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Learning and Teaching Conference 2021: Agenda

Challenging barriers to access, engagement and success

09.30 - 09.45 Welcome.
Dr Ellen Buck, Director of Learning and Teaching 
09.45 - 11.15

Intentional Learning Design.
Dr Alexandra Mihai, Associate Professor of Innovation in Higher Education at Maastricht University. 

Dr. Alexandra Mihai is Assistant Professor of Innovation in Higher Education in the Department of Educational Research and Development, School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University. Previously she worked as Learning Designer at University College London (UCL), Curriculum Designer at the Institute of European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and led the Centre for Teaching Innovations at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Alexandra has a strong background in e-learning, learning design and innovative teaching strategies. In her PhD she analysed in how far technology is used in teaching practices at European universities.


Looking back to one and a half years of teaching and learning in a pandemic, we need to take a moment to reflect on what we’ve learned and how we can integrate it in our educational offer in the future. The experience of the past months has shown that being more intentional in how we design and teach our courses can improve the learning experience considerably. This session will focus on the idea of intentional learning design, emphasising several core elements such as structure, teacher presence, communication, support and the role of technology beyond the covid-19 pandemic. The aim is to encourage reflection and discussion on how we can refine our learning design approach, both at course and programme level, to meaningfully use our resources and create a rich and inclusive learning experience.

11.15 - 12.00 Research Findings and indications: the University of Suffolk Access and Participation Plan, 2020-2021. 
Dr Reilly Willis, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, and Katie Tyrell, Research Associate
12.00 - 12.30 Panel discussion, how can intentional design help us to ensure our learning and teaching supports our Access and Participation Plan targets?
Dr Ellen Buck, Dr Alexandra Mihai, Dr Reilly Willis, Katie Tyrell, Aaron Burrell. 
12.30 - 13.15 Break for lunch
13.15 - 14.45

Parallel Sessions (30 minutes each). 

Strand A: Findings for CELT Sponsored Research Projects 2019-2020

Persuasion: a tool for facilitating classroom discussion.
Dr Will Thomas, Associate Professor Suffolk Business School
This project enabled the development of a classroom game which facilitates engagement and discussion on topics relating to persuasion, power, motivation and influence. Some students find it difficult to engage with discussions on abstract and complex topics such as these and this tool helps to encourage useful and productive debate. The game itself is a simple card-based game, supported by worksheets leading to plenary discussion. Ultimately this is a resource which will prove useful in schools, colleges and universities – the intention is to seek to develop the game and its supporting documentation and to distribute in order to promote both the University and Suffolk Business School.

Extenuating circumstances, student progression and student experience: lessons learned.
Dr Cristian Dogaru, Associate Professor School of Social Sciences and Humanities
This project focused on the Extenuating Circumstances (EC) processes and outcomes at the University of Suffolk by looking at the rates of EC applications, the reasons behind them, the profiles of the students applying and sought to gain a better understanding of the impact of the EC processed have on student experience, progression, retention and academic success. Findings from this project could be used to enable the University to take a more proactive preventative approach for situations where possible struggles can be anticipated, for example mental health issues exacerbated around assessment situations, to put in place interventions for students who are likely to be impacted negatively by their EC experiences and to revise its EC policy in order to align it with evidence. Such changes could contribute to reducing gaps in access, continuation, achievement and progression of students in line with out Access and Participation Plan and help students to move more successfully through the progression stages, from guided to negotiated and to independent learners. 

GRIT: ‘Growing resilience interventions toolkit’.
Dr Wendy Lecluyse and Maureen Haaker, School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Resilience is a multifaceted construct, defined in diverse ways throughout the literature. Often it is described as the ‘an ability to bounce back’ and ‘recover from adversity’ while others define resilience as ‘the ability to appraise situations and to think about changes that are possible in your life’. 
It has been suggested that resilience and emotional intelligence are important predictors for academic success. Specific attributes associated with resilient individuals are, for example, reflective ability, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, social confidence and good support networks. Increasingly, research suggests that resilience is not a fixed characteristic but can be trained and enhanced evidenced in recent publications of resilience training programmes and interventions. This project focused on developing curriculum so that – within particular modules across courses - we can actively work to strengthen competencies which increase academic buoyancy and emotional resilience.


Strand B: Enhancing learning and teaching and student experience

Brightspace: Enhancing the learner journey through engagement and metrics. 
Aaron Burrell, Associate Director Digital Learning and Innovation
This session will explore the different forms of engagement across a number of learning environments, focussing on Brightspace and the Block and Blend pedagogy introduced at Suffolk. Online engagement can be categorised into five headings: emotional, social, collaborative, cognitive and behavioural engagement. The session will discuss what has been learnt in the past year and how utilising tools and metrics in Brightspace can help your students in their learning journey.

Student experience and the student voice. 
Georgia Downs, Student Experience and Engagement Officer and Dr Andrew Revitt, Educational Developer 
This session will explore the mechanisms of gathering and hearing the student voice and how the use of a variety of mechanisms can develop a rich and holistic picture enabling the enhancement of perception, engagement and experience across all aspects of the University's core business of learning and teaching. 

The value of a coaching conversation in academia
Dr Richard Beaumont and Ruairi Kelleher, The Edelia Group
This session will explore how coaching style conversations can empower staff and students, enhancing experience, engagement and success through their academic journeys. 

14.45 - 15.15 Break for Coffee
15.00 - 15.30 Reflections on Practice, the Learning and Teaching Strategy and the year ahead
Dr Ellen Buck
15.30 Close