2007: Active Learning Through Enquiry
17th May 2007 - Sandy Park, Exeter
This day-conference built on the previous year’s successful conference on improving student learning in a research-intensive environment. As before, it focussed both on teaching and learning and was experiential and participative in nature.
The theme of the conference was ‘active learning through enquiry’. In particular the conference speakers addressed:
- The nature of active learning and enquiry in higher education
- The kinds of facilitative environments that might best support effective student learning,
- The concept of students as active learners and as people who will need to deal with an ever-increasing complexity in their lives beyond higher education, including in the workplace.
Norman Jackson is Professor and Director of the Surrey Centre for Excellence in Professional Education and Training* (SCEPTrE). He has a long and prominent career in higher education, having held senior positions in the HE Quality Council and QAA, the Learning & Teaching Support Network Generic Centre and more recently the Higher Education Academy. He has led UK-wide programmes of research and development work on the curriculum and recording students’ achievement, has facilitated the UK-wide Quality Enhancement and Institutional Research networks and was Director of the HE Academy / Leadership Foundation ‘ Change Academy’. His most recent publication is ‘Developing Creativity in Higher Education - An Imaginative Curriculum’.
* The Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETLs) are a network of seventy Centres in Universities across England, set up by the Government to reward excellent practice in higher education teaching and learning.
Richard Seel is principal of New Paradigm Consulting and has experience as an organisation consultant across a wide range of sectors, both commercial and not-for-profit. The many organisations he has worked with include University of Sheffield, London South Bank University, Shell, BP/Mobil, Addenbrookes Hospital, Suffolk County Council, Tearfund and the Higher Education Academy. Prior to this, he was a former manager, programme maker and internal consultant with the BBC and he has a background in physics and mathematics. He is an ordained minister in the Church of England, has frequently appeared on television and radio and is also a freelance writer and magazine editor. He has a particular interest in emergence and complex change and the role of inquiry in enabling emergence. Richard has written on a range of subjects, from parenting to counselling and from computing to organisation development.
Bill Hutchings taught English Literature at the University of Manchester before being appointed Director of Manchester’s Centre for Excellence in Enquiry-Based Learning in 2005. His special area was the eighteenth century, and he has published on many authors, including William Cowper, Thomas Gray and James Thomson. He was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2000, his project being to research the applicability of Problem-Based Learning to Literary Studies. As a result of this project, he implemented Problem-Based Learning in courses on Samuel Johnson, Eighteenth-Century Poetry and Jane Austen. He believes that student-centred learning is consistent with the essential creativity of reading and understanding literature. He remains committed to literary studies, and regularly lectures on Jane Austen to branches of the Jane Austen Society.
John Bligh is Vice Dean, Professor of Clinical Education and Director of the Institute of Clinical Education at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry. After training as a family doctor and practising in Chester in the north west of England he joined the University of Liverpool, firstly as senior lecturer of medical education to establish a Medical Education Unit, and later as professor of medical education and head of the department of health care education. John was one of the foundation staff of the Peninsula Medical School and lead on curriculum design and quality assurance. He has extensive international experience of curriculum modernisation at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and has published widely on aspects of medical education. John was the editor of Medical Education from 1997 to 2005.