Communities of Learning

06 May 2010 - 07 May 2010
Location: Leeds

This year the SEDA Conference will explore and debate the issues around communities of learning. In doing so it will touch upon some key topics in staff and educational development and learning and teaching with regard to the need to nurture communities, reflection on existing communities and how to respond in an ever changing world to the multifarious demands on academics in HE and FE. What is the nature of the communities that we are wishing to create and support? What are the tensions inherent in fostering such communities? What is the nature of existing communities? How can we engage different communities?

Conference Themes The conference will seek to address the following themes:

  • Building communities through teaching, learning and assessment
  • Building communities through scholarship and research
  • Reaching outside the university
  • Supporting the student experience through communities of learning
  • Sharing community stories
  • Understanding communities of learning in higher education
  • How to manage conflicting communities of learning

Keynote AddressesThis year there will be three keynote addresses delivered by Etienne Wenger, Aaron Porter and James Wisdom.Etienne Wenger is a globally recognised thought leader in the field of communities of practice and their application to organisations. His keynote address is entitled: Learning in landscapes of practice: knowlegeability and identity. He will also present a summary at the end of the first day entitled: It’s been a hard day’s night: an interactive reflection.Aaron Porter, Vice President (Higher Education) National Union of Students. His keynote address is entitled: The Importance of the Learner Voice in 21st Century Higher Education – Promoting an Academic Community.Professor James Wisdom, Independent Consultant. His keynote address is entitled: Politicians, civil servants, vice chancellors, lecturers and students: implications of ‘boundary encounters’ for educational developers.

The SEDA Conference Experience SEDA prides itself on creating a relaxed, welcoming and positive atmosphere at conferences, which encourages open, constructive and supportive sharing of ideas, experience and practice.  Feedback from participants at recent SEDA conferences:

  • “Every session I attended was enjoyable and interesting. I learned a lot from facilitators and participants”
  • “A very enjoyable conference. As a first timer to SEDA I found it to be an environment that positively encouraged discussion and sharing of views and ideas at all levels”
  • “Great opportunity to network and keep up to date with current issues”

ParticipantsThe conference will be of particular interest to all those involved in promoting communities of learning in HE and FE learning, teaching and development. This includes:

  • Educational and staff developers
  • Lecturers and teachers in further and higher education
  • National and institutional teaching fellows
  • Centre for Excellence staff
  • Managers of academic departments
  • Educational technologists
  • Quality assurance and enhancement policy makers

Conference VenueThe conference will take place in Leeds at the 4 star Park Plaza Hotel, a modern and stylish hotel, which is perfectly located opposite the train station. Nearby are the main shopping, entertainment and cultural areas. All residential delegates will be accommodated on site in en suite bedrooms which include internet access.

Call for Contributions

The call for contributions is now closed

You are invited to contribute to the SEDA Spring Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference 2010 by leading a discussion, running a workshop or presenting a poster on an aspect of your work. This could be developmental activities or research or evaluation that informs practice. This year we are exploring teaching and learning through themes linked to communities of learning.

Session Format

We welcome proposals which address the conference themes through:

  • Evaluative reports of initiatives created in response to an aim to develop communities of learning
  • Exploring or critiquing research which examines communities of practice concerning teaching and learning
  • Reflecting upon attempts and opportunities to develop communities of learning
  • Exploring the tensions and challenges in creating communities of learning

The sessions enable reflection, exploration and evaluation of activities rather than merely describing what is happening. It is also a long-standing tradition at SEDA conferences to hold sessions which involve delegates in active participation and discussion, and consequently this is a key requirement of all proposals.

We are designing the programme around interactive sessions (either 45 or 90 minutes) and posters:

Interactive sessions: sessions may include sharing research/evaluation approaches and findings, or policy or practice. The emphasis however is upon the participants being active in the sessions and being able to share and discuss how the information being shared may be appropriate to their own practice and institution. With this is mind the session should be planned so there is approximately 50% of the time spent on participant activity and discussion.

You are welcome to present a paper which describes your research, however in this case we expect you to bring sufficient copies of the completed paper for the expected number of participants in your session (you will be advised a week or so before the conference of the number that have signed up for your session by then) and to make the paper available electronically after the conference. This may be a paper that has already been published, or one that you hope to publish in the future.

Posters: these enable you to share information about your research, evaluation, policy or practice visually. The poster should provide a stand-alone description of a topic, and/or a focus for a short discussion on the topic with a small number of people in the conference’s poster session. It is a good opportunity to share work that it is in progress rather than something where results or developments are finalised so you can gain peer feedback.

The poster should be A1 size. There should be a clear title and background to the work with a description of the approach to the work or development being discussed.  Any results /implications or follow up work should also be included. The use of a combination of pictures, graphics and text is encouraged to ensure that the messages are clear and succinct.

We reserve the right to group some 45 minute proposals into themed, chaired, 90 minute sessions.

Submitting your proposal

Proposals should be submitted using the proposal form. . All proposals should be submitted

electronically to SEDA at by

Friday 25th September 2009.

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.

