Engaging Minds: Active learning, participation and collaboration in Higher education schedule

Thursday 9th June 2011

  • Keynote 1: The tyranny of participation? Critically exploring notions of student engagement

    by Lesley Gourlay

    Notions of student engagement, activity, participation and collaboration have become key concepts in higher education, and are rightly regarded as vital indicators of success and markers of progressive and democratic forms of pedagogy. They have also become closely related with the emergent notion of the ‘student experience’, both in the educational literature and also in policy discourses.
    In this talk I will critically interrogate these concepts and terms, arguing that although these may be couched in benign terms and are undeniably useful, if used uncritically they can become meaningless, vague and tokenistic, propagating taken-for-granted ideas about teaching and learning. Arguably, this can be seen in widespread exhortations to increase ‘student engagement’, where the term is frequently ill-defined and not derived from a clear theoretical base, research evidence or experience in disciplinary contexts. Its use is (at times) almost entirely ideological, and I will suggest if not considered and used with care, it could descend into a cliché with which to stereotype students and, and a mechanism for staff governance.
    I will argue for a ‘constructively critical’ stance towards the concept of student engagement, to allow us to gain genuine insights into the many and varied forms of student engagement. This perspective takes into account the highly diverse motivations and backgrounds of our student cohorts, who are experiencing university in increasingly complex social and economic contexts. In this reading, the university is seen as not one singular entity, but as a system of interlocking - and at times contradictory - social practices focused on knowledge and identities. This standpoint demands a move towards the qualitative, theorised and longitudinal in higher education research, and also asks us to accept a ‘messy’, pluralised view of what student engagement might look like, and how we might foster it in meaningful and inclusive ways.

    At 9:30am to 10:15am, Thursday 9th June

  • Keynote 2: The wisdom of the crowds: clickers, crowdsourcing and educational technology

    by Derek Bruff

    Social media are used by ordinary citizens across the Mideast to tell the world about protests, crackdowns, and revolutions. Free and open source software like Linux is developed, debugged, and enhanced by computer programmers around the world donating their time. Wikipedia’s English version contains over 3.6 million articles that are edited and expanded by over 150,000 active contributors. What makes these kinds of technology-powered “crowdsourcing” work so well? In this talk, we’ll explore the principles behind successful crowdsourcing activities, see how those principles can help us use classroom response systems (“clickers”) more effectively in our classroom and discuss other educational technologies, such as backchannels and prediction markets, that complement clickers and leverage some of these same principles.

    At 10:15am to 11:00am, Thursday 9th June

  • Parallel Session A

    by Helen Hynes, Marco Angelini, Breda Sweeney, Geraldine O'Neill, Emma McKenna, Catherine Bates, Carina Ginty, Roisín Curran, Kenneth Burns, Catherine Cronin, Brian Coll, James Murphy, Stuart Brand and Gerry Gilvary

    Five sessions in parallel
    Students as co-creators of knowledge
    WORKSHOP: Engaging Students in the Curriculum Life Cycle; Stuart Brand, Birmingham City University

    Civic engagement and social responsibility
    1: Engaging with student research; Emma McKenna and Eileen Martin, Queen's University Belfast
    2: Community based research to enhance student learning; Kenneth Burns and Siobhan Scully, University College Cork, and Catherine O’Mahony, NAIRTL
    3: Students Learning with Communities; Catherine Bates, Sinead McCann and Elena Gamble, Dublin Institute of Technology

    First Year Experience
    1: Student Leadership as an engine for personal and academic engagement; Marco Angelini, University College London
    2: A First Year Experience Learning Support Package and its impact; Carina Ginty, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, and Nuala Harding, Athlone Institute of Technology
    3: Integrating theory and practice to design a framework for enhancing assessment in the First Year; Geraldine O’Neill and Elizabeth Noonan, University College Dublin

    Engaging Large Classes
    DISCUSSION: Interactive Lectures; Sharon Flynn, National University of Ireland, Galway, and Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University

