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Do you have an idea worth sharing?

20 Jan 2020 | Dawne Irving-Bell In advance of the Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference 2020, Dawne Irving-Bell from Edge Hill University shares her perceptions of last year’s event, and in doing so, hopes to encourage anyone and everyone with an idea worth sharing to submit an abstract for 2020.

Access to strategies that ‘work’

The Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference provides delegates with a platform to promote and share tried and tested strategies that have the potential to transform teaching and enhance student learning.

The event also provides those attending with an opportunity to expand their professional networks. They can engage in academic discourse with colleagues who are passionate about influencing teaching and learning and share the common goal of continually improving teaching and learning in higher education.

Developing strategies that work

With the ultimate goal of improving the student experience across the sector, I wanted to use the 2019 conference to facilitate a forum where those attending could acquire knowledge and develop strategies to use in their own institution.  

With this focus, my presentation tried to enable delegates to exchange ideas and share opinions. I have since used the feedback to develop my own practice and improve outcomes for students.

The conference also provided me an opportunity to gain insights into current thinking across a broad range of activity currently being undertaken across the sector, and I have incorporated some of these ideas as well.

New decade, new ideas

This year’s conference theme ‘Creative thinking to enhance the student experience: from curriculum design to student success’ is designed to encourage new and potentially left-field ideas to improve teaching and learning. Exploring and developing these ideas will be critical in a fast-changing world where creativity is a cornerstone of success.

Areas of development could include supporting student engagement, transition and retention; enhancing employability and improving assessment and feedback practice. Strategies to support student mental health and well-being and those designed to enhance equality, diversity and inclusion are also key concerns for the sector as a whole.

Other themes may include work to help ensure an increasing focus on sustainability in higher education, or work that explores the role leadership and governance has in enhancing the student experience and increasing student success.

Structure designed for success

The three-day event is broken down into five themes:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Health and Social Care
  • Sector Priorities
  • Social Sciences  
  • STEM

The conference structure lends itself perfectly to support all forms of information sharing.   

Presenters can choose a 60-minute interactive or workshop session, 20-minute oral presentation, five-minute ‘ignite’ session or a poster presentation making it easy to find a platform you are comfortable with.

There will also be the return of the extremely popular ‘soapbox’ sessions which are ideal for showcasing an innovative idea or concept. The five-minute sessions provide a great opportunity to find like-minded colleagues for collaboration on a new project. Why not get on your ‘soapbox’ and shout about your creative ideas?

New to presenting?

The Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference is a well-organised, friendly event, and a fantastic environment for colleagues to share teaching and learning-focused innovations. It is an environment where you can gain the knowledge and confidence to enhance your teaching practice and a productive, safe space to engage in critical and creative thinking designed to enhance the student experience.

If you haven’t presented before and are perhaps a little nervous or unsure about standing in front of a large audience, then why not consider sharing your work through an interactive workshop or via a poster presentation? These are really effective mechanisms to share your ideas but can be a less intimidating means of communication for those new to conference presenting.

Alternatively, you could perhaps consider presenting as a group, collaborating with colleagues from your own institution or with colleagues who undertake similar roles in neighbouring institutions. 

So, if you have an innovative idea, research informed strategy or something just simply worth sharing what are you waiting for? Draft an abstract and submit it to Advance HE!

Find out more about the 2020 Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference here.

Dawne is the Centre for Learning and Teaching Projects Lead at Edge Hill University. Her research interests include SoTL and STEM pedagogy. Dawne enjoys lecturing on visual thinking and advocates for technology and design education. She is a PFHEA and in her current position chairs institutional enquiries and leads on university-wide strategies to enhance the student experience.

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