Criteria for acceptance of proposals

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

  • Relevance to the conference title and themes
  • Clarity and coherence of the proposal
  • Evidence of active engagement with the participants in the sessions, and the opportunity to reflect upon transferability to participants’ own practice
  • Reflection and evaluation of ideas around the future of educational development, locally, institutionally, theoretically and nationally and internationally
  • Contribution to scholarship and evaluation of educational development in further and higher education
  • Evidence of references to support the session
  • Completion of all sections of the proposal form


  • Full residential conference delegate (includes one night’s accommodation and all meals, including conference dinner)   £419
  • Non residential day delegate Thursday 6th May (includes lunch and refreshments)   £140
  • Non residential day delegate Friday 7th May (includes lunch and refreshments)   £140
  • Bed and breakfast accommodation for the night of Wednesday 5th May   £90
  • Conference dinner Thursday 6th May   £35

Bookings received after Monday 5th April 2010 will incur a 15% administration fee

Conference Programme

Day 1: Thursday 6th May

09.00 – 09.30 Registration and Coffee

09.30 – 10.00 Welcome and Introductions

10.00 – 11.00 Keynote address: Learning in landscapes of practice: knowledgeability and identity Etienne Wenger

11.00 – 11.30 Break

11.30 – 13.00 Parallel Session 1

1. Developing research communities through writing and publication Yvon Appleby, Ruth Pilkington and Alison Barton

2. Supporting diverse communities of practice across an HE in FE network Mark Stone and Harriet Dismore

3. Mentors and early career teachers: communities and identities Fran BeatonandMentoring – what’s in it for me? Rachel Boulter and Diana Eastcott

4. Learning literacies for a digital age Helen Beetham and Lou McGill

5. The tie that binds: joining disciplinary and interdisciplinary communities of learning Caprice Lantz and Nigel Purcell

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch

14.00 – 14.45 Parallel Session 2

6. Unlearning to create a community of learningPatrick Bradbery

7. What do you mean by the term ‘communities of learning’? A hands-on introduction to using philosophical tools to improve your practice Lindsay Davies

8. What works in building a learning community? Peter Lumsden

9. Developing staff communities to create online student communities Pat Atkins and Charlotte Stevens

10. Building engagement online in distance learning courses Caroline Coles

11. Using reciprocal peer coaching to engage students as communities of learners Mandy Asghar

14.55 – 15.40 Parallel Session 3

12. Reflections on developing a community of practice with post-graduate students using web blogs Helen Boulton and Alison Hramiak

13. The use of Web2.0 technology (blogging) toform a community of practice for Asperger syndrome and neuro-typical students; to provide friendship, support and formative assessment, whilst undertaking their undergraduate dissertation proposal Joanne Bowman and William Scaife

14. Stand up and talk:repositioning the ‘act’ of teaching in ‘teacher communities’ Oliver Bray

15.What students tell us about what influences their engagement with communities within HE Colin Bryson and Christine Hardy

16. It’s a family affair? Factors involved in developing positive partnerships between higher education institutions in a global context Ali Cooper and Tony Luxon   View slides   View handout

15.45 – 16.30 Parallel Session 4

17. Learning better together: developing an across the years student-centred learning community Svetlana Clark and Anna Sidorovitch

18. Developing learner development Mike Mortimer

19. Developing a cross-disiplinary community of learning within a professional doctorate programme Peter Smith, Caroline Walker-Gleaves and John Fulton

20. Developing a community of learning for embedding employer engagement Angela Srivastava

21.A writing retreat as a community of learning Barbara Dexter and Sandy Copy

16.30 – 16.45 Break

16.45 – 17.45 Summary of the day: It’s been a hard day’s night: an interactive reflection Etienne Wenger

19.00 Drinks reception at Leeds Metropolitan University

20.30 Dinner at the Park Plaza Hotel

Day 2: Friday 7th May

08.15 – 08.45 Breakfast Session for People New to SEDA

09.00 – 09.45 Keynote address: The Importance of the Learner Voice in 21st Century Higher Education Promoting an Academic Community Aaron Porter

09.50 – 11.20 Parallel Session 5

22. Open sharing for learning communities Lou McGill and Helen Beetham

23. The CAMEL trail (collaborative approaches to managing emerging lessons) Pam Parker, Susannah Quinsee, Amyas Phillips, Harriet Truscott, Andy Lloyd, Claire Eustance, Georgina Slade, Clifton Kandler, Rebecca Freeman,Paul Bartholomew and Stephen Brown

24. Mapping a new way of learning and experiencing research Petia Petrova

25. Exploring the tensions and challenges in creating a community researching our practice Norrie Brown, Sandra Cairncross, Monica Foster, Mark Huxham and Karen Thomson

26. Digital identity in online learning communities Shirley Williams

11.20 – 11.35 Break

11.35 – 12.20 Parallel Session 6

27. Chain reaction: building a community of work based learning through e-portfolio development Elizabeth Symonds and Huw Richards

28. ‘Ask the expert’ webinars as a best practice model for engaging members in an online community of practicefor developing e-learning practitioners Helen Walmsley

29. Out-duction: understanding the final year experience Marion Webb

30. Demystifying assessment criteria to enhance students’ understanding and achievement in higher education Liane Purnell

31. Creating communities of learning through peer mentoring Claire Griffin and Suzanne Flannery Quinn

12.20 – 14.00 Lunch, and opportunities to network informally, view posters and visit displays

13.15 – 14.00 SEDA AGM

14.00 – 14.45 Parallel Session 7

32. Group projects: developing students in learning communities Andrew Johnstone and Charles Neame

33. After the postgraduate certificate (PGC): the legacy of PGC peer learning on lecturers’ conceptions of professional learning communities Martyn Stewart

34. Sitting on the fence might give you splinters in your community of practice Phil Carey

35. How do visiting tutors learn what to do? Elspeth McLean

36. Mind the gap: using technology to promote teacher immediacy and build a learning community Claire Milsom, Jim Turner and Carol Maynard

14.45 – 15.00 Break

15.00 – 16.00 Keynote address : Politicians, civil servants, vice-chancellors, lecturers and students: implications of ‘boundary encounters’ for educational developers Professor James Wisdom   View slides

Tea and Depart