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| Jul 17, 2013
Our first blog entry covers last month’s Enhancement and Innovation in Higher Education conference which was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Glasgow over three days. The conference marked the remarkable achievement of 10 successful years of the Enhancement Themes and had a strong international presence with over 500 delegates coming from 25 different countries, making it one of the largest Learning and Teaching conferences in the UK.
Our excellent keynote speakers came from both home and abroad and covered a range of informative and thought-provoking subjects. Dr Randy Swearer of Philadelphia University was first to speak and discussed Transformative Change. He was followed on the first day by Professor Amy Tsui., Hong Kong University, who spoke about the challenges for HEIs and their students in the 21st Century. This was a very popular session and Amy was pleased to see that she was trending on twitter! Our second American keynote was Dr Lori Breslow from MIT who presented on the very current topic of MOOCS. On the final day we were lucky to have the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Mike Russell MSP, attend and gave a stimulating talk about enhancement and reform in Scotland today. Chair of SHEEC, Professor Andrea Nolan, followed this with a description of what has been achieved by the Enhancement Themes and all involved over the last 10 years. Her session also included the premiere of the 10 years of the Themes video
Our final day of the conference also saw one of our most interesting and relevant sessions: Student Engagement. Chaired by Eve Lewis of sparqs and featuring Liam Burns, NUS and Johan Gardebo, Uppsala University. At the heart of the Themes is Student Engagement so it was very beneficial to everyone present to get an insight from people who have been so heavily involved in that area. All our presentations can be downloaded online.
The three days of the conference were full of parallel sessions covering a wide spectrum of subjects from Co-creation of the curriculum to the Learner Journey designed through a Participatory Process. As well as many Scottish-led sessions it was great to see so many of our international delegates leading sessions too. Many of these presentations can be found in our Conference Resources page alongside several of our poster contributions.
It wasn’t all work, work, work however as there was still time to catch up with old colleagues and get to know new friends, and the conference dinner was a great way to do this. The seating plan ensured that everyone had the chance to meet some new people from Scotland and further afield. It was great to see several of our student colleagues at the dinner too. The highlight of the dinner was the fantastic after dinner talk by Don Guttenplan who is the Education correspondent for the International Herald Tribune. Although Don had earlier admitted to being a novice at after dinner speeches, you would never have known as his talk was both informative and very entertaining. It was a great night and there was even a birthday celebration for one of our delegates!
The international enhancement conference was a great way to celebrate the fantastic feat of 10 years of the Enhancement Themes. They are sure to go from strength to strength and we hope many of you will be able to join us for our next international conference on Tuesday 9 to Thursday 11 June 2015.