Friday, 27 March 2009

Telling e-Portfolio Stories Conference 2009: 'e-Portfolio-Based Learning'

Telling e-Portfolio Stories Conference 2009: 'e-Portfolio-Based Learning'
This year's conference aims to explore the emergent theme of e-portfolio-based learning.  We would like to share e-portfolio stories from areas such as learning, teaching, assessment, PDP, CPD, work based learning, research, strategy and policy.  As we would like to align the conference closely with the work of JISC and the e-portfolio effective practice publication, we aim to theme this year's stories into multiple perspectives:
  • Learner perspective
  • Practitioner perspective
  • Institutional perspective
  • Lifelong learning perspective
This will be held at the University of Wolverhampton on the 10 & 11 June 2009 and thanks to the additional support from JISC, we are able to offer this 2 day event for £40 per delegate. (accommodation for this event will need to booked separately - a hotel list will be available on the website)
All details regarding abstract submission and registration for this event can be found at or if you need any further information please contact Marie Gildea

Professional Development Conference for Teachers in Higher Education

The Institute for Education Policy Research at Staffordshire University is hosting a Professional Development Conference for Teachers in Higher Education at the Ashley Centre for Professional Management, Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent on 8th May 2009. Please find details in the attached document. The attendance fee is £65.00. Our equivalent professional development conferences held in past years are considered to have been a success.
The theme of this year's conference is "The pursuit of learning as a co-operative enterprise: implications for higher education" and the speakers will be Professor Miriam David, Professor Peter Hartley and Paul Orsmond. 

To book a place please complete the booking form on the attached flyer and return to  or alternatively post to: Emma Berndt, Institute for Education Policy Research, Staffordshire University, Room B357, Brindley Building, Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST4 2DF. Online bookings can be made at

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The Geography Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES) Subject Centre Assessment for Learning Conference

The Geography Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES) Subject Centre Assessment for Learning Conference – keynotes and workshops announced


Assessment is central to the educational experience of students in higher education as it provides the opportunity and motivation for the majority of their learning. However, assessment and feedback is consistently rated as the least satisfactory element of their education by students responding to the NSS (National Student Survey). The GEES disciplines have a strong track record in providing diverse, active and relevant assessment, but there are still assessment challenges that need addressing. The GEES Subject Centre Assessment for Learning Conference aims to share good practice and provide delegates with the opportunities to learn from the experiences of leading academics in the field of assessment and consider how the assessment process can be further enhanced.


We have an exciting programme and are delighted to announce the following expert keynotes and workshops:

·         Professor Sally Brown, Pro Vice Chancellor, Assessment Learning and Teaching Leeds Metropolitan University

·         Professor Margaret Price, Director of the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, ASKe (Assessment Standards Knowledge Exchange), Oxford Brookes University

·         Dr Anthony Mellor, AfL (Assessment  for Learning) CETL Associate , Geography & Environmental Management, Northumbria University.

·         Dr Derek France,  Senior Lecturer in Geography, University of Chester.


If you would like to contribute to the programme (presentations and/or posters), full details of the submission process, along with more details about the key themes of the conference and registration, can be found at


Organiser:       GEES Subject Centre

Date:               22 June 2009 (9.30am – 4.30pm)

Location:         University of Manchester Conference Centre, Fallowfield Campus, Manchester


Pedagogic Research in the Biosciences day conference - report

The Higher Education Academy Centre for Bioscience brought together about thirty academics, for the most part Bioscience specialists, who have been involved to educational research. The day turned out to be highly informative and thought provoking. Some on the hoof reflections were collated via Twitter - click this link.

March 24, 2009

from the lefthandedbiochemist blog

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Formative e-Assessment: theory, practice, patterns

The Centre for Work-based Learning and the London Knowledge Lab are presenting findings from the JISC-funded project ‘Scoping a Vision of Formative E-Assessment’ on Tuesday, April 28. The event will present our theoretical findings, case stories and design patterns, and will include keynotes by Dylan Wiliam and Diana Laurilard. The event is held at the London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, University of London, from 10.10 - 4.00. The day is free to attend but you need to register to let us know you are going to be there. Please go to to register. Please note that this event it being held at the London Knowledge Lab, 23-29 Emerald Street, London WC1N 3QS, which is a short distance from the main Institute of Education building. A programme for the day and map url are included on the registration site. If you have any queries about the day, please contact Sarah Gelcich at

The Bologna process – JISC infoNet’s helpful new resource

Senior figures from across European higher education are convening in Prague today to further discuss the Bologna process, an ongoing development that could change the face of HE, not just within the UK but across Europe. A new JISC infoNet infoKit is now available, to help clarify the implications and potential of the process, and how it could affect UK individuals and institutions.

What is the Bologna process?