    Pecha Kucha Presentations
    1: Student voices in curriculum planning; Roisín Curran, University of Ulster
    2: Reducing vulnerability to medical error; Helen Hynes, Simon Smith, Pat Henn and Robert Gaffney, University College Cork
    3: Peer Supported Learning Groups (PSLG): Enhancing student experience in UL and beyond; James Murphy and Hussain Madhi, University of Limerick
    4: Creating and Sharing Knowledge: Using podcasting, blogs and Wikipedia; Catherine Cronin, National University of Ireland, Galway
    5: EBL in the Humanities: first impressions; Gerry Gilvary, Institute of Technology, Tallaght
    6: SCVNGR - Using location based games to introduce First Years to campus; Brian Coll, Institute of Technology, Sligo
    7: Use of business simulation game as a multidisciplinary teaching tool; Breda Sweeney, National University of Ireland, Galway

    At 11:30am to 12:45pm, Thursday 9th June

  • Keynote 3: Students as Change Agents: collaborative engagement in improving the learning environment at the University of Exeter

    by Elisabeth Dunne

    Recent arguments on the role of students in Higher Education suggest that we should be considering a move away from considering students as customers, to practices where students take on the role of ‘engaged collaborators’ (Ramsden 2008) and work in ‘collaborative partnership’ with their institutions (NUS 2011). To support this approach, the University of Exeter has developed an innovative student-led action research initiative with students and staff working as partners in improving learning and teaching experiences. Over the past two years, twenty five small ‘Students as Change Agents’ projects have been run, with students taking responsibility for promoting evidence-based change.
    Students, in collaboration with the Students’ Guild, select aspects of teaching and learning that are of concern to them, develop a research question, and plan their own methods of data collection. Research methodologies have included focus groups, informal interviews and questionnaire surveys. Projects have now involved students in almost all subject areas from across all three of the University’s campuses, and have investigated topics such as responding to assessment and feedback, seminar provision, personal and peer-tutoring, employability, technology and academic writing. Outcomes have included research reports and student-led conferences, as well as students running writing skills sessions, a buddy system, and peer-tutoring; students have also produced study guides on what to expect from high quality seminars and on academic writing skills. Overall, many hundreds of students will have participated in the various projects and will be gaining from the outcomes.
    However, the projects - though influencing provision for students - are about improvement and enhancement rather than about deep-rooted and fundamental change in the culture of the institution. This session will provide an overview of the initiative and the ways in which the University is working to embed students as change agents into the broader student engagement agenda.

    At 2:00pm to 2:30pm, Thursday 9th June

  • Parallel Session B

    by John Bradley, Maura Murphy, Janice Crausaz, Aine Carey, Patrick Purcell, Elaine Ward, Liam Boyle, Lynne Marsh, Niamh McGoldrick, Barry Fitzgerald, Rabia Malik, Catherine Lowry-O'Neill, Ellen Fowler, Barry Ryan, Anne O'Keeffe, Rabia Malik, Pauline Joyce, Ann Heelan, Fiona Faulkner, Paul Coughlan, Yseult Freeney and Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir

    Five sessions in parallel
    Students as co-creators of knowledge
    1: Collaboratively designing a module with students as co-researchers; Janice Crausaz, Gill Chard and Eileen Savage, University College Cork
    2: Be afraid, be very afraid: anxiety as an essential element of engaging the minds of learners; Catherine Lowry-O’Neill, Waterford Institute of Technology
    3: A report on a problem based teaching intervention for at-risk service mathematics students at the University of Limerick; Fiona Faulkner, Olivia Gill and Ailish Hannigan, University of Limerick

    Civic engagement and social responsibility
    WORKSHOP: When Learners are the Community: Implications for Pedagogy, Research and Engagement; Elaine Ward, Dublin Institute of Technology

    Engaging Large Classes
    1: Engaging and Challenging Students in Large Science Class; Mike Casey, University College Dublin
    2: Capturing chemical creativity; Niamh McGoldrick, Bartosz Marzec, Noelle Scully and Sylvia M. Draper, Trinity College Dublin
    3: Some examples of innovative practices at UCD for engaging large classes; Patrick J. Purcell, Hilda Loughran and John Dunnion, University College Dublin
    4: The rules of engagement, enlightenment and entertainment: using business presentation models and techniques in an academic teaching environment; Aine Carey, University College Dublin, and Niamh O’Sullivan, Irish Blood Transfusion Service
    5: The role of student engagement in academic performance and commitment to college; Yseult Freeney and Martin Fellenz, Trinity College Dublin
    6: Ask the Audience: Clickers in the Classroom; Barry Ryan and Julie Dunne, Dublin Institute of Technology

