T&L Conference 2011

Teaching & Learning Conference 2011, University of British Columbia, Canada.

The fourth annual U21 Teaching & Learning Network (U21 TLN) Conference was brilliantly hosted by The University of British Columbia.  This year’s theme, Effective and Efficient Teaching and Learning in Research Intensive Universities, was particularly relevant in the current global financial environment, as evidenced by the attendance of more than 45 delegates from 17 U21 member institutions.  As our first keynote speaker, Professor Neil Gold, noted, “In an environment of stretched resources and multiple mandates research universities are nonetheless challenged to not only serve students first but better.  The programme on efficient and effective learning provided practical insights into accomplishing exemplary results with existing or even reducing resources.”


Au courant experts spoke to four different themes, with ample time for interaction among participants to delve more deeply into the given topic.  Professor Neil Gold, Professor of Law at the University of Windsor, chaired a session on “Effective and Efficient Curriculum Models”.  In his presentation, Professor Gold engaged participants in a dialogue around diverse contexts, processes and outcomes for curricula reform.  Following small group discussions, representatives shared successful experiences and critical lessons learned about curriculum reform in research-intensive university settings.


Next, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic from the University of New South Wales, Professor Richard Henry, shared UNSW’s approach to Effective and Efficient Assessment Practices.   Together with his colleagues, Professor Prem Ramburuth and Professor Stephen Marshall, Professor Henry revealed the results UNSW had achieved to date and the challenges they have encountered as they have embarked on an institution-wide process to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of assessment.


In an informative session on Effective and Efficient Educational Technology Implementation, Ms Barbara Truman, Director of Course Development at the University of Central Florida in the US, showcased critical success factors in UCF’s decade-long initiative to increase access to degree programme through distributed and blended learning solutions.  Results from more than ten years of data mining on student and faculty perceptions and achievements were shared with participants.


Finally, Professor Dai Hounsell, Vice Principal, Academic Enhancement, at the University of Edinburgh, presented an engaging session on Effective and Efficient Educational Technology Implementation.  His presentation, Learning and Teaching in U21 Universities: Shifting Perspectives, Fresh Challenges addressed how our understanding of learning and teaching processes in universities has evolved over the last three decades.  Participants were then given the opportunity to explore Professor Hounsell’s question, What features of learning-teaching processes need to be at the forefront of our strategic thinking in U21 universities over the next decade? in small break-out groups.


Participants clearly valued the opportunity to share information with so many expert U21 faculty members and were grateful for the hospitality shown by UBC and the UBC organizing team.  As one commented: “ What a golden opportunity this was to come together with colleagues from across the world to share ideas and insights and to explore what we could learn from one another!  The next conference will therefore be ‘daren’t miss’ in my diary.”


In addition to the successful conference, the U21 TLN Steering Group, armed with suggestions from the participants regarding a work programme going forward, announced several exciting initiatives for the coming year including a three day workshop on “Ethics and Citizenship in the Curriculum.” At Tecnologico de Monterrey and a second position paper which will be commissioned early in the New Year


Finally, the U21 TLN Steering Group extends deep appreciation to Professor Deborah Terry of the University of Queensland for the generous time and sound advice she has provided to the SG over the past 18 months.  The SG is delighted to announce that Professor Philippa “Pip” Pattison, Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, from the University of Melbourne and Professor Madan Mohan Chaturvedi, Director, Institute for Life Long Learning at the University of Delhi have agreed to join the Steering Group to oversee collaboration and activities among the wider T&L network.

The keynote speakers' presentations have been added as video clips to UBC's website.  Follow the link below to watch them.