Teaching & Learning Portal


Dominic Furniss


Dr Dominic Furniss, Research Associate, UCL Interaction Centre (UCLIC)

Dominic is a post-doctoral researcher with a strong interest in public engagement.  Before coming to UCL, he had had little prior experience with structured teaching activities, but he took the initiative in proposing, developing and leading an activity: ‘Telling digital stories with real public engagement challenges’.  

His idea was to teach the visual media technique of digital stories to the MSc students in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). A digital story is a series of still photographs with narration, organised so that the photos tell a story. The challenge for the students was to create digital stories to describe what HCI is to school students aged between 14 and 16. Clear public engagement benefits come about. 

The class is an international and multi-disciplinary mix of people (from industry, computer science, psychology; from the UK, EU, USA, Asia), so successful networking and team-building take place in induction week, laying the foundations for effective collaboration which is essential for the rest of the programme. 

Key benefits to students are:

  • They learn by doing
  • They work in teams and learn to reflect on the group's work and assess the work of the other groups in the screening at the end of the exercise
  • Peer assessment is combined with tutor feedback

Rachel Benedyk, the MSc course director who had provided invaluable support, encouragement and help to Dominic, saw that many useful learning objectives were being met through the exercise, so she decided to keep the activity in induction week as a permanent feature for the future.

In his application, Dominic stressed that Rachel Benedyk was a key collaborator in the successful implementation of the project and while we celebrate the award of a Provost’s teaching Award in the ‘Beginning of Academic Career’ category, we would like to recognise publicly the importance of Rachel Benedyk’s collaboration in the project.