Report: Pedagogic Research Conference #LivUniPedRes 2017

Newly arrived on our learning and teaching scene is the University of Liverpool’s Pedagogic Research Conference. Set up and run by Educational Development and eLearning Unit colleagues (including our own Tünde Varga-Atkins and Debbie Prescott) from tentative beginnings this event has rapidly grown in just a couple of years in size, scope and shifted venue to accommodate its blossoming. The original idea, about three years ago, was in the recognition that that there needed to be a next step from the annual Learning and Teaching Conference to support staff presenters who wanted to engage with pedagogic research theory, method and literature, ultimately to publish.

Here is this year’s conference brochure so you can get a full idea of the range of the sessions. There was a strong field of  papers with Technology Enhanced Learning as a component at the heart of the research. For me a couple of items from the day caught my eye, Pete Smith’s research into which learning resources students valued and utilised the most, and then Treasa Kearney and Chris Raddats’ work, which brought in the perspective of Marketing theories of value co-creation (which critiques ideas that service providers ‘give’ consumers value – not dissimilar to critiques of the model of students ‘receiving’ learning). They looked at an international cohort working together online on an assignment and what opportunities for value co-creation exist. We’ll look forward to reading these in their published form and blog more about them, and others, as they appear.

The rest of this post consists of a set of resources from the day, including:

  1. A recording of the keynote address by Professor Pauline Kneale, PVC Teaching and Learning University of Plymouth.
  2. A guest blog post from Professor Helen O’Sullivan, APVC Online Learning, who opened the conference.
  3. Tweets from the day gathered together in a Twitter Moment and embedded below.

1. Keynote address

Professor Pauline Kneale, PVC Teaching and Learning University of Plymouth, gave the conference keynote around experience and strategies for building capacity in pedagogy research. At Liverpool the PedRes conference is one such footing in the planned building of our own capacity. If you would like to watch the keynote address from Pauline then click the image below or follow this link.

Professor Pauline Kneale’s keynote address - click image to watch the recording
Professor Pauline Kneale’s keynote address – click image to watch the recording

2. Guest Post: Creating a culture of pedagogic research and publication

Highlights from our 2nd (!) Pedagogy Research Conference,#LivUniPedRes

(Originally posted on 23 January 2017 by Professor Helen O’Sullivan, APVC Online Learning in Education – thanks to Helen for permission to copy this.)

“I was absolutely delighted to open this year’s Pedagogic Research Conference on January 12th. Pedagogic research has been close to my heart and central to my practice since I saw the light in the mid-90s and switched from lab based research. This was the second time the event has run and the increased attendance and quality of the presentations demonstrates the increasing importance of recognising the critical value that researching the student experience and using an evidence base to support policy making has in our vision for Education at Liverpool. The key difference between the annual Learning and Teaching Conference and this Pedagogic Conference is that the former is mainly practice-focused, whilst the Research Conference supports staff with publishing their educational research rooting it in theories, rigorous research methodologies and contribution to literature. One of the key reasons for an event such as this is to cement the growing community of practice around pedagogic research and therefore provide support and fellowship for colleagues who can often feel isolated in their Department. The 100 or so participants at Thursday’s events are the research group and provide advice and expertise for each other. The buzz, the enthusiasm and the warmth was infectious!

Full conference
Image credit: Phil Walker

Guest post continued…

“Our keynote speaker was Professor Pauline Kneale  who gave a perfectly apt talk on how to build capacity around pedagogic research. This included some advice as to how to work smarter to develop #pedagogicresearch, the more neglected, Cinderella sister of research (Evans 2001). One idea suggested by Pauline was working with students as researchers and involving them both in disciplinary and pedagogic research. Pauline also stressed the value of collaboration of outside one’s immediate School, whether within or beyond the institution and reminded us that Plymouth’s PedRio is not too far to collaborate. PedRio’s activity is organised under theme-groups, including sustainability, medical education research, digital innovation, inclusive pedagogies, quantitative reasoning and community engagement. Quite a few of these parallel some of our #LivUni activities!

A real gem for organisers of this conference is seeing how colleagues’ presentations of full papers and emerging ideas (conference brochure link) have developed over the course of the year. It was excellent to hear all the great innovations and focus and enthusiasm on teaching evident from these sessions. What attendees found useful:

An appreciation of level of scholarship/research activities being completed in University.

Interacting with the like-minded.

Encountering a range of different ideas and innovations

Hearing how colleagues in other departments address student engagement. Finding out about experiences of international students.

It is probably unfair for me to pick highlights but I was particularly impressed with the work that Ricardo Tejeiro and Alex Whitelock-Wainwright have done to investigate why some online students don’t participate in course evaluation and I was also interested in Sarah McKernon’s work in Dentistry looking at non-technical skills development.

roundtable
The conference included roundtable Q&A session with editors from educational journals

Guest post continued…

“The day’s focus was supporting colleagues towards publication of their scholarship and research. For this reason, four editors from different educational journals contributed and answered questions on how to get published in the form of a roundtable session. Delegates valued their input on getting tips and ideas, advice from them: “focus on publication was also particularly useful for me”. Networking, sharing practice over a sandwich or cake was a highlight for many attendees.

Where next?

For those wishing to pursue their presentation towards publication, the organising team offers further formative feedback; on request we are happy to arrange a writing retreat. As our keynote observed, pedagogic research is receiving more attention because of the TEF. We were heartened by the success of the conference.

And finally, huge thanks to the organising team who has made the event  happen:

  • Charles Buckley, Educational Development
  • Debbie Prescott, eLearning Unit
  • Julie-Anne Regan, Educational Development
  • Tunde Varga-Atkins, eLearning Unit (who also put together the structure and visuals for this blog post)
  • Ilona Walker, Educational Development

with credit to Amy Jackson, eLearning Unit, for conference design materials.

This conference is now firmly established in the University calendar and we will be building our formal capacity and structures around the research and scholarship of learning and teaching as we set up the Centre for Innovation in Education.

Save the date

Thursday 11 January 2018, 3rd Pedagogic Research Conference. Make it a date for your diary next year and start preparing your contribution now!

3. Tweets from the day #LivUniPedRes 

Finally, Here’s a Twitter Moment for the conference created by Alex Spiers from our team which you can also explore here: https://twitter.com/i/moments/819833189959135232

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