July 2018

LSBM Teaching and Learning Conference 2018 – Beyond Metrics!

LSBM Conference 2018

"At this University we live in love and harmony"

- Student President, Delon Jones speaking about his experience at LSBM in a video that kickstarted the conference.


The 8th LSBM Teaching and Learning Conference took place on Tuesday 10 July 2018 at the Congress Centre located at 28 Great Russell Street, just around the corner from our three offices at Dilke House, Gower Street and Bedford Square. It was an all-day event and the eighth in our sequence of successful conferences that we have held every year since 2011.

You can learn more about the first seven conferences and their themes here.

LSBM Conference 2018

This year's conference was examining the subject of 'Beyond metrics: Measuring the immeasurable in Higher Education'.

The conference title ‘Beyond metrics’ was the result of a period of reflection on the frameworks and policies that govern the practices of Higher Education (HE). While the ‘measuring the immeasurable’ theme was designed to tease out thoughts and ideas on how the need for HE practices to be ‘measurable’ has an impact on students, staff and curricular, or is impacted by external bodies, government policy and accrediting bodies.

It was the aim of the conference to look at the conversations that are taking place across the Further Education (FE), compulsory education and HE sectors and give these conversations a platform to be heard and shared across the educational community.

Our stellar line-up for this year's conference was headlined by three keynote speakers, alongside twelve other breakout-sessions, which added to the rich variety of sessions that were available to attendees of the conference.

Our three keynote speakers for the day were:

Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor, Middlesex University, whose talk was titled 'The Comprehensive University'.
Professor Martin Parker, Department of Management, University of Bristol, whose talk was titled 'Widening the Business School', and
Becky Hartnup, Independent Consultant, Becky Hartnup Consulting, whose talk was titled 'Making Decisions in the Dark'.

 

The Keynote Speakers

LSBM Conference 2018

The first of the Keynote speakers at the event was Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor, Middlesex University. He spoke on the subject of, 'The Comprehensive University'.

The talk specifically challenged the idea that high entry requirements is either desirable or efficacious at producing desirable educational outcomes in HE.

A distinction was drawn between the idea of a 'comprehensive' education, where there are no barriers to entry, and that of Higher Education, where currently the 'toughness' of academic entry requirements are seen as a measure of how good a university is, and which in Professor Blackman's opinion causes there to be a perceived hierarchy of institutions based on how exclusive and hard to get into they are.

Professor Blackman's contention was that we should be proud of the diversity of the student body and the challenges that they have overcome, and that it was these challenges that often informed their experiences and added to the richness of the student body as a whole.

He saw the consequences of academic selection in higher education as creating a lack of diversity in the whole sector, which made achieving the benefits of better engagement, achievement and the valueing of difference more difficult.

One of the themes that he returned to countless times during the talk was that of 'Fake Prestige'. This was exploring his contention that the most selective universities cream off highly achieving students from other institutions, creating a lack of diversity across the whole sector. He compared this to the 11-plus test in the 1960s, where because attainment at school is so closely correlated with family background, that a consequence of academic selection in higher education is that the sector is very stratified by social class, with efforts to widen access in the most selective universities only having a marginal effect.

The effects of this, in his thesis, was that there was therefore often a lack of emphasis on excellent teaching, because how difficult a place was to get into was more important than the quality of the teaching, and in addition caused social stratification in universities and professional jobs.

He was also of the opinion that institutions are failing to capitalise on evidence that suggests that mixed abilities and identities among student communities create a richer learning environment than more homogenous communities that are found in most universities.

It is worth pointing out at this stage that the student body at LSBM is much more diverse than the 'average' University in the UK.

You can read our Access and Participation Statement here (correct as-of January 2018)

Some highlights of which are:

LSBM Conference 20181/ Disabled Students - "Of our total student body, 14% have declared a disability, specific learning difficulty or long-term health condition and are being supported by our full-time Disability and Wellbeing Advisor".

