Friday, June 25, 2010

HE Academy conference day 2

Some interesting sessions on the second day of the conference in a baking hot Hatfield Business Park. I attended presentations on the use of twitter by journalism students to establish professional connections, undertake fact-checking etc. Somewhat inevitably I suppose, the room was full of people staring at screens of various sizes and tapping away on virtual or real keyboards whilst the speaker tried to engage us. His presentation was good but I wonder, whilst twitter has its strengths whether the level of disengagement of the audience is not problematic. Yes, if a presenter is slow and repetitive, there's plenty of scope for taking some 'time out' to broadcast a summary of the main points, but when the speaker is good and attempting to engage with the audience there's a real sense of discourtesy and a likelihood, I would have thought, that the tweets being sent are quick transmissions of a somewhat superficial nature. Discuss.

The panel session, which was recorded and no doubt will appear on the HE Academy website, was interesting. One of the panel didn't show up (Bahram Bekhradnia). I take it there was a particularly serious reason and not as one attendee suggested that he must have got himself in a fankle (good Scots word that) with one of this bow ties . Mike Baker did an excellent job of chairing, but there were some scary comments on the future of the sector from the recently enobled Phil Willis.

Afterwards, yet again, I was in a session in which the presenter failed to turn up, this time from Reading. But subsequent presentations on the Learning Landscapes project and on student engagement in curricular design were excellent and provided considerable food for though, not just at the intellectual level but on a really practical basis and which can be translated into our local context here in Galway.

The conference fizzled out shortly before 3pm as many of the participants headed off to watch the World Cup match and I took that as an opportunity to travel into Central London in advance of my next meeting, the subject of which I'll post about shortly.

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