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What I teach

As a University educator, I have led degree programmes in marine science, created classes for students from first-year undergraduate to Masters level, developed fieldwork teaching, and published pedagogical research. I also design and deliver training courses in science communication skills for organisations including research funders and employers.

I have taught marine ecology and oceanography at the University of Southampton for more than twenty years, including working as Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes in Ocean & Earth Science, and receiving Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Teaching and for Postgraduate Training. I currently lead a module in Deep-Sea Ecology for BSc, MSci, MSc and MRes students.

Exceptional standard of lecturing

This module should become a whole degree course

Your teaching methods and clarity in your explanations I thought were excellent

Student feedback comments, Masters marine ecology module


In 2006 I co-founded SciConnect Ltd, a capacity-building company that has trained more than 15,000 scientists in communication skills to share their work with wider audiences. I have worked as a Director of the company as it has developed training programmes in science writing, oral presentation, media skills, and online engagement for clients including research institutions, government agencies, NGOs and companies across the UK and in Europe.

It has been the best and most useful personal training course that I have attended to date

I got a presentation award in a national meeting and I strongly believe that the skills that I gained from this workshop helped a lot for this result

I thought I was a good communicator, however, this course has opened my eyes to new techniques

Participant feedback comments, science communication training


I have pioneered digital and online education, publishing research on student use of lecture capture resources, and creating a free online course (a 'MOOC' - Massive Open Online Course) about 'Exploring Our Oceans' subsequently taken up by more than 60,000 people from 180+ countries and 'Highly Commended' in The Ocean Awards 2016.

I have learnt so much and been challenged to take the future of our oceans far more seriously than I ever did before

Dr Copley is so enthusiastic and it is contagious. Such a great course. Thank you so much for opening not only my eyes but my mind as well

Learner feedback comments, Exploring Our Oceans MOOC




Promo for Exploring Our Oceans Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

marine science teaching at University of Southampton

For academic year 2021/22:


Module Lead, Deep-Sea Ecology (Postgraduate Masters & 3rd+4th Year undergraduate students)


By far the most well-organised module I've taken this year, and all-round the most interesting and engaging


Inspiring lecturer with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the topic


Best module I've ever taken


Student feedback comments, Deep-Sea Ecology module 2019/20


Module Co-Lead, Shallow-Water Survey Techniques (field course for 2nd Year students)



Lecturer, MSc Key Skills (postgraduate Masters students)


Tutor, Contempory Topics in Oceanography & Marine Biology module (4th Year & postgraduate Masters students)


Lecturer, Introduction to Marine Ecology & Evolution module (1st Year students)


Lecturer, Introduction to Functional Marine Biology module (1st Year students)


Really interesting to talk to and made the lectures seem effortless, his passion really shone through


Extremely engaging and well explained


Genuinely inspired me


Student feedback comments, 1st Year lectures 2017/18



Word cloud of all student feedback, 1st Year lectures 2018/19;
size of word represents its frequency in teaching evaluation comments
(from WordClouds.com)



Previous experience at University of Southampton:


Director of Postgraduate Taught programmes in Ocean & Earth Science


Programme Leader, MSc Oceanography degree


Programme Leader, MSc Marine Resource Management degree


Creator & Module Lead, Structure & Dynamics of Marine Communities module


Creator & Module Lead, MSc Key Skills module


Module Lead, MSc Research Projects


Module Lead, Marine Biology Fieldwork Skills module


Module Lead, IT, Communication, Field & Lab Skills module


Module Lead, Coastal & Estuarine Oceanography module



MicroROV survey during an undergraduate practical class


Fieldwork tutor, Applied Oceanography & Fieldwork


Lecturer, Advanced Independent Research Projects


Lecturer, Earth & Ocean System module


Lecturer, Formation & Evolution of the Ocean Crust module


Contributor, Developing Your Research Project MOOC (via Futurelearn)

research papers in education & engagement

(for a full list of my research papers, please see Research)


Fielding S, Copley JT & Mills RA (2019). Exploring Our Oceans: using the global classroom to develop ocean literacy. Frontiers In Marine Science, 6: 340, doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00340 (open access).



Copley J (2018). Providing evidence of "impact" from public engagement with research: a case study from the UK's Research Excellence Framework (REF). Research For All, 2(2): 230-243, doi:10.18546/RFA.02.2.03. (open access).



Copley JT (2007). Audio and video podcasts of lectures for campus-based students: production and evaluation of student use. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 44: 387-399.



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