OF BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT
The 7th LSBM Teaching and Learning Conference took place on Tuesday 4 July 2017. It was an all-day event with a panoply of guest speakers from across the university and academic firmament, offering good food, good conversation, worthy award winners and a big thought canvas to explore.
It was held in the inviting setting of the Council Chambers at the Congress Centre in central London at 28 Great Russell Street and was sponsored by VitalSource.
Our three keynote speakers had unparalleled reputations and were uniquely placed as leaders in their fields to push forward the debate about Taking Education Further, which was the theme of this year's conference.
The vibrancy of our academic institution in all its forms sat centre stage at this year's event. Discussing how best to support learners to achieve their goals, assessing how changing delivery, design and engagement models for education can have a profound effect on outcomes, at the same time as informing teaching methods and participation.
The conference gave us the ability to celebrate good practice and innovation, as well as give a professional platform for new ideas and thinking to be shared across the academic community.
In addition to the Keynote speakers, there were also a number of shorter presentations from new and emerging voices in the education community, as well as speakers from our own student body and the conferring of an array of Teaching and Learning Awards.
The first of the Keynote speakers at the event was Professor Alejandro Armellini, Dean of Learning and Teaching at the University of Northampton. He spoke on the subject of, 'Active Blended Learning as our New Normal'.
The talk explored the practices that Northampton are bringing to bear on designing the teaching experience that they feel fits a university education of the 21st century. This has coincided and worked in parallel with the new Waterside campus that the University is spending £330 million on developing (learn more here), and much of the design for that has been informed by this thinking.
According to Professor Armellini a course was felt to follow an Active Blended Learning (ABL) methodology if it:
This was set in contrast to the traditional course model of 'lecturing' students, with Professor Armellini making clear that a course is not being taught in an Active Blended Learning methodology if:
Professor Armellini emphasised that online learning is not a replacement for face-to-face learning in this model, but rather adds a new flavour that acts to enhance the usefulness of all of the elements.
Ultimately, the goal is to bring about positive change that impacts positively on student learning outcomes.
You can learn more about the approach that Northampton is adopting on their website here - https://www.northampton.ac.uk/ilt/
The second of our Keynote speakers was Dr Melanie Crofts, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Northampton. She spoke on the subject of, 'New Spaces: Safeguarding Students from Violence and Hate'.
This addressed the response to the increase in disclosure of sexual abuse and violence that had been shown in the "That's what She Said" NUS 2014 report.
(Please note - There is also now a later 2016 report by Universities UK, Changing the Culture, which is the report of the Taskforce that was setup in the wake of that earlier report to examine violence against women, harassment and hate crime.)
HEFCE reacted to that report by setting up projects with multi-million pound funding with four main aims, that were interpreted in the context of the University of Northampton, as follows:
Dr Croft then went on to discuss Safe Spaces and how these could be used to further the safeguarding of students in both a physical and emotional context. These could include:
When looking at the design of the new Waterside campus in Northampton they particularly looked at the design of open spaces, how students would interact with the spaces that were being created including considerations of use both in and out of class, and how the space could impact on relationships.
There were also practical considerations such as which rooms/spaces to utilise for which purpose, the light and windows, room design and likely use patterns.
Within a wider pedagogical context there are issues of how this may impact on freedom of speech, empower groups, enhance classroom and online environments and act to enable supportive relationships between teachers and students.
You can learn more about the New Spaces project here.
The third of our Keynote speakers was Professor Jacqueline Stevenson, Head of Research at Sheffield Institute of Education. She spoke on the subject of, 'Developing a Sense of Belonging and Mattering: Implications for Retention'.
This presentation drew on more than sixty interviews with 'non-traditional' learners to explore how the embodied, subjective and affective practices of higher education can enhance or work against a student's sense of both belonging in, and mattering to, higher education institutions.
The key theme of the talk being that if you don't think you belong, are you going to think you matter?
The talk was split into three sections:
Belonging was defined in terms of three main criteria:
Aspects of behaviour relating to what constitutes 'everyday belonging' were explored and how these played out in terms of power relationships with teachers and support staff at universities as well as the wider world.
There was also an implication that belonging was not simply passive. Professor Stevenson emphasised the importance of action and recognition of that action as being equally important for mattering, which was defined as a subjective perception that we make a difference to others.
In addition, the distinction between feelings of importance vs feelings of unimportance were explored in relation to some real-world quotes from participants of the study.
The recommendations for practice fell into three areas:
1/ 'Institutions that focus on mattering and greater student involvement will be more successful in creating campuses where students are motivated to learn' (Schlossberg, et al, 1989).
2/ Enhancing opportunities for: accessing different networks, supportive peer relations, meaningful interactions with staff, developing new knowledge, more inclusive curriculum, more discussion of race and religion.
