More reflections from Spotlight23

16 May 2023 - More reflections from Spotlight23


On 26 April 2023, I attend the Spotlight23 conference, hosted by UCISA Digital Capabilities at the Queens Hotel in Leeds. I was looking forward to spending time catching up with colleagues at the first in-person event I’ve been to in a few years. Spending time with colleagues in a learning environment is grounding, and having felt more insular in recent years, seeing people helps to connect with others in the sector. I was also looking forward to supporting my colleague, the Chair of UCISA Digital Capabilities Group, who was part of running the event, and seeing the outcomes of their work.

This was my first UCISA event so I had no idea what to expect. The venue was near the station which is an ideal location and reduces the stress that conference and event attendance can bring. We all bonded over the very noisy toilet doors at the venue! The programme looked well themed, and as my job remit is assistive technology and accessibility, I was curious to explore where this fitted into the programme and the day.

During the conference, I learned that our definitions and understandings of ‘blended learning’ can be different between staff and students, and this is a helpful reminder for our services and universities to think about how we communicate what we do, and also to think about why we call things what we do. I can see this reflected in my own institution’s approach to language. It’s also a reminder to not get stuck in language and make sure there’s something purposeful and connected at the end of those thoughts and conversations.

I also enjoyed hearing from Sheffield Hallam University about the Insights abilities in Microsoft Teams for exploring student engagement — I didn’t know that these existed and is always interesting to hear how other universities are using collaborative technology.

My top recommendation for someone attending Spotlight23 for the first time, is that in a world that’s very digital, make the most of the opportunities for in-person interaction and the value that comes from being together with colleagues. Attend with colleagues, or use it as an opportunity to meet new colleagues.

(PlusOne recipient, 2023)