2/ Ethnicity - Black, Asian and other ethnicities make up 63% of the student body at LSBM. 37% of students at LSBM are white. To quote: "We are particularly proud of the richness of the ethnic diversity of our student body as evidenced by the strong BAME presence we see at both the application and enrolment stage. This helps to set us apart from most other institutions and highlights our commitment to the widening participation agenda."

3/ Gender - "The gender balance at both application and enrolment stage is relatively even with 51% of applicants being male (allowing for 2% who did not disclose their gender) and 47% of enrolled students being male (allowing for a 1% nondisclosure rate)."

4/ Age - "Our age profile is not typical of most HEIs (higher education institutions) where the majority of students tend to be 21 and under. At LSBM, just over 20% of our applicants are 21 and under, with that figure rising marginally to just over 23% in relation to enrolled students. Of note is the fact that 33% of our students are in the 36 and over age range."


Professor Blackman commented in his talk:

"The best teachers use variations in class to get peer-to-peer learning really buzzing in a classroom. Diversity matters to the educational experience. Put teacher expertise and diversity together and you have a powerful mix."

He proposed two solutions to what he saw as the problem of high entry requirements to HEI:

1/ Use entry quotas in all institutions - This was his favoured approach as he felt that it would create better balanced student communities. This would be facilitated either by financial incentives or regulation.

2/ Re-distribution of tax revenue - Tax the most selective universities and give to the least selective.

 

LSBM Conference 2018

The second of our Keynote speakers was Professor Martin Parker, Department of Management, University of Bristol. He spoke on the subject of, 'Widening the Business School'.

His talk follows on from his new book 'Shut Down the Business School - What's Wrong with Management Education' which was published by Pluto Press in May 2018. The books description summarises Professor Parker's thesis:

"Business schools are institutions which, a decade after the financial crash, continue to act as loudspeakers for neoliberal capitalism with all its injustices and planetary consequences. In this lively and incendiary call to action, Martin Parker offers a simple message: shut down the business school. Parker argues that business schools are 'cash cows' for the contemporary university that have produced a generation of unreflective managers, primarily interested in their own personal rewards. If we see universities as institutions with responsibilities to the societies they inhabit, then we must challenge the common notion that 'the market' should be the primary determinant of the education they provide. Shut Down the Business School makes a compelling case for a radical alternative, in the form of a 'School for Organising'. This institution would develop and teach on different forms of organising, instead of reproducing the dominant corporate model, enabling individuals to discover alternative responses to the pressing issues of inequality and sustainability faced by all of us today."

Professor Parker spoke about the history of the business school and how it dates right back to the beginning of the 19th Century, including institutes founded in Paris and Budapest. The worlds first business school, ESCP Europe was founded in Paris, France in 1819. The Wharton School of Business was the first in the USA in 1881, the Harvard Business School was founded in 1908. The Birmingham School of Business was the UKs first business school, being founded in 1902, and the London Business School was only founded in 1968.

There has been a proliferation of institutions though in the last 50 years teaching business (most notably LSBM!) and there are now more than 13,000 institutions teaching business worldwide, with a combined fee income of over $400 billion.

One of the interesting aspects of the teaching methodology though is that the 'case study' method that Harvard pioneered has been widely adopted across the sector, and published case studies from the most popular business schools are often used as the foundation for business courses in other institutions. This means that the influence of these more popular schools is often disproportionate, as how they approach 'business' amplifies across the industry through the widespread use of their case studies.

Professor Parker commented:

"There's a strong emphasis on a kind of re-armament. (With a Business School) as a place that should not be about the teaching of skills, but the incolcation of values."

He contended that business schools are primarily engaged in only answering one question from their students, namely 'What is my return on investment in this course?' Rather than actually being primarily concerned about helping to instill broad and useful business knowledge.


