03 November 2016 – 04 November 2016
This conference was focused on the two themes of innovation and collaboration. As Higher Education has become more complex new and experienced staff have different needs and so the support and development they need has grown in both number and complexity. Many developers have met this challenge with the use of innovative practices but also through the use of more collaboration with colleagues from a range of areas. This conference offered an opportunity for those who have used these practices to share them with others. There were three key notes which all focused on different aspects of the theme.
Keynote Address ‘Sweet’ strategies for higher education developers working in the third space Rhona Sharpe, Oxford Brookes University
Rhona talked about the unit at Oxford Brookes and how they support staff which is focused on Teacher, Researcher and Leadership development. They provide bespoke staff and education development interventions which meet strategic needs although these are usually focused on departmental objectives rather than institutional priorities. The support is tailored and work-based with evaluation strategies integrated into the activities as they are delivered. This has enabled more efficient use of staff time in faculties but it does require buy in for staff to be supported in attending. Rhona Also outlined some of the research/development projects Oxford have undertaken.
Keynote Address Flying not Flapping on a new campus: from blank canvas to reality Professor Alejandro Armellini, Director, University of Northampton
The talk was focused on the development of a new campus where the space had been reduced by 60%. The campus was in the middle of town and the centre of the campus had a learning commons which is open 24 hours a day and has the library and other learning spaces in. There was a change to a more personalised learning approach and there are no lecture theatres but teaching focused on active blended learning. The challenges of making this change were outlined as were the range of approaches used to provide staff development and support.
Keynote Emergence Sheila MacNeill, Senior Lecturer, Glasgow Caledonian University
Sheila focused on a theme that others had discussed which was around space and roles that people undertook. Sheila talked about how at times people felt they were thriving, surviving or existing. This is a time when roles are changing and new roles are emerging. She particularly focused on technology roles which have changed more and rather as has been suggested by some this was not an undisciplined role but a new discipline. The evidence from history support this narrative. Technology does not solve all problems but does look at different solutions. It can help students become independent in their learning.
In addition, there were a range of parallel sessions focused on sharing practice around the theme and opportunities to network and discuss projects in open sessions.