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What I teach

I have taught marine biology and oceanography for more than twenty years, including designing modules and leading degree programmes, and I'm a Senior Fellow of the UK's Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). I currently teach a course in Deep-Sea Ecology at the University of Southampton, where I've received Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Teaching and for Postgraduate Training.

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've 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


In digital and online education, I published early research on student use of lecture capture resources, and created a free Massive Open Online Course (a 'MOOC') 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)

Teaching at University of Southampton

For academic year 2022/23:


Online Education Champion for the Faculty of Environmental & Life Sciences
(and member of the University's Digital Education Working Group)


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)


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


Tutor, Contempory Topics in Oceanography & Marine Biology module


Fieldwork tutor, Applied Oceanography & Fieldwork


Lecturer, Advanced Independent Research Projects


Lecturer, Earth & Ocean System module


Lecturer, Formation & Evolution of the Ocean Crust module

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