In the context of the challenging and inspiring conversations about the role of universities in South African, this year’s conference adopted the theme: "Care. Connect. Create.". The three ideas at the heart of the conference, "Care. Connect. Create." challenged presenters and participants to step beyond an exclusively academic or solely rational engagement with teaching and learning in higher education. Instead, the injunction to "Care. Connect. Create." was an invitation to bring the wholeness of oneself to the conference and to allow this to reignite passions for student learning and success.
TLC2018 received a wonderful response from the UCT community with more than 322 individuals (254 UCT staff, 61 UCT students, and 7 colleagues from associated institutions) attending the day-long event. The keynote was offered by UCT’s DVC for Teaching and Learning, Lis Lange, and focused on contrasting institutional and academic curricula. Over the course of the day, there were 58 presentations, two panel discussions and one workshop.
A number of relevant and stimulating themes emerged through the day. Issues pertaining to language received considerable attention with speakers focusing on concepts such as translanguaging and the social support of language learning as possible responses to the opportunity of living in a linguistically diverse society. While many speakers shared their use of educational technologies such as whiteboards, MOOCs, multimodal texts etc, in a higher education context, attention was paid to context, including learning outcomes and the constraints of environments. A clear theme around student wellness developed over the course of the day with a number of speakers sharing research around the student experience of university - in residences, in relation to student movements, and socio-economic contexts.
This year’s event faced a good critique. In the closing discussion, colleagues asked why there were not more presentations by students. While 13 of the 58 presentations had active student involvement as presenters, co-presenters or respondents, there is a clear mandate from the community, including the DVC, for greater student involvement. This is an exciting challenge and will be taken up more enthusiastically in the next two events.
TLC2018 is a single day, and the challenge is always how to take the energy and connection of the day and extend the conversations. This is happening in three ways this year:
Various sessions on the day were recorded. With presenters’ permission, these will be published over the course of semester two.
Various speakers indicated a willingness to host conversations about topics of interest after the event. These will be incorporated into the Talking Learning and Teaching series.
Hosting a materials-making day for presenters and their teams. The object of this day is for presenters to create a informal textual or graphic artefact from their presentation.