Friday, January 16, 2009

The Event of the Year - June 2009 !

Apologies for the long gap in postings on this blog. A sign, not of relaxing holidays (well, not entirely) but rather frenzied 'behind the scenes' activity as we begin the preparations for this year's Galway Symposium on Higher Education. This June the 11th and 12th will be our 7th such event and we are pleased to announce the title and theme will be:
Design for Learning: Curriculum & Assessment in Higher Education
Topics will include:
  • general debate on the nature of 'curriculum' in HE and the factors which shape and influence the development of programmes and courses, the tensions between competing visions of what a higher education should mean; 
  • an overview of the Bologna process and its implications from the perspective of individual academic subject disciplines as well as from an educational perspective, rather than just the bureaucratic burden!
  • an exploration of the issues around assessment, challenging the often narrow and limited approaches in routine use and thinking about assessment as aiding learning;
  • practical aspects of designing modules and courses, linking together approaches to design that promote active learner engagement and participation, which can also be handled in the 'real world' of large enrollment classes!
Some of the keynote speakers are still be finalised but we are very pleased to be able to announce that amongst these we will be welcoming Prof Kathy Isaacs, from  the University of Pisa (History Dept), who has tremendous insight into the Bologna process and its opportunities. On the topic of assessment, we will welcome Prof. Liz McDowell, head of the CETL for "Assessment for Learning" at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle. Whilst introducing some ideas of curriculum will be our own Dr. Kelly Coate who co-authored a fascinating book entitled "Engaging the Curriculum in Higher Education".

So, please mark (in thick black ink) June 11th and 12th 2009 in your diaries and start making your travel arrangements to Galway!  We'll be posting up a link to the conference registration site sometime in the next couple of weeks - so stay tuned for more. And please, spread the word amongst your colleagues.

STOP PRESS:  the NAIRTL Bologna Working Group have agreed to jointly support this conference as part of their activities, so there is likely to be a great opportunity to explore many of these issues in workshop sessions including their particular implications for Ireland.

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