Here are the main follow-ups from the conference:
- Student engagement and a sense of belonging can be encouraged in many ways. It needs to cross academic and support boundaries. There is an important role for LEaD here. Reading on this from Smith and Campbell (2012) “Exploring a Middle Ground” and the work of CHEE in Ohio.
- Participatory leadership opportunities are a good way of engaging academic staff in change. Consider the use of think tanks and learning commons.
- Learning analytics is complex and not a panacea. We need to be sensitive to how the data can be used to engage students not as a measurement tool.
- There is still a divide between “institutional media” eg Moodle and “social media” and students use both. However, although it may be easier to engage students via twitter and whatsup we need think about our objectives in this engagement. Students are adept at using more than one system and are not confused. Staff may be though!
- Staff need support in embracing new technologies effectively – this is NOT new! But becoming a greater imperative. Although staff may not be as adept at using social media there is a need to find their comfort level. For me that comes in defining those objectives for engaging and learning with students then working out how to meet these in a manner everyone feels comfortable with.
- I’m struck in writing this how many of these issues have been around for most of the time I have been working in this area. Yet the focus has shifted to focus more on student engagement. And the imperative is growing stronger. I’m also struck by how we are talking about this but how few participants at the conference were using social media, eg Twitter themselves. I am guilty of letting this slide recently….
- Connecting with other participants on Twitter during the conference has been great. Am now inspired to start blogging again and reminded how useful Twitter is for gaining information and making connections.
- Space! I must finish my article but there is the connection between physical and virtual space again.
- I’m always over ambitious about how much I can achieve at conferences, but especially the thinking space. Although flights are a good time to read things!