He argued that most business schools currently promoted:

  1. A concentration on a corporate model of business - The idea of 'Big' business, largely ignoring smaller or collective business models.
  2. Emphasised growth - Pushed the idea that growth is a necessary corollary of success along with the idea that growth is always a good thing (even when it may have negative consequences in other social or environmental ways)
  3. Emphasised Managerialism - Pushed Managerialism as the necessary functional model for how organisations should be organised, ignoring any possible alternatives.LSBM Conference 2018

He argued that there was a 'hidden curriculum' that wasn't being taught in business schools. He likened this to being like a medical course that only taught about the arms and feet, or a geography department that only taught about South America and Australia. That omission was as powerful as inclusion when it came to the business curriculum, because it meant that all the focus was on a single capitalist management model of business, and excluded many others.

To illustrate this point he spoke about 'The Dictionary of Alternatives: Utopianism and Organization' which he co-wrote with Valerie Fournier and Patrick Reedy, which was published in April 2007 and can be described in the following terms:

"There is no alternative to free market liberalism and managerialism', is the orthodoxy of the twenty-first century. All too often, ordinary people across the world are being told that the problem of organization is already solved, or that it is being solved somewhere else, or that it need not concern them because they have no choices. This dictionary provides those who disagree with the evidence. Using hundreds of entries and cross-references, it proves that there are many alternatives to the way that we currently organize ourselves."

To illustrate this he showed a slide which listed a page of 'alternatives', only one of which was management.

LSBM Conference 2018

He had three specific complaints about what business schools currently teach:

  1. They teach how capitalism operates - That this is a form of ideological education, rather than a broad one.
  2. That because of this it gives the knowledge that they produce a particular kind of character, that means that key groups and organising structures are not mentionned, or glossed over.
  3. That it articulates a narrow vision of how our collective futures are supposed to look that excludes many other potential paths.


He commented:

"The hidden curriculum of the business school is everything that isn't capitalism. Leaving everything else hidden."

His proposed solution was a 'School for Organising', which he defined in the following terms:

"A school which teaches about the possibility of a low carbon economy; about localised supply chains; about organizations that are collectively and democratically owned and controlled; an economy in which small is beautiful and responsibility to people and planet is the means and end of business. If we start from the idea of organising as politics, as a prefiguration of a way of being, then our problems are not solved, but the world is opened. And the university gets a proper discipline, not a finishing school for capitalism."

 

 

LSBM Conference 2018 class=

The third of our Keynote speakers was Becky Hartnup, Independent Consultant, Becky Hartnup Consulting. She spoke on the subject of, 'Making Decisions in the Dark'. (on the right in the photo is Cal Courtney, compere for the conference, and Director, Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Success (SEWS) at LSBM).

Becky was approaching the subject of social media from the perspective of an educational institution and its students. She postulated that as educators we know that our students are using social media, but that to a large extent we are suffering from 'social media blindness' in that we don't really understand how these interactions are taking place.

If we don't know what our students are saying, then perhaps knowing how they are using social media, along with their primary drivers of behaviour may help to give us useful feedback as to how to engage with them.

Becky illustrated this by asking the audience a series of questions and demonstrating how the replies could build up a collection of responses that would allow analysis, even when the responses were not linked to specific individuals.

  • What is your favourite tv show or box set?
  • How often do you interact with social media?
  • How do you feel about social media?
  • Why do students use social media?
  • Are you currently using social media techniques with your students (for example to encourage bonding or engagement)

LSBM Conference 2018 class=The answers that the audience gave were presented on the screen in terms of how often they were said, and gradually you could see patterns emerge that would enable conclusions to be drawn, even without knowing individuals responses. So, for example, Game of Thrones was a clear favourite among the audience for the first question, which may to be expected, but other programmes like Love Island and Bridge also appeared, so you could have drawn wider conclusions (if this were a 'real' fact finding scenario with students) about the popularity of certain programs.

In an educational context about course content and provision this may enable closer analysis of the structure of courses, alongside examining what the most useful or engaging aspects of a particular course may be.

Noticeable also was that the questions were a balance between open-ended and closed questions. So, for some there was a sense of widening the scope of what was being found out, while with others there was a focus on seeing the extent of what was being explored. With students this could be useful to discover what their feelings about certain parts or modules on a course were.