The Bologna process is a voluntary initiative that aims to create a European Higher Education Area (EHEA), and to promote and strengthen this system in the face of global competition. It also concerns current strategic challenges for institutions such as internationalisation and lifelong learning. The process seeks to do this by:

  • Removing obstacles to student and academic mobility - within and outside of Europe
  • Adopting a three-cycle European HE system - at Bachelor, Masters and Doctoral level - to simplify pan-European comparisons, aided by a European Credit Transfer System and the adoption of a Diploma Supplement
  • Improving quality and ensuring HE standards at a European level
New JISC infoNet ‘infoKit’ launched

The user-friendly infoKit is a ‘one-stop shop’ that links to other specialist organisations for advice in areas such as policy (UK HE Europe Unit) and subject-specific information (Higher Education Academy subject centres). It also gathers real life experiences such as case studies on implementing the Diploma Supplement. 

Patrick Bellis of JISC infoNet explains, ‘The subject area is vast, and provided a real challenge. The use of tools such as del.ici.ous, content management and tagging may not be cutting edge, but we have used them to create an easily-navigable and extensible resource.  The structure of the Bologna infoKit also allows for linking in future development such as those relating to the Higher Education Achievement Record (HEAR) and will integrate with forthcoming materials on managing strategic activity.'

The infoKit has already caught the sector’s attention. Andy Gibbs, Napier University’s Bologna Expert, says: ‘The JISC infoNet Bologna site brings all the relevant material together and presents it in a highly readable, logical and accessible format. I will definitely use it to complement my work as a Bologna Expert.’

Whilst the infoKit is aimed at anyone with an interest in the adoption of the Bologna process, Graeme Roberts of the Higher Education Academy comments on its usefulness to academic colleagues: ‘At a time of growing engagement with the Bologna process, it's very useful to have a resource that is so specifically designed to meet the needs and interests of UK academics.’

The infoKit has been showcased at the HEFCE/Leadership Foundation Conference and will be highlighted at the Association of University Administrators Conference in Exeter from 6 to 8 April 2009.

The JISC infoNet infoKit to help navigate the Bologna process

WebsiteThe European University Association Convention in Prague from 18 to 21 March 2009     
Bologna coverage from the Times Higher Education online
Bologna coverage from the Guardian online – Question and Answer

Conference: Enabling students' voices to shape the curriculum

Conference: Enabling students' voices to shape the curriculum

 Thursday 14 May, Leeds Metropolitan University

This one day conference will provide an opportunity for participants to discuss how universities can meaningfully involve students in shaping the content and delivery of the curriculum. Contributing proactively both motivates students and enhances the curriculum. But how can we enable students to take an active role in the creation of the curriculum? And how can we encourage and equip staff to work cooperatively with students in the process?

Participants will be introduced to current work investigating the student voice in curriculum development; be able to share their own experiences in this area; can contribute relevant work in progress or tools and techniques to the  Try it out in 10 minutes! session; and will have opportunities to explore the potential of using the student voice in the development of the curriculum within their own contexts.

The day will include:

·     a presentation outlining issues and outcomes arising from the Hearing the Student Voice project investigating curriculum design and development

·     a keynote from Sally Brown, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Leeds Metropolitan University

·     parallel workshops and posters showcasing relevant activities at different institutions throughout the country

·     interactive opportunities for participants including a Try it out in 10 minutes! session and a plenary discussion session

·     a student voices panel.

For more information about the conference including the programme, venue details, how to contribute to the Try it out in 10 minutes! session and to register for the conference online, please visit the conference website at:

The event is being organised by the Hearing the Student Voice project, a collaborative project involving Edinburgh Napier University, Leeds Metropolitan University, Birmingham City University and the University of Westminster and funded by the Escalate subject centre. For further information about the project visit the Hearing the Student Voice website at


Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Reading Supersizing the Mind

Andy Clark, Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension (OUP USA, 2008).

Just started - interesting read - much more substantial than Lazoff and Johnson.

Initial thought - given the information age assumptions - the important thing to learn is how to use tools to handle information - not store it in the mind - what impact should that have on education.

Is there something like GTD here - a good scholar has an empty mind and lots of connections, students who aim to fill their minds with the knowledge are going in the opposite direction.

Monday, 16 March 2009

PBL Summer Workshop 2009

PBL Summer Workshop 2009

We are pleased to announce the 6th annual Problem Based Learning ( PBL) summer  workshop.

The workshop is run every year by academic staff from the University of Leicester. This year it is being hosted by Dundalk Institute of Technology in Ireland and delivered by the team from the University of Leicester on 13th- 15th July 2009.

The PBL summer workshop is not discipline-specific, and colleagues from the arts and social sciences will be welcomed along side those from the sciences , engineering, mathematics, IT, medical and health care fields. In recent years this event has welcomed participants from across the globe and across the disciplines which we hope this will continue this year.

