Learning, Teaching & Student Experience 2016

Entrance to Aston University
CABS conference at Aston University

Recently I attended the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) latest conference on the Learning, Teaching & Student Experience. I managed to get the chance to listen to some excellent keynotes on creativity, passion and learning styles, alongside some thought provoking sessions on student epistemologies, blended learning and the flipped classroom. The conference also gave me the chance to deliver my latest paper, which talks about academic Marginalisation and increasing Marketisation of higher education. This was all underpinned by a very supportive twitter back channel #LTSE2016.

This was one of the most informative conferences I have been to in many years. The conference was well over subscribed and it was lovely to meet colleagues from all over the country, from Glasgow to Dublin there was a wealth of good practice, passion and enthusiasm. It really felt well organised and “homely”, I enjoyed my time at this conference and everyone was so friendly.

There are quite a number of things that I took away with me from the conference, the first keynote on day one focused on the importance of creativity within teaching and learning. I agree with the majority of what this speaker has to say and it had in my view shades of Ken Livingstone and his ted talk. It is easy to assume that creativity is being drilled out of the education system, wether it is at primary, junior, high school or University level and there is plenty of evidence to support this notion, I often hear of “teaching to the test” or “we must cover this material” etc. However in some of the schools I have visited I have seen wonderful creative elements of teachers using their passion to create learning experiences that are different and unique. There is still a lot to be done before this work becomes official but in my view more and more schools recognise and are aware of creativity and the arts in the “rounded” student. This keynote did an excellent job of raising awareness of some the challenges many educators face.

The other session which piqued my interest was the flipped classroom. While this has been around for many years as a concept it is always interesting to see how different tutors use it as part of their classroom teaching. I also noticed that some of the academics who used the flipped classroom were also more open to using social media as part of their teaching to engage and motivate students. I did not get a chance to talk to these individuals in more detail but would have been interested to see if students engage in non university controlled environments.

 

The overall theme of the conference in my view hit on a very important point. Good teaching is not just about having technology or the latest gadgets, it can be as simple as a word game where you have to work out the scenarios, or dynamic with the use of quiz based systems, which record your responses in the classroom. Its all about passion, and I met some passionate people here, the more you talk to people the more you learn. I came away enthused with the full intention of incorporating Socrative into my teaching and the feedback i received in relation to my paper will be acted upon.

So all in all a very successful conference, One I am hoping to visit again.

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