University holds inaugural learning and teaching symposium

University holds inaugural learning and teaching symposium

The University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Learning & Teaching’s first annual Learning & Teaching Symposium was held last week.

More than 70 staff attended the inaugural event organised by the Centre for Learning and Teaching in collaboration with the College Directors of Teaching & Learning: Professors Mary Cotter, Trevor Salmon and Gordon Walkden.

The main event took place on Tuesday (19 May) with follow-on online activities and hands-on workshops on Wednesday (20 May).

The event was webcast live, enabling one of the speakers, Dr Panos Vlachopoulos from Massey University, New Zealand, to see and listen to the presentations, as well as deliver his presentation from New Zealand.

The theme of this year's symposium was Flexible Delivery. Its purpose was to showcase the innovative teaching that currently goes on within the University and provide a 'talking shop' for staff from diverse disciplines to discuss related ideas.

The symposium was opened by Professor Mary Cotter, Director of Teaching and Learning, College of Life Sciences & Medicine and Convener of the Curriculum Reform Working Party on Modes of Delivery & Flexibility.

The opening keynote, delivered by Professor Bob Matthew, Director of the Centre for Academic Practice and Learning at the University of Stirling and Steering Group Member of the Graduates for the 21st Century Enhancement Theme, was a thought-provoking talk on 21st Century Learners: Challenges and Opportunities.

The morning keynote, delivered by Professor Mary Cotter, was an inspiring talk on Flexible Delivery of Graduate Skills.

This was followed by talks by academic staff from across the University on their experience of learning innovation in the following areas: simulating an authentic disaster management activity; flexible assessment and feedback; learning and collaborating with Web 2.0 tools; learning in virtual worlds.

The afternoon keynote, delivered by Professor Do Coyle, Chair in Learning Innovation, School of Education, was a stimulating talk on Pedagogies for effective course design and delivery.

The first day ended with a lively panel session with an 'Any Questions' format, chaired by Professor Angela Black, Head of the Business School.

The second day began with an interactive online presentation by Sarah Cornelius and Dr Carole Gordon, School of Education, on their experience of designing flexibility into the TQ(FE) Programme. This was followed by a series of workshops delivered by the Centre for Learning & Teaching.

Professor Mary Cotter, Director of Teaching for the College of Life Sciences and Medicine at the University of Aberdeen said: "I was delighted to see so many staff from across the three Colleges attend the event. The event provided an excellent opportunity for academic staff from diverse disciplines to come together and share their ideas and practice"

Symposium organiser Dr Sara Preston, Senior eLearning Adviser at the University, said: "The success of the event was thanks to the inspirational and thought-provoking talks and contributions by academic staff from across the University."

Further information about the event, and the presentations, can be found at