    Technology Enhanced Learning
    1: Leveraging Expertise in Distance Learning to Enhance Education for Ireland’s Post-Experience Learners; Ellen Fowler, University of Limerick
    2: Performance Nutrition Game; John Bradley, Tom Hill, Sabin Tabirca and Yin Jie Chen, University College Cork
    3: Show me the learning – re-usable learning objects as an active learning experience and resource; Lynne Marsh, Marian McCarthy, Maria Caples, Caroline Dalton, University College Cork, and Richard Windle and Helen Laverty, University of Nottingham

    Pecha Kucha Presentations
    1: Smitten with Synch? Just say no; Liam Boyle, Limerick Institute of Technology
    2:The Innovation Academy: engaging doctoral students through active learning, participation and collaboration; Paul Coughlan and Ruth Kearney, Trinity College Dublin, and Suzi Jarvis and Francis Mitchell, University College Dublin
    3: Managing students who use a range of assisstive technology; Ann Heelan, AHEAD
    4: Peer assessment of active teaching and learning; Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir, National University of Ireland, Galway
    5: Action Learning: a process which supports organisational change initiatives; Pauline Joyce, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
    6: Teaching of Human Anatomy without using human cadavers: Co-Creation of knowledge of Human Anatomy through Role Play; Rabia Malik, Katie Robinson and Amanda M. Clifford, University of Limerick
    7: Interaction as practice: Investigating the co-creation of knowledge through questioning techniques; Anne O’Keeffe and Elaine Vaughan, University of Limerick
    8: UL's first seven weeks initiative: exploring the initiation of an adjustment strategy for new students at the University of Limerick; Maura Murphy and Sarah Moore, University of Limerick
    9: PeerWise: A Tool Enabling Student Generated Content in Undergraduate Physics; Barry Fitzgerald, Jennifer Johnston and George McClelland, University of Limerick

    At 2:30pm to 4:00pm, Thursday 9th June

  • Keynote 4: Students as Producer – Reinventing the Undergraduate Curriculum

    by Mike Neary

    Student as Producer is the organising principle for teaching and learning at the University of Lincoln in the UK. Student as Producer is an attempt to deal with the dysfunctional relationship between research and teaching that lies at the core of Higher Education. It does this by regarding undergraduate students as being part of the academic project of the university. The talk will present the history of Student as Producer, making links with Humboldt’s vision for the University of Berlin in 1811, and with the radical student protests of 1968. Student as Producer’s claim to radicality will be supported by reference to the critical social theory on which it is based. The talk will also demonstrate the very practical ways in which Student as Producer is being made to work across the University of Lincoln, through its quality assurance and enhancement structures, its marketing and publicity, its events and conferences, its online and web based presence, its publications and its involvement with students and with other universities.

    At 4:30pm to 5:10pm, Thursday 9th June

Friday 10th June 2011

  • Keynote 5: Higher Education as epistemic apprenticeship

    by Guy Claxton

    Conventionally, Higher Education is seen as a process of knowledge transmission and domain-specific skill generation. But it can also be seen as a more general epistemic apprenticeship, socialising young adults into particular ways of looking at learning, particular identities as learners, particular views of knowledge, and as exercising the development of particular habits of mind. As career stability reduces, so the idea that Higher Education should attend to cultivating epistemic identities and mentalities that are as broad and valid, in the 21st century, as possible, is gaining ground. For example, the development of imagination and intuition are often neglected, or even disdained, in Higher Education, yet they are crucial in professional and real-world problem-solving. Only with a coherent and comprehensive view of what 'real-world learning' involves can each discipline consider how it might adapt its pedagogy so that aim can be met. Sometimes universities mistake the specialised 'craft of scholarship' for general intelligence, and this can distract them from the difficult but worthwhile task of unearthing and adapting their existing epistemic assumptions.

