SEDA Autumn Conference 2019

New frontiers in educational and curriculum development

14 November 2019 - 15 November 2019

Location: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Leeds City Centre

Price: See booking form

The extent and pace of change in higher education (including of course the significant amount of higher education which takes place in FE) has increased dramatically over the last few years and there is no sign of this slowing down.

Many of the changes we have experienced have been initiated and/or compounded by wider changes in the social and economic context such as Brexit and increasing government interests and interventions, both directly and indirectly through agencies such as the Office for Students (OfS). Recent examples have included the debates about student fees, proposals for ‘two-year degrees’, differing opinions on the level of assistance that universities might receive if their financial position is threatened, and the data strategy from OfS with its implications for institutional data returns. There are also concerns which have been raised within HE such as the significant fall in part-time student numbers (UUK, 2018a).

By the time of this conference, some of the uncertainties about our national future may have been resolved so this conference will offer an invaluable opportunity to review and anticipate some of the most important issues – the ‘new frontiers’ – which will influence and shape curriculum and educational development over the next few years.

These broader social and economic changes have been accompanied by an unprecedented level of media and public scrutiny of higher education. Recent headlines and debates in both traditional and social media have included concerns about ‘value for money’, ‘grade inflation’, ‘the impact of unconditional offers’, ‘essay mills’, and the mental health and ‘wellbeing’ of both staff and students. This commentary typically offers critical and negative views of the HE experience which have stimulated universities and agencies to respond with counter-arguments and investigations (e.g. UUK, 2018b)

How far has this attention affected us to date and will its influence become more or less important?

In terms of new methods and approaches, there are a number of specific developments in educational practice which are being promoted as the next ‘transformation’ to enhance the student experience. Among these developments are: the increasing application of learner analytics; the growing number of institutions advocating and adopting assessment models which focus on programme rather than modular outcomes; and new norms of technology use such as the growing acceptance of lecture capture.
Within this general theme, we welcome proposals from HE and FE which analyse/demonstrate/explain the most likely ‘new frontiers’ which will shape our future over the next decade. Proposals should focus on innovation/initiatives and/or evaluation/research which reflect our theme of ‘new frontiers’ in one or more of the following areas:

·         Learner analytics and data-driven approaches to the student experience.
·         Curriculum planning and development methodologies.
·         Blended/online distance learning.
·         Maker pedagogy/culture
·         Staff-student partnerships.
·         University-employer partnerships
·         Digital capabilities and technological development.
·         Augmented reality (AR)/Virtual reality (VR)/Mixed Reality (MR)
·         Programme, module and learning design.
·         Course/programme assessment and feedback strategies.
·         Professional development for staff.
·         Curriculum leadership and staff roles.
·         Staff and student morale and ‘wellbeing’.
·         New models of curriculum delivery, such as apprenticeships.
·         Review and evaluation.
·         Professional identity.
·         Ethical issues/frameworks.

 

Sources

UUK (2018a) Lost Learners. Report from Universities UK, available at https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Pages/lost-learners.aspx

UUK (2018b) Degree classification: transparent, consistent and fair academic standards. Report from Universities UK, available at https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Pages/degree-classification.aspx

 

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