies with the other Islanders for fun.

Any sparks? How might our joined-up Treasure Islands look like?

Our joined-up islands will be very appealing with an already exciting list of teaching props and pedagogies from constructive alignment, through well-designed and well- facilitated learning to a bit of fun thrown in where we can reflect on our team roles in light of Winnie-the-Pooh characters. The willingness to connect with each other, growing in confidence in our different identities as educators and 'trusting the process' (and the learners) were all key features on our island together with a bit of reminiscing how distance learning courses looked like about 15-20 years ago.

Links / resources 



Bru the Dog

(Bru the dog)


Facilitated by Dr Tünde Varga-Atkins, Sound: Chris Loxham, Web design: Dennis Wong, @LivUniCIE