Learnium Blog

Thoughts about student life, the future of education and Learnium

Coventry Transforming Futures 2015

Coventry University celebrated great teaching and learning at their annual Transforming Futures conference on the 25-26 of June 2015. Between talking to people in the exhibition area and running our own sessions, we managed to attend some inspiring talks. Here they are.

Opening Keynote: Phenomenal year for Coventry - John Latham & Ian Dunn Vice Chancellor John Latham commended his staff for making the university an internationally recognised brand. Coventry University has been doing tremendous things over the last few years for their students. This effort has seen them surpass several Russell Group universities this year and enter the top 20 UK universities in the Guardian league table.

Ian Dunn, Pro Vice Chancellor of Student Experience, emphasised the disruptive role the university has had in the marketplace. He powerfully ended the keynote with “today we stop apologising; no apologies for being good at what we do”!

What do we mean by flipped? - Martin Jenkins Martin Jenkins, learning technology expert within the university’s Academic Enhancement Unit and Disruptive Media Learning Lab, talked about Flipped Learning, a pedagogical approach that reverses the traditional educational arrangement. Usually, teachers deliver instructional content inside the classroom and assign activities as homework. As the name suggests, the flipped model turns this onto its head. Instructional delivery happens outside of the classroom (often online) and students perform activities during class time.

Infographics - Jennifer Ferreira Infographics are visual representations of information, data or knowledge. They have become widely popular as a result of their ability to present complex information quickly and clearly. In this introductory session, Dr Jennifer Ferreira gave useful tips and tools for producing infographics. Piktochart is a free infographic maker. Cambridge University and the Huffington Post use an online tool called Infogram. Several publications, including the Guardian, use Tableau to create interactive dashboards of information. Dr Ferreira put together a great document on infographics here.

Data Analytics for Learning - Amanda Black Learning analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners. The end goal is to understand and optimise learning and the environments in which it occurs. Data analytics are commonly used to trigger student interventions which are most effective when they are timely and well thought out. A key takeaway from Amanda Black was that research suggests student engagement is one of the biggest indicators of student success.

Closing Keynote - Ian Dunn & Oliver Sparagano In the closing keynote, Ian Dunn and Olivier Sparagano (Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research) thanked everyone involved and raised the interest yet again by mentioning the new teaching and learning strategy. The document is focused on reducing inefficiencies and improving student outcomes and will be officially released in the upcoming months.

Conclusions We asked staff why they think Coventry has been so successful in the last few years. The most common answers were those related to the institutional focus on teaching, learning and the student experience. A keyword analysis of social media activity during the conference confirms that this focus and vision is shared throughout the university.

The conference has been a great success and we would like to thank the organisers and those who expressed interest in Learnium. We look forward to CovTF2016!