LSBM Conference 2018 class=Becky compared this process to looking into the 'black box of student discussions'. You know that it is going on, but unless you probe into it, you may have no idea about what is really going on with it, or how your students really feel about the areas that you are teaching them.

She considered the various ways that social media could contribute, including considering what the themes and drivers of behaviour may be, alongside inhibiting factors that may interrupt the process, and what the behavioural aspects of those may be. So, for example, it may be that you would consider social media in the context of how it may change or establish relationships, build networks, or affect social norms within a group, and how these may work together to create certain behavioural outcomes.

In terms of how social media may impact educational outcomes, there were several suggestions, including:

  • Allows a bypassing of institutional communications
  • Allows for a rapid escalation of issues
  • Potentially creates a 'Group Think' scenario - where students align their attitudes and behaviors based on what their peers think
  • Wellbeing impacts - These may be good or bad. Students may feel supported by others, in which case these may be positive. Or they may feel excluded, or even bullied, in which case these may be negative.
  • Cultural gaps between informal and formal settings - These may appear depending on how social media is used.

Becky also spoke about the potential 'good' and 'bad' sides of social media, along with some middle ground details that were worthy of noting 'caution' about and offered quotes from students to backup aspects of those findings (see partial illustrative quotes below).

'Good'

  • Supports college adjustment and persistence - 'Helped me to settle in'
  • Wellbeing effects - 'It was comforting... It was like a safety net'
  • Maintaining social capital - 'I would know a person more if I have looked at their profile'
  • Building social capital - 'I can help friends without seeing them'

'Bad'

  • Academic and social comparison and competition - 'Some people might not like you because you share a lot'
  • Uncertain/conflicting group norms - 'This awkward feeling, should I post something or not?'
  • Collapsed identity as proxy for self - 'Says you are a bit desperate to get people to notice you'

'Caution'

  • Highly curated - 'The people who know me in university versus the people who know me back in China - it's a different person. If I was travelling I wouldn't mind posting, but a personal newsfeed - I wouldn't put something on there.'
  • Preference for consumption over creation
  • Preference for controlled audience

LSBM Conference 2018 class=

She explored some of these categorisations alongside looking at levels of participation activity, including passivity versus activity. For example, consuming or liking content, versus uploading content or commenting. This could then possibly have an impact on relationships and how the person was perceived by their peers.

There was quite a lot of individual analysis that could be carried out, including exploring:

  • Social media culture
  • Visibility, anonymity, duration of use
  • Platform effects - For example using Instagram vs Facebook
  • Timing - When it is used, for how long and how often
  • Nature of content - Passive vs Active
  • Alternative routes

Becky found that Facebook is still extensively used by students, and that she hadn't seen any evidence that the Facebook data incident had had much of an effect on particularly lessening the average students (under the age of 21) engagement with the platform, but that not that many were actively engaging with Twitter. Snapchat was widely used, as was Instagram, which was highly used by students to project an image to the world of who they felt they were.

Becky emphasised that the field of play is constantly shifting when it comes to social media, even to the extent of questionning if certain services (Whatsapp was the example she gave) were social media, or something different, and that it is a very fluid area with constant changes that from an educational perspective needs constant re-assessment.

 


Other Speakers at the Conference

In addition to the three Keynote speakers there were an additional twelve presentations at this year's conference, which was spread over several rooms to accommodate the demand for the cutting-edge academic research we were profiling at the event.

The twelve additional speakers and talks were as follows:

  1. Empathy: the educational space between us - Dr Anna Kopec Massey

    Exploring empathy in an educational context. This presentation presented empathy as a crucial skill required in the co-production of teaching and curriculum design.

  2. Measuring the Immeasurable in Staff/Student Research Collaborations in Business and Management - Dr Nnamdi Madichie

    The purpose of this discussion paper was to revisit a paper Dr Madichie presented at a marketing conference about a decade ago calling for the need for knowledge co-creation between academic staff and students, especially those studying at Level 6 and above.

