Photo of Prof Barrie Cooper

Prof Barrie Cooper

Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes (Mathematics & Statistics)


Location: Laver Building 816

Telephone: 01392 723936

Extension: (Streatham) 3936

I am Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes for Mathematics and was previously Director of Digitally Enhanced Learning for the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, an Academic Lead, and a Director of Education. I also teach on the Academic Professional programme for staff new to teaching in Higher Education.

My research interests include representation theory and the various guises in which it appears in theoretical physics (particularly quantum field theory and string theory).  In particular, I enjoy building bridges between disparate areas of mathematics and physics and trying to understand much of the mathematics in theoretical physics papers from a rigorous mathematical perspective .  In recent years, I have also become interested in the practical and theoretical aspects concerning pedagogy.

I have led various education projects, including:

  • "Virtual spaces in a blended environment" (2021) exploring and evaluating the ways in which virtual spaces and ”digital twins” can be used to bridge the divide between the physical and virtual in a blended learning environment;
  • "Improving the student programming experience via continuous automated feedback and industry-standard tools" (2021) piloting the use of GitHub Classroom for managing and automating aspects of assessment on programming assignments;
  • "Rethinking education through the lens of parallel texts" (2020) bringing together experts across subject disciplines — including digital humanities, artificial intelligence, data science, and e-learning — to understand how education can be thought of as the curation of corpuses of parallel texts, and how we can develop tools and protocols to support this approach to learning;
  • "The Exeter Spectrum Programme Project" (2019) aiming to better support autistic students through: developing a network of trained staff across the institution; hosting an Autism in HE conference; working with the third sector to promote best practice;
  • Embracing a digital pedagogy in mathematics (2017) assessing the potential for using Jupyter notebooks as a tool for developing interactive lecture notes and worksheets;
  • a HEA Teaching Development Grant (2013) aiming to improve the quality of feedback provided by markers; 
  • an internal e-assessment project (2012) with Steve Rose, developing randomised computer-marked quizzes for mathematics in Moodle;
  • four HE STEM projects (2012) focusing on employability, employer engagement and widening participation;
  • the HEA/JISC-managed project "Open STEM" (2011), which produced high quality training resources for mathematics and biosciences teachers in Higher Education.

Selected conferences, workshops and publications include:

  • “Competencies, challenge, and co-curation: selected strategies for inclusive assessment in mathematics” (2021), Invited speaker at LMS workshop “Engaging students from diverse backgrounds”, Royal Holloway, University of London.
  • “Autism in Higher Education conference” (2021), Co-organiser and speaker, University of Exeter.
  • “Fast effective feedback — the search for the Holy Grail” (2019), Invited speaker at IMA workshop “Effective feedback in mathematics: provision and student engagement”, Cardiff University.
  • “Must, should, could: competency testing and pathways to more inclusive assessment practices” (2019), Inclusive Practice Network Annual Conference, University of Bath.
  • “Reforming the fractured curriculum” (2018), Invited speaker at Cardiff University, University of Bath EduFest, and London Mathematical Society Education Day.
  • “Deconstructing assessment and feedback” workshop (2018), Invited speaker at IMA workshop “Transitions in the Mathematical Sciences”, University of Warwick.
  • “Embracing a digital pedagogy in mathematics” workshop (2018), HEA STEM Conference 2018: “Creativity in Teaching, Learning and Student Engagement”, Newcastle.
  • “Assessment & Feedback” workshop (2016), Invited speaker at HEA workshop for new lecturers in mathematics, University of Greenwich.
  • “Mathematical literacy” workshop (2016), Organiser and presenter, funded by Sigma South-West, University of Exeter.
  • HEA STEM Conference (2014), Improving assessment and feedback literacy for students and staff, University of Edinburgh.
  • HEA STEM Conference (2012), Embedding student-led change in the curriculum, Imperial College London;
  • Workshop (2012), Employability in the curriculum, Sheffield;
  •  ALDinHE (2012) with Trevor Day, Generic graduate attributes and writing development: how do they fit together?, Leeds;
  • HE STEM workshop, Addressing the needs of employers: writing development and other
    forms of engagement on undergraduate STEM programmes
    , Bath (2012) and Manchester (2011);
  • HE STEM workshop (2012), Group work and Asperger syndrome, Bath;
  • MSOR Conference (2011), Summer internships in sigma-sw, Coventry;
  • ALT Conference (2011), Open STEM: open educational discipline-specific
    resources for professional development in HE
    , Leeds;
  • HEA Conference (2011), Open STEM: discipline-specific resources for CPD in mathematics and biosciences, Nottingham;
  • OER11 (2011) with Tom Browne, Promoting effective engagement with UK PSF for STEM, Manchester.