    At 9:30am to 10:15am, Friday 10th June

  • Parallel Session C

    by Anne Wayne, Siobhán O'Sullivan, Feilim O'hAdhmaill, Amanda Gibney, Kate McCarthy, Rhonda Wynne, Kay Sambell, Patrick Buckley, Phil O'Leary, Damian Gordon, Etain Kiely, Deirdre O'Loughlin, Doris Devilly, Laurence Cuffe, Patricia Kieran, Eilish McLoughlin, Mark Dyer, Adrienne Gorman, Maeve Bent and Bettie Higgs

    Six sessions in parallel
    Students as co-creators of knowledge
    1: In-at-the-deep-end: graduate teaching assistants as role models in the university; Bettie Higgs, James Cronin, Marian McCarthy and Jacinta McKeown, University College Cork
    2: Embracing the Hunt Report; engaging learners as co-creators of knowledge; Etain Kiely, Mia Mitchell and Blaithin McGrath, Institute of Technology, Sligo
    3: Engineering Design in Practice: Shelters for the Homeless; Mark Dyer and Thomas Grey, Trinity College Dublin

    Civic engagement and social responsibility
    1: Participatory research as a teaching and learning tool for voluntary sector management students; Feilim O’hAdhmaill, University College Cork
    2: Engaging Students in Effective Learning and Social Responsibility through Live Projects; Deirdre O’Loughlin, University of Limerick
    3: The Civic Learning Conundrum; Rhonda Wynne, University College Dublin
    4: Class Acts: Introducing Forum Theatre; Kate McCarthy, Waterford Institute of Technology

    First Year Experience
    1: Student Leadership as an engine for personal and academic engagement; Eilish McLoughlin, O. Finlayson and P. Murphy, Dublin City University
    2: Developing creative potential using an active-learinig experience; Amanda Gibney, University College Dublin
    3: Developing first years' pedagogic and assessment literacy via transformational learning cultures; Kay Sambell and Linda Graham, Northumbria University

    Engaging Large Classes
    WORKSHOP: Overcoming the challenges of participatory classrooms; Anne Wayne, Waterford Institute of Technology

    Technology Enhanced Learning
    1: Effective use of e-portfolios as a measurement of the Learning Journey in Undergraduate and Graduate Education; Siobhán O’Sullivan and Hugh McGlynn, Cork Institute of Technology
    2: Travelling the Digital Highways: Creating a Students' Wiki for the Year Abroad in Germany; Doris Devilly, National University of Ireland, Galway
    3: A Story of Online, Multimedia Learning Design; Mary Loftus, National University of Ireland, Galway

    Pecha Kucha Presentations
    1: Trailmeme, taking the web for a walk; Laurence Cuffe, Wicklow VEC
    2: Articulating the knowledge- exploring the learner’s experience of organising an experiential learning case for assessment; Phil O’Leary, Cork Institute of Technology
    3: Foundations for sUCCess: UCC PLUS+ Orientation; Maeve Bent, University College Cork
    4: Using Prediction Markets as Pedagogical Tools; Patrick Buckley, Fergal McGrath and John Garvey, University of Limerick
    5: Investigating paired teaching on a collaboratively designed module;
    Damian Gordon and Muireann O’Keeffe, Dublin Institute of Technology
    6: Posters as student engagement approach in first year science; Adrienne Gorman, Muriel Grenon, James Brown, Helen Dodson and Andrew Flaus, National University of Ireland, Galway
    7: Embedding Peer-Assisted Tutoring in a Chemical Engineering Curriculum: Tutor and Tutee Experiences; Patricia Kieran, Dermot Malone and Geraldine O’Neill, University College Dublin

    At 10:15am to 11:30am, Friday 10th June

  • Keynote 6: Student voices, student lives: a reality check on engagement

    by Paul Kleiman

    Student Engagement has become a 'must do, must account for' feature of higher education, and it has become inextricably linked with the consumerist, customer-focused ethos that is now prevalent in higher education. As the burden of the cost of higher education shifts increasingly from the state to the student there are escalating tensions and strains in the relationship between students, institutions, and those who provide and support learning and teaching.
    This presentation offers a critique of some of the issues around student engagement. In particular, it describes the outcomes of ENGAGE!, an intensive two-day ‘away-day’ for 30 student representatives that was organised by the UK’s Higher Education Academy Subject Centres for Archaeology and Classics, Materials Science, and Performing Arts in partnership with the National Union of Students. ENGAGE! explored the perceptions, practices and policies of student engagement within and across a range of disciplines and institutions. It demonstrated that the 'student as consumer' label fails in many respects to describe the complex motivations and experiences that students have with respect to higher education. Students themselves tend to resent and reject the ‘consumer’ label, particularly in regard to the pedagogic aspects of their higher education experience, preferring notions of partnership or participation in which their learning experiences are ‘done with’ rather than ‘done to’ them.

    At 11:50am to 12:35pm, Friday 10th June