Inspiring Learning: diversity and excellence

12 May 2005 - 13 May 2005
Location: Belfast

In any lecturing, teaching, training or facilitating we do, our ultimate aim is to inspire learning. The focus of the SEDA Spring Conference is on what this entails. Is there one identifiable, excellent way of inspiring learning; whoever the learners might be, whatever the setting, or whatever is being learnt? Or might it be that diverse learners, settings and learning require diverse approaches, methods and motivations? Is the identification and promotion of specific teaching excellence ill-founded if every different context requires diverse means to inspire learning? How can we maintain and promote diverse ways of inspiring learning? These are taxing yet vital questions in an environment of burgeoning projects, nationally and internationally, aimed at delivering excellence in learning and teaching.

Conference Themes

  • Relating inspiration and excellence in promoting learning
  • Motivating effective learning
  • Inspiring diverse learners: institutions, staff and students as learners
  • Developing learning communities
  • Supporting diverse approaches to delivering excellence
  • Inspirational e-learning, curriculum design, assessment, and learning and teaching methods
  • Evaluating excellence in learning and teaching
  • Exploration of the possible tensions between excellence and diversity

The SEDA Conference ExperienceSEDA pride themselves on creating a relaxed, welcoming and positive atmosphere at conferences, which encourages open, constructive and supportive sharing of ideas, experience and practice.

VenueThe conference is to be held at a new venue, the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast, with additional accommodation at the Malone Lodge. All bedrooms in both hotels are en-suite. The conference dinner will be held in the Great Hall of Queen’s University. SEDA have also arranged for accommodation to be available to speakers and delegates after the conference in order to explore the area at their leisure.  

ParticipantsThe conference will be of particular interest to all those involved in the inspiration of learning and various initiatives to promote or disseminate excellence in HE provision [in HE or FE], in fact, anyone who has a commitment to enhancing the quality of Higher Education. This includes :

  • Lecturers and teachers in further and higher education          
  • National and institutional teaching fellows
  • Higher Education Academy staff
  • Centre of Excellence and FDTL staff
  • Project workers in Widening Participation, Partnerships for Progression, Employability, Action on Access, etc.
  • Educational and staff developers
  • Managers of academic departments      
  • Educational technologists
  • Policy makers

Conference Programme

Day 1, Thursday 12th May 2005 (click here for day 2)

Click on title to view abstract (Word docs):



9.30 – 10.30am


Registration, refreshments and discussion group ice-breaker


Welcome and Introductions:

John Peters – Chair, SEDA Conference committee Sandra Griffiths – Chair, AISHE

10.45 – 12.00am

Opening Plenary and discussion group work:

Peter Hartley – University of Bradford

Desmond Hunter – University of Ulster

Beverley Milton-Edwards – Queen’s University

12.15 – 1.00pm


Parallel Session 1

1. From classroom to e-learning and back again Ruth Barrett

2. The role of engagement in inspiring teaching and learningColin Bryson and Len Hand

3. Diverse approaches to developing transferable skills in academic coursesRhona Sherry, Fiona Gallagher and Juliette Péchenart

4. Foundation degrees: learning for all?Maggie Challis

5. You will need: spare cushions, caffeine tablets and a cast-iron bladder – why are induction programmes such endurance events?Ed Foster

6. ‘That’s good, but it won’t work in our Department…’ Diverse Approaches: how to involve your Institution and be asked back.Anna Gannon and Miranda Carr

7. Enhancing Pedagogical Practice removing Student barriers to LearningJoanne Smailes

12.45 – 2.00pm


LUNCH (to include AISHE book launch)

2.00 – 3.00pm


Workshop Session 1

8. Symposium – Student e-learningTony Churchill, Alan Masson and Vicky Davies, Norah Jones and Michael Connolly( details to follow)

9. Symposium – Personal Development PlanningKay Hutchfield, S Paurelle , A Jarman, K Worden and E Hurt, Kathy Monks, Edel Conway, Muireann Ni Dhuigneain and David Meehan, Tracy Johnson

10. ‘Off-Piste’ educational development: tackling the black runs in fostering a development communityRanald Macdonald, Sue Thompson and Shân Wareing

11. Conversation, Motivation, Inspiration: Engagement with learning with first year studentsRuth Pickford and Sally Brown

12. Inspired by Strategy? Diverse experience among local learning and teaching leadersDavid Hodgson, Deborah Anderson, Carol Gartrell, Stuart Marks, Libby Rothwell, Neil Thomas, Marion Webb

13. Squaring the Circle: using images to inspire Excellence across diverse communities of learnersJenny Ure, Gudrun Jaegersberg, and Ashley Lloyd

3.30 – 4.00pm


4.00 – 4.45pm

Parallel Session 2

14. Blogging in EducationLejla Rovcanin

15. The Cognitive Learning Strategies for Students (CLaSS) FDTL 4 Project: how students benefit?Rachel Lever

16. The Case for the Defense Rests…Tony Brand and John Sweet

17. Rural Settings: Highly Motivating for Students and their TeachersOlive Yonge, Florence Myrick, Linda Ferguson and Florence Luhgana

18. Inspiring Care and Rigour by the use of confidence-based marking.Tony Gardner-Medwin

19. Teacher Authenticity and a passion for ‘wonder’Gloria Gordon

20. Supporting curriculum revision: the views and practices of educational developers in IrelandGeraldine O’Neill

5.00 – 6.00pm

Keynote: Saranne Magennis, AISHE

6.00 – 6.30pm

Book group


Reception – Great Hall, Queen’s University