For more information please see the attached flier and

Thursday, 12 March 2009

The university of utopia: Radicalising Higher Education

2nd Annual Research Conference at

The Centre for Educational Research and Development

of the University of Lincoln  
We look forward to welcoming you

Register online now at:
The university of utopia
Radicalising Higher Education 
Thursday, 4th June, 2009, EMMTEC Conference Centre,

Brayford Pool, University of Lincoln, LN6 7TS

Keynote Speakers:       Professor Ron Barnett, Institute of Education.
        “The Utopian University: Challenges and Prospects”
        Professor Antonia Darder, University of Illinois.
        “Breaking Silence: A Study into the Pervasiveness of Oppression”      
Thematic Workshops: Patrick Ainley, Joyce Canaan.
        “The Student Experience”
        Stefano Harney, Fred Moten.
        “Academic Labour”
        Cath Lambert, Mike Neary, Elisabeth Simbuerger.
        “Teaching in Public”
        Dennis Hayes, Terence Karran.
        “Academic Freedom”    
What is the Conference about?
Thomas More’s Utopia (1516) sets out, for the first time, the paradox of the modern (new) world: the possibility of abundance (freedom) in a society of scarcity (non-freedom); and the dangers that are inherent in this paradoxical situation for the development of the emergent capitalist society.

More suggests the universality of education as a way of resolving this paradox.  For the humanist More, the highest pleasures are those of the mind, and true happiness depends on their realization.  On More’s fantasy island, Utopia is a universal school for all its citizens, where all civic life is education.  Citizens attend public lectures in the morning, participate in lively discussions during meal-times, and, in the evening, receive formal supervision from scholars. (Meiksins Wood, 1997).

In 1953, with the publication of The University of Utopia, the educational philosopher Robert Hutchins extended More’s allegory to a liberal humanist reappraisal of higher education.  Anticipating the vocationalist critique of contemporary higher education, Hutchins wrote ‘The object of the educational system, taken as a whole, is not to produce hands for industry or to teach the young how to make a living. It is to produce responsible citizens’ (p.3). Hutchins’s views have been repeated and endorsed in the increasing volume of critical literature on the commercialisation of higher education.

However this critical literature has struggled to provide any convincing alternatives to ‘academic capitalism’ (Slaughter and Leslie, 1997).  This absence of any radical alternative, occurs not because of a lack of imagination, but by virtue of the nature of liberal-humanism itself.  For Zizek (2002) liberal humanism ‘precludes any serious questioning of the way in which this liberal democratic order is complicit in the phenomena it officially condemns, and, of course, any serious attempt to imagine a different socio-political order’ (167). What this amounts to, for Zizek, is ‘a prohibition on thinking… the moment we question the liberal consensus we are accused of abandoning scientific objectivity and recourse to outdated ideological positions’ (168).

The aim of this conference is to recover the freshness of More’s critique, while going beyond Hutchins's liberal fundamentalism, in order to imagine some real radical futures for higher education.  The conference addresses the problem of inventing a form of radicality that confronts the same paradox that emerged in Tudor England, and continues to undermine the progressive development of the postmodern world.

Why come to the conference?
The conference will be of interest to all staff in further and higher education who are concerned about the future direction and role of the changing university within the emerging global knowledge economy.

We look forward to welcoming you

Register online now at:


Aileen Morris
SL/Programme Leader
PGCE/PGDE Higher Education Teaching and Learning
Centre for Educational Research and Development
University of Lincoln
Brayford Pool

T: 01522 837359

Friday, 6 March 2009

Finished reading - Lakoff andJohnson

I am very disappointed with Philosophy in the Flesh - I think trying to explain away most philosophical debates by re-interpreted them in relation to basic metaphors is simplistic.

I was also disappointed with their limited view of the history of psychology - assuming that cognitive psychology started in the 1950's leaves out some important influences - their attempt to produce an embodied theory of the mind would benefit from comparisons with the psychology of Rubenstein and later activity theory.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Internationalising the Home Student

Internationalising the Home Student

Centre for International Curriculum Inquiry and Networking

Annual Conference - Friday 19 June 2009

Conference plenary:

Internationalisation and Global Perspectives: contribution to learning in higher education

Dr Doug Bourn, Director of Development Education Research Centre, Faculty of Culture and Pedagogy, Institute of Education, University of London


This is a discussion based conference and trigger papers will be distributed before the conference for prior reading. For this reason registration will close on 6 May.


Registration is now open at the conference website:

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

European First-Year Experience conference 2009

The on-line registration for the European First-Year Experience conference 2009 is open now!
Groningen, the Netherlands, 13 – 15 May 2009

There will be pre-conference workshops led by researchers from Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

Keynotes at the conference are:
Prof. Henk Schmidt, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Dr. Sybolt Noorda, president of the Association of Dutch Universities
Prof. Sally Kift, Queensland University of Technology.

Please visit our website <> for more information and the on-line registration.

Early Bird Registration closes 1th April 2009!