The annual Learning at City conference at City University London provides an opportunity for colleagues from all schools to come together to celebrate achievements and developments in learning and teaching(L&T) from across the university. Since it’s our fifth annual learning and teaching conference this year, I thought I’d look back at our last conferences and consider the highlights and what our participants said at these events. I will also take a look at where we think 2013 could be heading and end with information on our upcoming conference and how you might like to be involved.
As has been posted in the link here, the variety of conferences in the US, Canada and UK will be focusing on the growth and integration of technology. In particular, finding and fostering new ideas for the multitude of classrooms now using iOS has never been better and this year’s regional events and larger national conferences offer an incredible opportunity for everyone to learn how to make the most of these recent technological innovations. Notwithstanding the developments of what our virtual learning environment has to offer. Some of the juicy topics that the Bett 2013 is looking at is how you adopt the flipped classroom model in the student experience, recording lectures, using creative clouds etc. Certainly the advice is think about educational technologies in a number of dimensions: personalization, extended learning, 21st century skills & content. This can help us understand how to best accommodate the diverse types of learning experiences.
Participants that attend our L&T conferences tell us that the keynote speaker is usually the highlight of the event. Last year, Professor Graham Gibbs conducted our keynote since the main thread of the conference was on ‘Improving student learning through assessment and feedback in the new higher education landscape’. The session was well received with 69% of attendees rating it as excellent. This was also the first time that the sessions were recorded and can be viewed here. One lecturer said ‘The talks were fine, and Gibbs was all you could want for a keynote speaker – provocative and challenging. It’s great to have a day set aside for thinking and talking about the teaching activity in the university’. Another commented that ‘the standard of participation by the student panel was the highest I have ever seen’. There were 10 sessions throughout the day by staff and one by the Student Union covering areas such as “Stimulating Student Engagement” and “Constructing online assessment” and highlighting the use of technology for feedback, including Lecture Capture and PRS technology. The sessions received positive feedback with participants finding sessions ‘engaging’ and ‘informative’.
The 3rd annual Learning at City Conference opened with an interesting and engaging plenary from Aaron Porter, President of the National Union of Students on ‘engaging students in learning’. The conference sessions were both informative and motivating covering a range of areas including Semantic Web technology, student feedback and podcasting. The sessions again, received positive feedback, with participants finding sessions ‘inspiring’ and ‘illuminating’. One lecturer commented that ‘there is such innovation in technology at City that I am very keen that we should integrate this into our programme. So, many thanks for giving me these nuggets of inspiration.’ The year before, looked at Innovation in the 21st Century with a specific emphasis on the theme of curriculum design. So in summary, the commonalities of engaging students and creating an exciting curriculum are certainly at the forefront.
The best attended part of the day is most always the Awards Ceremony presented by Professor Paul Curran. Prizes are awarded for Recognition of Excellence within Schools and by the students through the Student Voice awards. Additionally, certificates are given to those who have been undertaking learning development projects that year. This is an exciting part of the day with a real buzz. It is reassuring at this stage to see that lecturers who are committed in their teaching have been recognised for their contributions.
The planning for the next conference themed Innovation and Creativity in Higher Education is now under way. Proposals will be accepted in the form of discussion papers/workshops, exhibition or posters. Further details can be found here. Hope to see you there. Here’s hoping this conference will be informative, enjoyable and most importantly inspiring.