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Learning and Teaching Conference 2022

Engendering teaching excellence in a time of great change: the empowering university

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22 September 2022

Post-Conference information is available below

De Montfort University's annual Learning and Teaching conference took place on 22 September 2022 which brought together our educators, researchers and practitioners, to exchange and share practices on all issues concerning learning, teaching, assessment and feedback. The 2022 conference theme has at its heart the new university strategy which focuses on The Empowering University.

The Higher Education sector in the UK and at a global level continues to bear witness to significant changes since the advent of Covid-19, consequently pedagogic approaches have been shifting, and student engagement has had to transform, in order to accommodate these crucial changes. In addition, there has been a major fluctuation in digital and virtual practice, posing an evolving redefinition of what, how, where, and when we teach.

  1. Programme

    9.30 – 10.00       Registration

    10.00 – 10.10     Welcome: Professor Momodou Sallah

    10.10 – 10.30     VC Address: Professor Katie Normington, DMU Vice-Chancellor

    10.30 – 10.55     Interactive Session: Human Bingo

    10.55 – 11.30     Keynote Address: The creative act of pedagogy Professor Susan Orr, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education)

    11.30 – 11.45     Break

    11.45 – 12.35     Parallel Sessions 1: Empowering University

    12.35 – 1.30       Lunch Break: Opportunity to view virtual information stands, posters & video presentations

    1.30 – 2.15         Keynote Address Theme 2: You can call me AI – The power of the individual educator in a rapidly changing sector Dr Charles Knight, Senior Adviser Learning and Teaching, Advance HE

    2.15 – 2.20         Travel time to Parallel sessions

    2.20 – 3.10         Parallel Sessions 2: Learning for Life / Partnerships with Purpose

    3.10 – 3.25         Break

    3.25 – 4.15         Plenary / Panel discussion



    Panel Chair: Professor Alasdair Blair
    Professor Susan Orr, PVC Education
    Dr Leanne de Main, Deputy Dean, BAL
    Dr Charles Knight, Senior Advisor (Learning & Teaching) Advance HE
    Mr Nyashadzashe Nguwo, Academic Executive, DSU
    Dr Claire Orwin, Associate Dean Academic - ADH

    4.15 – 5.00        Exhibition and Networking

    5.00                   Conference close

  2. Context and Themes

    The Empowering University

    Anchored in our new Empowering University Strategy and its four key pillars: Learning for life; Knowledge creation; Empowering people; and Partnerships with purpose, the focus of this conference is to explore, in the most fundamental way, how we engender teaching excellence in a time of great change.

    This face to face conference will provide a platform to present and discuss the sector's most recent innovations, trends, and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions we can adopt, to meet future expectations. The conference will be looking at the following themes:

    • Learning for Life
      How can teaching and learning be better positioned, to be more student centred? How can flexible learning, especially through Education 2030, be developed and promoted? How can creative approaches to learning delivery be enhanced, especially in generating curiosity and enabling students to combine work and study?
    • Knowledge Creation
      How does our research in teaching and learning generate social impact? How do we engender and promote research informed teaching and teaching informed research, with our staff and students? How does our research strategy improve teaching and learning? How does our research feed into our teaching and learning? How does the creation of spin-offs provide an opportunity for real-life learning?
    • Empowering University
      How do we work with students to enhance the student experience? How and what kind of evidence-based approaches do we need to employ to build a stronger student experience? How do we improve staff and student wellbeing? How do we improve equality and diversity in our teaching, learning, assessment, and feedback?
    • Partnerships with Purpose
      How do we generate learning opportunities with businesses, industry boards, colleges, and local organisations? How do we take the classroom to the real-world and bring the real-world into the classroom? How do we generate global experiences for our students and staff? How does our teaching and learning lead to social good and the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

Keynote addresses:

VC Address

Professor Katie Normington, Vice-Chancellor, DMU​

You can call me AI – The power of the individual educator in a rapidly changing sector

Dr Charles Knight, Senior Adviser Learning & Teaching, Advance HE

Parallel Sessions

  1. Parallel Sessions 1 (11.45am – 12.35pm)


    Empowering University (EU)  |  Learning for Life (LFL)  |  Partnerships with Purpose (PWP)

    Parallel Sessions 1 Synopses provides a brief description about each session.

    1.  Facilitating a creative community - experimentation and innovation away from modules and assessment in ED2030 EU
        - Buddy Penfold, Sally Gaukrodger-Cowan and Carolyn Hardaker (ADH) 

    2.  Knowledge production, library collections and reading lists: Exclusive club or a warm welcome for all? EU
        - Kaye Towlson (LLS)

    The session acknowledged the impact of colonialism on knowledge production and the global knowledge hierarchy that privileges eurocentric, western/northern hemisphere knowledge creation, production and dissemination. This impacts the epistemes of the southern hemisphere, their development, dissemination, availability and perceived value. After providing context to the challenges above the session considered the impact on reading lists and knowledge availability and representation in academic library collections which impacts the student experience and their connections with the curriculum and institution. This in turn has an impact on belonging, learning and student success.

