After a degree in Philosophy and Religious Studies from Sunderland Polytechnic, Dr Dave Webster studied at the University of Newcastle for an MLitt, focusing on contemporary British Hinduism. He then returned to (what was then) the University of Sunderland, to undertake a PhD in Buddhist Philosophy. At that time, he began to teach – and found himself teaching undergraduates, adult education classes in philosophy and distance learners. He suddenly discovered that he loved to teach!
In 2000 Dave moved the University of Gloucestershire, and a few years later was involved in the design and launch of the Religion, Philosophy & Ethics course. This course has been where his ideas about broadening access to Higher Education resources, about using technology in humanities disciplines, and throwing effort into an enhanced student experience have been worked out. These enhancements include a video-interview blog at www.philosvids.wordpress.com and course blog at www.rpeglos.com
Impact of work
While he has worked with colleagues in other areas, designing a format for on-line postgraduate delivery, working to deliver a range of other courses in better and more creative ways, the greatest impact is through the graduates from the Religion, Philosophy & Ethics course. They are amazing and constantly surprised the team with their achievements. Recently he has sought to synthesise what he has learnt and use it to raise sector aspirations regarding what can be achieved for and with students. Some of this is collated via his blog at www.davewebster.org
Plans for the future
His future goals are around increasing the quality of public debate around religious and philosophical matters partly via Social Media; challenging colleagues to think creatively about how they blend traditional and contemporary pedagogic opportunities to improve student experiences, and ensuring e-learning developments are about human discourse and depth, and not machine-mediated and shallow.
Head of Learning Teaching Innovation / Principal Lecturer in Religion, Philosophy and Ethics
University of Gloucestershire