19th Annual SEDA Conference

Opportunities and challenges for academic development in a post-digital age

13 November 2014 - 14 November 2014

Location: NCTL Learning and Conference Centre, Nottingham


In the last few years, we have seen significant change in both the technologies available to staff and students in further and higher education (e.g. the growth of tablets) and their applications (e.g. the arguments over the educational value and significance of VLEs and MOOCs). This conference will focus on both challenges and opportunities created by this rapid change, covering themes and questions which are relevant to everyone involved in educational development at module, course, faculty and institutional level:

  • At the last SEDA conference on new technologies in 2011, we heard that e-learning should be regarded by educational developers as “the way learning should be understood – and supported – in a context saturated with digital technologies.” (from the keynote by Helen Beetham). Have we responded effectively to that challenge?
  • What are the most promising ways of incorporating new technologies? As well as major national initiatives from JISC and HEA, other professional bodies in higher education have experimented with new approaches (e.g. the ocTEL MOOC from ALT and work by ALDinHE on software such as Wordpress). Teams of academics and educational developers increasingly employ open educational practices. Recent course examples involving SEDA members include BYOD4L (Bring your own device for learning), the third iteration of FDOL (Flexible, Distance and Online Learning) - both of which sit uncomfortably with the term MOOC – and Global Dimensions in HE (links at the end of this paper).
  • Digital technologies have become ubiquitous. Our students and our colleagues are typically equipped with devices that allow them to be permanently connected and also increasingly digitally literate, in more and more cases digitally fluent. So do we still have to worry about these technologies, in terms of access or expertise? These concerns may be diminishing but how should we check the assumptions we make about our learners and their capacities/capabilities?
  • Initiatives such as the recent JISC Developing Digital Literacies programme suggest a number of important agendas for educational development. We may now be entering a post-digital age, where the technology is so prevalent that it no longer can be considered as an add-on or luxury, but as embedded. We no longer talk about library-enhanced learning, although libraries and their successors are vital tools and environments for learning. As we move further in this direction, what are the implications for educational and curriculum development in higher education? For example, a more useful focus of our development effort may be on the ways in which we can use the introduction of digital technologies as tools for analysing, critiquing and reconceptualising educational and development processes previously treated as largely unproblematic.
  • Another important trend is the increasingly ‘bottom-up’, peer-enabled nature of academic development, and in particular of uses of technology. How can developers best understand and manage the relations between top-down and bottom-up innovation?
  • The increasing overlap between various development functions in higher education requires greater co-operation and partnership between services - academic development, learning technology, student development, organisation development and others. How do we build appropriate collaborations, both within and across institutions?


  • Recent, current and likely future developments in technologies which have important implications for the thinking and the practice of educators and developers
  • Effective educational practice which embeds digital literacy and fluency in the practice of both staff and students
  • Innovative practice in educational development which takes advantage of new technologies as tools for thought and action
  • Supporting and encouraging integration and co-operation between the growing number of development functions now commonplace in HE
  • Strategies and techniques for the critical and effective embedding of new approaches which make appropriate use of technologies

Session Formats

We are particularly interested in posters and hands-on demonstrations which explore and demonstrate:

  • Innovative methods of educational development with particular emphasis on the effective and appropriate application of new technologies.
  • Ways of moving from small-scale innovation / development to integrated and embedded practice.
  • New approaches to theory and practice, and the relationships between them, in an emergent post-digital age.
  • Evaluation of technologies and their impact on learning and development.

Pecha Kucha: sessions will be on offer during the poster and demonstrations of online applications. We are inviting submissions on the theme - What does digital literacy/literacies mean to you? – Which will follow the strict rules on format and timing, namely 20 slides x 20 seconds each = 6mins 40secs.

Posters: the maximum size of a poster should be A1. Posters will be available for participants to view throughout the conference. Additionally, there will be a timetabled poster session when presenters should be available to discuss the content with conference participants. Presenters may wish to demonstrate some aspects of the poster topic on mobile devices.

Demonstrations:This session will also enable participants to demonstrate particular online applications and initiatives which reflect the main conference themes.

Criteria for acceptance of proposals

Each proposal will be reviewed for acceptance at the conference against the following criteria:

  • Active and productive engagement of participants
  • Relevance to the conference title and themes
  • Clarity and coherence of the proposal, including title
  • Contribution to scholarship and evaluation of educational development in further and higher education, reflecting on and informing the future of educational development
  • Appropriateness of session structure and specified timings in relation to session type
  • Likely value of session aims and outcomes to the participants
  • Consistency with the SEDA Values

Submitting your proposal

Proposals should be submitted electronically to SEDA at office@seda.ac.uk, using the proposal form , by Friday 11th July 2014. It is normal practice to accept only one contribution per individual so as to provide the opportunity for as many people to contribute as possible. It is a requirement that all presenters register as conference delegates either for the whole event or for the day of their session.


You can find further information on the initiatives mentioned above as follows:

ocTEL: http://octel.alt.ac.uk

ALDinHE: http://aldinheprofdev.wordpress.com

BYOD4L: http://byod4learning.wordpress.com/

FDOL: http://fdol.wordpress.com/

Global Dimensions in HE: http://globaldimensionsinhe.wordpress.com/

JISC Developing Digital Literacies Programme: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elearning/developingdigitalliteracies.aspx

HEA Digital Literacy in the Disciplines: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/digital-literacies

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