The context of the institutional teaching and learning conference: a ground-clearing exercise
Keywords:conferences, staff development, communities of practice, organisational learning
Institutional teaching and learning conferences are a significant part of the academic calendar in many UK universities. A simple ground-clearing exercise was undertaken to investigate the scale and scope of these events in the 2015/16 academic year. This study notes the impact that national discussions have had on the content and focus of some conferences, and highlights consistencies in theme and sub-theme, with sessions imbued with a learning, teaching or strategic orientation. Institutional teaching and learning conferences are pervasive but their essence is also shaped by institutional culture and mission. However, patterns of conformity were apparent in the way programmes were structured, often with a mix of short paper presentations and workshops. The paper concludes by considering these implications and offers questions for future research. A version of this paper (‘Measured discussion: what UK institutional teaching and learning conferences tell us about ‘what matters most’’) was first presented to the HEIR (Higher Education Institution Research) Conference, hosted by LJMU in September 2016.
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