Festival of Learning 2017: Reflections

I have recently had the privilege of organising (along with a team of people who actually made it happen) The University of Gloucestershire’s inaugural Festival of Learning.

Storify of the event

You can see more of the event, and get a real sense of the conversations, via the Storified Tweets at : https://tinyurl.com/GlosLearn17.

There will be lots of video content from our awesome friends at Unit One Films, once edited, including an interview with Dr Donna Lanclos, who gave the keynote lecture. There will also be pictures, once we sift the many taken, and a summary, of the amazing exhibitors at the lunchtime showcase. That will appear, fairly soon I hope, over on the event website,

Screenshot 2017-06-15 15.26.22.png

Here, though, I wanted to note that beyond that, I was lucky enough to forget about lunch menu options, the votes for the best exhibitor stand (the therapy dogs/VR-therapy dogs ran away with that one), missing speakers, and my hashtags, and Instagram selfie-game, and present a paper with my colleague Ros O’Leary.

Our session was entitled: My course is intellectually stimulating and has challenged me to do my best work. The title may be familiar to anyone who in HE, drawing as it does on the National Student Survey questions. We will blog about the session, as well as write a more formal paper based on it, and I won’t spoil that, but it is worth noting that we are interested in a more sophisticated and nuanced notion of ‘challenge’ than just making the course/students harder! In line with the concerns that Nicky Rivers and I expressed in a recent post about ‘resilience’, we wanted to begin thinking about better ways of conceiving the issues our students face, and how learning and teaching responses might be planned. This really dovetailed for us, with the way that Dr Lanclos, in her keynote, talked about the ways that the UNC, Charlotte, Active Learning Academy worked, and the noted reduction in inequities of outcome in relation to gender and socioeconomic profile, amongst students who engaged in more active education. This post really is just a brief reflection, a stub almost, but one that seeks to remind (myself, if no one else!) of the powerful impact of bringing together people who care about teaching, and having extended, detailed, even earnest, conversations…




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