  3. An investigation into the effectiveness of key interventions likely to close the attainment gap in HE - Asif Sadiq

    This study aimed to answer some key questions about which interventions work well in raising attainment and closing the gap between students from poor socio-economic backgrounds and privileged peers.

  4. UK HE business school graduate experiences of what causes vertical and horizontal employability mismatch - Paul Massiah, Mathew Jones and Monica Sounderraj

    This paper explored the impact of issues such as widening participation, austerity measures, HE in a BREXIT era, internationalistion and issues in the context of gloabalisation.

  5. You Are Welcome: developing a creative approach to hospitality at LSBM - Cal Courtney, Rabii Mounsif, Fiddian Warman and Henry Playfoot

    Contextualising re-branding and re-styling in the context of Emmanuel Levinas, who sought to articulate an ethic of welcome which gave 'the other' the space to be.

  6. Students' Engagement through ACCA Partnership - Usha Mistry (Usha particularly wanted to thank Laura Barber, Education Manager at our new learning partners, the ICAEW for attending her talk)

    Exploring our partnership with the ACCA and their Accelerate Program to draw wider conclusions about student engagement and employability.

  7. Further Education saved me - Paul McKean

    This paper was about a personal journey through the challenges of negotiating physical and mental debilitation, the loss of independence, depression and how education held the key to Paul's personal and academic success.

  8. Evaluating engagement: an Aula case study of measuring impact in digital space - Rachael Curzons

    Aula is a communication platform for education. This paper explored issues surrounding engagement in digital space and the approaches chosen to measure the impact of a digital learning environment on learning and engagement with Aula.

  9. Confession Tapes: what we've learnt from Academic Integrity interviews - Anna Krajewska and Tom Ironmonger

    This presentation utilised the authors' experiences of informing, investigating and rehabilitating Foundation Year students with diverse educational backgrounds, with a view to understanding their motives and the extent of the problem of cheating.

  10. An assessment of Leadership Skills for the Future World of Work: The 5 Lens Development Platform - Dr E Albertini

    This paper explored the changes required in turns of what leaders need to Know, Do, and Be and positioned the '5 Lens Development Platform' as an integrated solution to assessing and developing key leadership skills for the future world of work.

  11. Professional recognition: Promoting recognition through the HEA in a UK HE institution - Dr Simon Taylor

    This paper outlined the strategies used to engage all academic staff in achieving professional recognition under the HEA Framework. It focused on three key themes: reward and recognition for teaching and learning quality, change in teaching practice, and enhanced engagement with CPD.

  12. Metrics, Sustainability, Education and Business Studies - Balasubramanyam Chandramohan and Arif Zaman

    This paper focused on 'the immeasurable' aspects of appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture's contribution to sustainable development, through close analysis of three LSBM business modules.


We would like to thank all those academics for their engaging presentations.

(You can read biographies of all the speakers and full-abstracts of all the talks in the interactive conference program on the dedicated page for the conference here.)

 

Teaching and Learning Awards and HEA Fellowships

One of the highlights of every annual LSBM Conference is our acknowledgment of some outstanding teachers and the work they have been doing.

Great teaching may appear to be effortless, but there is a lot of work that goes into the preparation and delivery of effective education.

In addition, we are very proud of our staff development programme which includes a target for the achievement of UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) fellowships for all teaching staff through membership of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) (Soon to be 'Advance HE')

LSBM Conference 2018

So, we were also pleased to acknowledge new Associates, Fellows and Senior Fellows of the HEA at this years conference, with the assistance of Simon Taylor from LSBM (who takes an active hand in assisting our lecturers in the process of becoming HEA Associates, Fellows, and Senior Fellows - top left of picture) and Nick Skeet, HEA Partnership Manager who is pictured presenting the following fellowship certificates.

