Vice-Chancellor's 14th Annual Teaching and Learning Conference
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    Plymouth University

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Plymouth University is holding its 14th Vice-Chancellor's Teaching and Learning Conference in 2016. 

This year the event is taking place over two days with day one focusing on digital learning followed by the broad ranging themes of teaching and learning taking place on day two. 

The conference will present high-quality papers, interactive workshops and poster displays showcasing the research of leading academics and practitioners in teaching and learning.  

Registration information

Registration form for both conferences: SurveyMonkey booking form (you can choose to attend one or both days).

Please note that this event is available to book online through SurveyMonkey. SurveyMonkey is a third-party data capture tool which is not owned or managed by Plymouth University. Information about how your data is treated can be found onSurveyMonkey’s Privacy Policy webpage.

If you wish to attend this event but do not wish to use SurveyMonkey to book your place, please contact

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Today's events

Digital Learning: Technology, Practice and Policy (29 June 2016)

Day one focused on sharing best practice in digital learning and involve delegates in future decision making, especially in a time of limited resources. 

This event enabled key stakeholders to discuss digital learning, horizon scan and learn and share best practice that will inform policy.

Key themes:

  • art of the possible
  • student expectations
  • alignment of learning - Flipped Classroom
  • strategic opportunities / staff and student ideas
  • policy.
Keynote speakers:
  • Lawrie Phipps Senior, Co-design Manager, JISC 'Perspectives on Digital: Change isn’t coming, it’s here and it’s permanent'
  • David White Head of Technology Enhanced Learning, University of the Arts London 'Becoming Vulnerable: teaching and learning in digital spaces'

Podcasts, vodcasts and powerpoints from this conference are available.

Teaching and Learning: Enhancing the student experience (30 June 2016)

Day two presented high-quality papers, interactive workshops and poster displays showcasing the research of leading academics and practitioners in teaching and learning, covering a broad range of key themes:

  • assessment
  • effective Learning
  • curriculum design 
  • student support and transition 
  • personal tutoring 
  • student voice. 
Keynote speakers:
  • Professor Judith Petts, Vice-Chancellor, Plymouth University 'The Challenge for Student Education and the Student Experience at the University of Plymouth'

  • Associate Professor Dr Suanne Gibson, Plymouth University 'When rights are not enough: what is? - The need for 'politicised' compassion in the quest for social justice'

Keynote abstract (Day 2: Teaching and Learning conference): "When rights are not enough: what is? - The need for 'politicised' compassion in the quest for social justice"

Associate Professor Dr Suanne Gibson, Plymouth University

‘Widening participation’, ‘inclusive pedagogy’, ‘access’, ‘diversity’, ‘raising aspirations’, are widely-occurring policy terms and academic discourses within the international education community. They are drawn on when referring to, or engaging with, questions of social justice and equality within and across international university institutions. What translates into practise is known to be problematic, in many cases unsuccessful, and can reflect misinterpreted notions of inclusion. 

In the past 20 years the world of HE in the UK has experienced many changes, not least those linked to the ubiquitous term: ‘inclusion’. My paper will historically locate this expression, reflecting on why it became such a popular reference in the world of education. Its growth in use, as partly linked to policy’s misuse, its colonisation and various revisioned forms will be articulated. Stemming from the critical disability studies field, a critique of ‘inclusive’ teaching toolboxes or ‘almanacs’ will be made alongside an invitation to re-consider previously held views that the connected discourse of wider access to university is steeped in socially just values. 

I suggest a more contemporary definition of inclusion is needed: ‘a community of diversity becoming a community of equals’. I also argue educators, as learners and with learners, need to become politicised. Universities and education institutions, need to reflect on what they see as their core, their rationale, who it is they are working for. It is in relation to such matters that the question of ‘compassion’ - for both students and faculty – needs to be addressed.

We are living in changing and challenging times, even more so if we openly connect ourselves and our work to that of ‘social justice’. If that is your stance then your journey 

is and will be a political one, a difficult one of conflicts and divisions yet also rich in connections and relationships. Giroux (2003, 11) argues any form of education intent on addressing social justice is both ‘a moral and political practice’. The work of Ahmed (2012) moves this on, suggesting such practices involve pushing against the flow of institutionalised, top down misinterpreted forms of inclusive thinking and/or practice.

In my view, a fresh political discourse for inclusion is needed, one that enables HE stakeholders to reflect on and re-consider how ‘other’ is constructed, the problematics of a ‘diverse’ and ‘normal’ binary and the way in which these terms become manifest in our work alongside the impact they have. Published research will be drawn on throughout and the paper will end asserting ‘Inclusion’ is about ‘a community of diversity becoming a community of equals’ as opposed to the current scenario- ‘a community of diversity which reinforces a community of division, of haves and have nots, in the name of ‘wider access’- a ‘just imaginary’ for social inclusion’ (Gale and Hodge 2014).

The presentation will entail some group activity and reflective exercises as well as the traditional lecture. Delegates will be encouraged to critically consider their own work and to reflect on their experiences and insights as they emerge in response to the paper, specifically what they think the outcomes of diversity practices or inclusion policy has been in their work place. We will explore what needs to change along with giving input on the issue of what voices will be valued in this process. We will also spend time thinking about ‘power' and ‘identity' and how these become manifest and impact on our work as educators with the aim that those attending will have something of substance to take back to their centres of learning and places of work.

Three main goals:

  • Delegates to make connections with others. 
  • To challenge previously considered views of inclusion.
  • To add to the group’s academic knowledge base and practical work in Inclusion.

Event photography and video
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