3/ Start by focusing on what students bring to the classroom, rather then what they don't. Appreciate them more. This could be looked at in the context of aspirational, linguistic, familial, social, navigational and resistance capital. (Tara Yosso – Forms of Community Cultural Wealth).
You can read more about Professor Stevenson's work on her biography page here.
Many thanks to all three of our Keynote speakers for delivering such diverse talks.
In addition to the three Keynote speakers there were an additional six presentations at this year's conference, which was spread over two rooms to accommodate the demand for the cutting-edge academic research we were profiling at the event.
These were as follows:
1/ 'Enhancing community engagement in online social networks' – Howard Scott, University of Wolverhampton
2/ 'Impact of self-regulated assessment and formative feedback in Higher Education' – Asif Sadiq, LSBM
3/ ''Go Places': An inclusive curriculum approach to personal and professional development' – Rachel Challen, Nottingham Trent University
4/ 'Four drivers of employability: PACE' – Usha Mistry, LSBM
5/ 'CIMA business game and employability skills' – Usha Mistry, Jason Nye (CIMA), Mihaela Neata, Mihaela Patratanu, Virgina Manadachi (LSBM Students)
6/ 'Disciplinary and interdisciplinary learning and teaching at LSBM' – Dr Bala Chandramohan and Arif Zaman, LSBM (Please note that Arif was away in Dubai, so the talk was delivered by Dr Chandramohan)
It is particularly worth noting that Mihaela Patratanu (left), Mihaela Neata (centre), and Virgina Manadachi (right) in the picture above are current Level 4 accounting students at LSBM, and their active participation in the conference also demonstrates that LSBM considers Taking Education Further, to not simply be a convenient theme for a conference, but also a good reference point to develop the skills and employability of our own students.
We would like to thank all those academics for their engaging presentations.
(You can read biographies of the Keynote speakers, abstracts of all the talks, and slides from many of the speeches on the dedicated page for the conference here - http://www.lsbm.ac.uk/teaching-and-learning-conference-2017)
One of the highlights of every annual LSBM Conference is our acknowledgement of some outstanding teachers.
Every year we are reminded that great teaching may appear to be effortless, but that like great art or great music there is a lot of work that goes on in the preparation and effective delivery of educational materials.
So, it is always our greatest pleasure of the day (on this occasion just before a most excellent buffet lunch with musical accompaniment!) to put our hands together and applaud those endeavours.
This year there were a number of awards.
The first of them was decided upon by senior academics at LSBM and awarded by VitalSource, the Gold Sponsors of this year's conference, to acknowledge the Best Use of Learning Technology 2017. This was awarded to the Foundation Year Teachers at LSBM, who have done outstanding work in the last year and was accepted by two of the FY teachers who were attending the event, Kuldeep Pradhan and Anna Krajewska (top middle).
In addition, there were a number of individual awards as follows: (Pictured accepting their awards from John Fairhurst, Academic Principal and Managing Director, LSBM)
Tutor Contribution to Student Excellence Award – Jointly awarded to John Owen and Tom Ironmonger (top right)
Professional Services Contribution Award – Tony Alma Kiangebeni (bottom left)
LSBM Support and Enhancement Award – Jointly awarded to Usha Mistry (bottom middle) and Maria Jackson (bottom right)
Deserving rewards ultimately mean superior teachers intuiting clear knowledge success principles to their students, and that is the biggest gain of all, as successful teaching practices are recogised and rewarded year-on-year at LSBM.
Well done to all the winners!
It is also notable to mention that the winner of our Professional Services Contribution Award, Tony Alma Kiangebeni, is truly a man of many talents! As, in addition to working as a Learning Technologist at LSBM, he is also a singer in the band Testimony who performed with great feeling during the lunchtime break in the conference (pictured below - Tony is playing the guitar on the far left).
We would once more like to thank all of the attendees, speakers and performers at this year's conference, our Gold Sponsors VitalSource (great videos folks!) as well as the staff at the Congress Centre for taking care of everyone so admirably, and Cal Courtney, Director, Centre for Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Success, for so expertly compering and timekeeping for this year's event (and his team for assisting with many of the practicalities) on the day.
Conferences are complicated events to organise. In many ways, they are a bit like an iceberg. 95% of the 'substance' of what it takes to bring them to fruition happens in the many months that lead up to the event, and that is fairly invisible for most of the time.
The end result may appear to be effortless (when it all works!) But a lot of hard endeavour, long hours and many brain cells are expended to bring it all together.
So, particular mention needs to go to…
Geraldine Murphy, Academic Lead for Teaching and Learning (and her team), Nick Hillman, Deputy Academic Principal, and Mahak Sharma, Business Development Manager (Marketing) for going above and beyond to make sure that many disparate elements were pulled together to make it our best Teaching and Learning Conference to date.
See you next year!
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