Senior Fellows of the HEA

  • Ismini Katsadouri - Course Leader - LLB (Hons) Law (2nd from the left at the top)
  • Chris Munro - Programme Leader - BA (Hons) Business Management (2nd from the right at the top)

Fellows of the HEA

  • Anna Krajewska - Course Leader - Foundation degree for Business and Accounting (top right)
  • Arif Zaman - Deputy Director, Centre for Research and Enterprise (CRE) (bottom left)
  • Krystle Lewis - Senior Law Lecturer (2nd from the left at the bottom)
  • Noreen Jafferkhan - Business Lecturer (2nd from the right at the bottom)
  • Dr. Melissa Kerr - Senior Business Lecturer
  • Theocharis Papadopoulos - Senior Business Lecturer
  • Jenny Hallam - Senior Law Lecturer

HEA Associates

  • Abdullah Ali - Business Lecturer

It is always our greatest pleasure of the day (on this occasion just before a most excellent buffet lunch with musical accompaniment from Kopland & Miller!) to put our hands together and applaud the endeavours of a number of staff and departments who were the recipients of this years LSBM Awards.


There were a number of LSBM Teaching and Learning Awards as follows: (Pictured accepting their awards from Nick Hillman, Deputy Academic Principal, LSBM - top left)

LSBM Conference 2018

  • Professional Services Contribution to Student Experience Award - Dr. Nadia Michail (bottom left) and Daniel Watts (Joint Award Winners)
  • Contribution to Student Achievement - Dr. Anna Kopec-Massey (top right)
  • LSBM Support and Enhancement Award - Tom Ironmonger and Anna Krajewska (2nd from the left at the bottom) (Joint Award Winners)
  • LSBM Support and Enhancement Team Award - Academic Administration Team
  • Learning Practitioner Award - Abdullah Ali

(There were also two joint runners-up announced for the LSBM Support and Enhancement Award - Iftakhar Ahmed (2nd from the left at the top) and Faye Al-Hindawi (2nd from the right at the top)

In addition, there was a new award this year, which was announced by Dr. Nnamdi Madichie, Director, Centre for Research and Enterprise (CRE) (2nd from the right at the bottom), to celebrate the extensive research capacity that LSBM has grown over the last year.

  • New Researcher Award - Jointly awarded to Usha Mistry, Asif Sadiq and Dabir Ahmed (bottom right)

Well done to all the winners!

 

Thanks...

LSBM Conference 2018

We would once more like to thank all of the attendees, speakers and performers at this year's conference, as well as the staff at the Congress Centre for taking care of everyone so admirably.

We would also like to say thank you to Cal Courtney, Director, 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.

The food at this years event was also great, as was the lunchtime performance by Kopland & Miller (the lady on the right being 'Miller'!)

You can see some more thanks here.

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.

  • Speakers need to be found
  • Venues need to be booked
  • Attendees need to be found and contacted (regularly!)
  • Food and entertainment need to be organised
  • Brochures need to be designed and printed
  • 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 (the lady that appears twice!), Academic Lead for Teaching and Learning (and her team), Nick Hillman (centre left), Deputy Academic Principal, Sarah Bailey (on the far right), Deputy Director SEWS and Jennicka Sapigao (on the far left), Graphic Designer who designed the conference programme.

LSBM Conference 2018

The last word goes to Geraldine, who sent this out  the day after the event:

"I just wanted to say a big thank you to all of those who participated in the Teaching and Learning Conference this year. 

I have already said my special thanks to the SEWS team and extended that thanks to our lovely student helpers who made the day run very smoothly. I also wanted to thank Stuart for his coverage of the event and to Jennicka, for the fantastic materials she crafted for us... they were the very best yet. Also, another thank you to Shabnam for dealing with all of the financing of this huge project quickly and without hiccup!! 

Thank you (including anybody that I have forgotten to thank) to the speakers who spent the time to design, discuss and deliver some really engaging presentations! 

From initial feedback, it looks like this year was the best yet!"

See you next year!


Stuart Brown
Media and Content Manager

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