    Potential tools to review representation or the spread of knowledge within a discipline or reading list were shared. Activities around auditing library collections or reading lists were also shared. Discussion followed reflecting on the impact of these issues, the need to acknowledge and offer a space for discussion within the classroom. There was consideration of the challenges and sensitivities of auditing the ethnic representation of authors on a reading list and the avoidance of a checklist approach. The need and benefits of global representation on the reading list and within library collections was agreed.

    3.  Bridging the gap: Ideas and Strategies for addressing the discrepancy between students’ prior attainment in Maths and the reality of their capabilities EU - Lorraine Curotto and Karen Symons (LLS)

    Feedback from participants showed that this session was well-received, with many comments related to the friendliness and interactivity of the session.

    Activity 1 – focussed on identifying ‘gaps’ in students’ prior mathematical knowledge and some comments related to attitudes to learning maths as well. (See slides 6 and 7 of PowerPoint link above)
    Activity 2 – focussed on raising awareness of what a GCSE maths grade 4 really means
    Activity 3 – focussed on sharing strategies to help bridge any maths gaps (See slides 11, 13 and 14 of PowerPoint)

    Aspects of the workshop that were most useful:

    a. Information about prior attainment and what a GCSE qualification really means – especially the insight into the foundation and higher GCSE maths routes through.
    ‘I found the information about what happens in schools with GCSE maths mind-blowing’
    ‘It has helped me gain an understanding of our students’ difficulties’

    b. Having the chance to meet colleagues from different faculties and to share ideas about how to help students bridge the maths gap.
    ‘I like the idea of mapping maths competencies across the curriculum – as Kim was explaining’

    c. Knowing about the different types of support that the maths learning centre can offer – to both our staff and our students.
    ‘I’ll definitely use the slides that you have provided to signpost students to your drop-ins and tutorials’ (Slides 17 – 20)
    ‘I’ll pass on the link about ‘Curriculum consultancy for Staff’ to others in my team – so they can submit a request for help’
    ‘Wish I had known about the Staff link page – how long has that existed?!’

    Support for Staff

    4.  During this session there will be 2 Pecha Kucha presentations
         (i)  Empowering students EU
              - Roger Saunders (BAL) 
         (ii) Developing students as reflective practitioners EU
              - Deepa Rughani and Ben Onyido (CEM) 

    5.  Supporting your student’s wellbeing while protecting your own EU
        - Pamela Hardaker (CEM), Leanne Herbert, Training and Business Development Officer, Student and Academic Services - Supporting your students wellbeing handout

    6.  Bridging the writing gap: Boosting your students’ success in academic writing LFL
        - Emily Forster and Bev Hancock-Smith (LLS) - Bridging the writing gap - Post session notes

    7.  Affect and the Archive: Creating meaningful learning encounters and historic narratives for all EU
        - Ellen Wright (CEM)

    8.  Educating for a just, sustainable and peaceful world – how do we adapt pedagogy and practice for block teaching? LFL
        - Ian Coleman (CAITE) and Andrew Reeves (CEM)

    The session was attended by approximately 25 participants.  The topic of the session appeared to be of great interest to the group, and this led to frank discussion, perceptive and pertinent questioning, and an appreciation of the importance of reflecting on the purpose of higher education and its role in perpetuating a dysfunctional ‘way of life’.

    Participants also valued the signposting to further resources to support with curriculum design and learning and teaching practice, as well as further development opportunities in ESD. Several points were raised on the challenge of implementing ESD in practice, such as scaffolding student learning on critical thinking on wicked problems – this is valuable feedback that DMU’s ESD team will take into account when supporting colleagues in the future.

  2. Parallel Sessions 2 (2.20pm – 3.10pm)

    Empowering University (EU)  |  Learning for Life (LFL)  |  Partnerships with Purpose (PWP)

    Parallel Sessions 2 Synopses provides a brief description about each session.

    9.  Embedding well-being - The placement panel approach EU & LFL
    - Charlotte Rogers, Rachel Davies and Robert Frost (HLS) 

    Different experiences across faculties, which reflects the starting point of our students. Wider discussion of student aspiration and expectations on commencing programmes and how this influences and impacts their response to placement preparation.

    Attendees appreciated hearing from our graduates about the power of the panel and how it helped them understand placement. The graduates commented that rather than feel overwhelmed by the information-giving we offer, which often leads to apprehension and evasion, the panel helped to answer questions they didn’t know they had and peaked curiosity to help grow understanding and learning.

