Speaker abstracts


Wednesday 12th May


Four Squared for Blend
Professor Gilly Salmon, CEO & Principal Consultant, Education Alchemists Ltd

Gilly Salmon attempts a look over the horizon for blended learning and asks whether the ‘Fourth’ will be with you? She points to 4 key thresholds that enable us to create excellent blend in the service of learning and create our preferred, viable and sustainable futures in HE.


Why is it so challenging to attract colleagues to training in digital skills?
Melissa Highton, Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services; and Jenni Houston, Head of Digital Skills, University of Edinburgh

Why is it so challenging to attract colleagues to training in digital skills? How can we create a learning culture within our universities and colleges? This workshop will explore some of the successes and challenges of offering a comprehensive digital capabilities programme in a large institution and suggest possible strategies for overcoming the Dunning–Kruger effect which causes people to overestimate their ability.


The true meaning of Digital Transformation in HE: Learning environment vs. Tech
Ismini Vasileiou, Associate head of School (Teaching and Learning), De Montfort University

Digital transformation is not a new term. It has been there for quite some time driven by Industry 4.0 (bog data AI etc). The Higher Education sector in the UK has been adapting and adopting various schemes, such as fast track degrees, degree apprenticeships and blended learning for over 30 years. The pandemic forced everything online, but during that we realised that the technology has always been there, but not always used in something more than just a document repository area. A virtual learning environment, a pre-recorded talk etc can provide so much more than either independent self-study, or a one-way communication. What have we learnt during the pandemic. What has always been there that we can continue using in the future? How does the post cover education look like for the HE sector?


Stepping outside the bubble: What digital skills and capabilities do graduates need in 2021?
Laura Hollinshead, Learning Technologist; Charlotte Ellis, Learning Technology Media Advisor; and Johanna Westwood, Learning Technologist, University of Derby

This session will help attendees to explore the demand for digital capabilities within the workplace and how the skills required have evolved during 2020-21. Using research data on the demand for digital skills by local SMEs in Derby, the session will provide attendees with the opportunity to discuss how we can embed relevant digitally rich experiences through curriculum design and pedagogy, which support students to develop and apply their digital skills to real world problems.

A case study of cross boundary working, creative assessment strategies and the use of digital technology to enhance the employability of undergraduate students at York Business School
Rebecca Padgett, Programme Leader, York Business School and Annette Webb, Digital Trainer, York St John University

This session outlines how we transformed a key (and substantial undergraduate module) to better prepare students to improve work readiness. It shows how we have successfully worked across boundaries to enhance and enrich curriculum by embedding digital literacy training with transformative outcomes by looking at a diverse range of digital assessments using various forms of media. By understanding the unique non-linear graduate market we have been able to build motivation, confidence and self-belief of our students particularly around digital capabilities. Lessons learned over this 2-year project will be discussed in order to develop a module that is deliverable at scale.


Thursday 13th May


Digital Fluencies to meet the challenges and opportunities of the digital world
Fiona Handley, Principal Lecturer in Learning and Teaching, University of Brighton

The University of Brighton has recently approved a new Digital Learning Vision which includes a commitment to addressing the 'challenges and opportunities of the digital world', through an approach based on inclusion, community practice and digital fluencies. Digital fluency is "the ability to leverage digital tools and platforms to communicate critically, design creatively, make informed decisions, and solve wicked problems" (Educause Horizon Report 2019). This short session will unpack what this means for the development of support for digital fluencies, and embedding digital learning in the curriculum, especially in response to Covid-19, and will highlight two issues that illuminate these challenges - students turning cameras on (or not) during teaching sessions, and the impact of the shift to online consultation in health care settings on the teaching in those disciplinary areas.


Out of office; approaches to working while maintaining a sense of community in a distributed team
Amy Sampson, Head of Digital Learning and Scott Redrup, Senior Learning Technologist, Falmouth University

This session will explore successful ways of working that can be applied to hybrid or fully remote teams. The Digital Learning department at Falmouth University have been working as a hybrid team since 2018; the last year working fully remote. During this time, they have adopted use of agile methodologies and advocate digital approaches in providing transparency for all team members. As we look to a future of hybrid working the team will reflect on the techniques that have worked best for them and provide an insight into working practices that attendees may apply within their own departments.


Digital Hub - Building digital capability and a digital change culture
Rose Leeson, Digital Transformation Change Manager; Rob Court, Change Manager; and Caitlin Berry, Digital Transformation Change Support Officer, University of Exeter

In a digital world, augmented by C-19, The University of Exeter is responding to the increased importance of digital skills for our students and staff essential to study, research and our university’s operations, not to mention preparing our students for the world of work. Twelve months ago, we launched the Digital Hub and to celebrate this we are excited to share how we created our own ‘genius bar’ and micro-learning digital guides and videos. The Digital Hub is now playing a core part in enabling positive digital transformation, allowing everyone to embrace digital and take advantage of the opportunities it enables.


Preparing for Pandemic Learning: the development of a new module to support students for a new university experience
Sarah Jones, Deputy Dean; David Parkes, Director; and Alasdair Blair, Associate Pro VC (Academic), De Montfort University

The move to a blended pedagogy for the academic year 2020-2021 resulted in huge challenges around curriculum design, assessment modification, resources, the digital divide, IT and estates provision. New working practices and skills also needed to be developed for the students, as whether they were new to HE or existing students, they had disruption to their study and blended learning would be an entirely new approach to their studies. This workshop analyses the development and impact of a blended learning module, offered to all students to equip them with skills for learning in a post-pandemic world.


Pandemic Partnerships: New Communities for Wicked Problems
Dr Tom Cunningham, Academic Development Partner; Dr Catriona Cunningham, Academic Development Partner; Derek Robertson, Digital Learning Manager; Dr Paul Cowell, Faculty Champion; and Sarah Gardiner and Fanni Tanka, Students, University of Stirling

The move to online learning caused by the pandemic is described in three phases (Austen, 2020): (1) Emergency Transition to Online Delivery; (2) Assessment and Forward Planning; (3) The Wicked Phase. In (3) universities are considered to have moved beyond merely ‘taming’ online provision to preparing systematically for expectations and experiences of this environment.
Academic Development and Digital Learning teams at Stirling collaborated to support transformational change in teaching practices. Further collaboration between academic staff and students-as-partners followed. These resulting communities of practice (Wenger, 1998) led to cross-cutting conversations, delighting participants and shaping Stirling’s successful implementation of the Wicked Phase.


When ‘I’ becomes ‘we’: Social identity and well-being in the online world
Linda K. Kaye, Department of Psychology, Edge Hill University

Social identity theory (SIT) has been widely applied to many contexts as a way of understanding collective identity and the associated impacts. However, less research has explored the relevance of SIT in online settings. This talk will outline recent studies which have sought to establish a number of psychosocial impacts associated with social identity across a number of domains. This consists studies which have found how positive identity to gaming groups is associated with positive aspects of well-being as well as how social support from WhatsApp groups relates to collective identity and well-being. Taken together, collective identity appears to be a positive factor which operates in respect of online groups, which can go some way to support well-being.