    10.  The Pracademic Classroom in Criminal Justice: Learning for life EU & LFL
    - Di Turgoose (HLS) Chair
    - Panel members: Victoria Knight, Steve Christopher, Sarah O’Neill & Leah Standen

    11.  Agile - A new way of Working PWP
    - Ayodele Olusayo Osunmakinde (BAL)

    12.  Partnerships for mutual benefit: achieving community impact through  real-life learning LFL
    - Andrew Reeves (CEM) - Partnerships for mutual benefit post session notes

    The workshop explored how taught courses at DMU could adopt a ‘Real-Life Learning’ approach, founded on an ethos of students’ learning experiences providing opportunities for direct and indirect contribution to the wider community.

    The presentation included a range of examples of practice, including live briefs with local organisations, public events aligned to course learning materials and linked work placement opportunities.

    Discussion highlighted that the participants present saw opportunities to extend or deepen their practice in these areas, particularly by considering the non-academic stakeholder community beyond the university who have an interest in their teaching.

    13.  Improving student learning and development through action orientated feedback LFL
    - Nicola Brooks (HLS), Zara Hooley (LLS), Tracy Slawson, (LLS), Anna Chesters (HLS), Kit Messinger, DSU

    14.  Access to high-profile jobs: Closing the gap PWP
    - Farukh Farukh (CEM), Anna Strzelecka and Ljiljana Marjanovic-Halburd

    15.  Engendering teaching excellence in Transnational Education in a time of great change: The Empowering University in Dubai PWP
    - Dr Manjeet Ridon and Stuart Lawson (ADH)

    The following is a pre-recorded session.

    16.  Embedding support for students' mental wellbeing: Course Specific Initiatives
    - Rachel Davies (SAAS) EU

    Pre-recorded video of Embedding support for students' mental wellbeing: Course Specific Initiatives

Poster and video presentations

  1. Posters

    1.  What the hell are we studying this for? Teaching Politics to Non-politics students  - Alistair Jones (ADH)

    2.  Deus Ex-Machina  - Camilo Calderon & Neil Lancastle (BAL)

    3.  Deus Ex-Machina II  - Neil Lancastle & Camilo Calderon (BAL)

    4.  Thinking like an engineer: CDIO implementation in Aeronautical Engineering  - Weigang Yao, Hobina Rajakaruna, Mikhail Goman (CEM)

    5.  Enhancing student experience with the use of an interactive academic planner  - Trisha Roshni Patel (HLS)

    6.  Problem based learning: a pedagogical method for embedding complex infection management skills and confidence in professional pharmaceutical practice  - Ashley Ryan Hamilton & Laura J Smith (HLS) - Coming Soon

    7.  Using randomly generated scenarios as a novel method for consolidating knowledge and public health communication skills  - Ashley Ryan Hamilton & Maitreyi Shivkumar - Coming Soon

    8.  Student Experience of Transitions: A co created project in Criminal Justice at DMU  - Diane Turgoose (HLS), Zara Hooley (LLS) and 3 students involved in co-production

    9.  Empowering students through one-to-one learning development support  - Arina Cirstea (LLS)

    10.  A Nightingale Classroom, DMUAspire 2021; comparative case study of widening participation level 4 Programme delivered using traditional and flipped learning methods; which approach provides real university experience and better promotes Y12 students’ learning and attainment?  - Kinga Bochenska (LLS)

    11.  Making Reading Visible in the School of Fashion and Textiles  - Tracy Slawson (LLS) and Melanie Petch (ADH)

    12.  International Library Ambassadors: a collaborative initiative to increase international students’ engagement with Library Services  - Joanna Dare & Beth Wyness (LLS)

    13.  More than just books: A collaborative approach to developing library resources and support for the DMU Dubai Campus  - Jennifer Coombs (LLS) & Dr Sivakumar Rajarathinam

    14.  DMU BaseCamp – What it is and making it work for you and your students  - Tracy Slawson, Jason Eyre and Kinga Bochenska (LLS)

  2. Academic Innovation Project (AIP) 2021/22 Posters

    15.  Digital Innovation through ‘Risky Play’ with Virtual Reality Technologies - Kerryn Wise (ADH)

    16.  Digital Inductions to Labs and Workshops  - Creating better utilisation of physical on campus spaces for skilled knowledge transfer  - Nick Rowan (ADH)

    17.  De Stress Art Club  - Sally Gaukrodger  - Cowan (ADH)

    18.  Constructive Failure  - Bringing failure back to classrooms for better student success (a pilot study) - Chianu Dibia (BAL)

    19.  Student Sex Worker Tool Kit  - Amanda Wilson (HLS)

    20.  A VR Video Development Suite to Support Student-led VR Content Creation, Evaluation and Deployment  - Sarah Allman (HLS) - Coming Soon

    21. Adopt A Patient #humanisinghealthcare  - Zeenat Hassam (HLS)

Conference enquiries

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