What can you expect at the 2015 Symposium for Scholarly Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Education?

The upcoming Symposium for Scholarly Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Education builds on the success of last year’s event and connects thought-leaders and engaged educators throughout the province; sharing and developing advanced learning concepts to improve the educational opportunities in B.C.

SoTL Symposium

At BCcampus, one of our goals is to help raise awareness about the various services available to the province’s post-secondary institutions and we accomplish this by creating, hosting, or participating in events that promote thought-leadership or facilitate connections amongst faculty, administrators, educators, and students. With this goal in mind, we are excited to share an update about the upcoming 2015 Symposium: Scholarly Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Education, to be held at the SFU Harbour Centre in Vancouver on November 13th, 2015.

The province’s educators are meeting to explore and share the possibilities, opportunities, and adventures in scholarly inquiry within our teaching and learning practice. The full-day event features speakers, presentations, discussions, and connections with likeminded colleagues. The $50 entry fee includes meals, refreshments, sessions, and speakers, delivered through an open format designed to encourage exploration of concepts and practices.

This year, there are three core channels to choose from:

  • Strand A: Scholarly Inquiry into Teaching and Learning Practice (active or completed scholarly inquiry projects, sharing methods and evidence)
  • Strand B: Success Stories from Teaching and Learning Practice (sharing of stories, experiences, practices that are working well for student learning)
  • Strand C: Research Bites (a fast-moving series of micro-presentations highlighting key aspects of your scholarly inquiry research)

The Call for Proposals closed on September 27th, and we’re in the process of reviewing the volume of pitches from educators across the province. The final selection will be announced soon, and while we wish we had the bandwidth to include all of the proposed discussions, we’re looking forward to learning from the selected presenters.

Who will be at this year’s symposium?

The previous symposium was a sold-out success, and we’re anticipating the same uptake for this year’s event. Your admission will connect you with all walks of faculty – professors, teaching faculty, research faculty, instructors, as well as sessional and full-time educators – teaching assistants, and graduate students from the post-secondary institutions across B.C.

We’re very excited to hear what this year’s keynote speakers, Dr. Eric Davis from the University of the Fraser Valley and Teresa Dawson from the University of Victoria, have to share. Dr. Davis will open the symposium with his perspective on “The Revolutionary Potential of SOTL: How it can Help Us Complete the Paradigm Shift from Teaching to Learning,” and Ms. Dawson will close the event with her keynote address, “Towards an integrated academic life: SOTL as an opportunity for working through and across differences.”

Last Year’s Symposium:

During the 2014 fall symposium, also held at the SFU Harbour Centre, there were dozens of opportunities for post-secondary educators to learn more about best practices and connect with likeminded colleagues to continue the conversation after the event. The day was filled with great conversations, enlightening keynote presentations, and interesting examples of innovative teaching practices.

Vancouver Island University’s Rachel Moll shared, “Many symposiums tend to focus on content designed for research-based institutions, but last year’s SoTL event emphasized workshops, discussion, and engagement, and this was essential to bring together educators from all disciplines. The innovative model encouraged great conversations throughout the day, and allowed us to see what scholarly inquiry looks like within other learning institutions. I’ve been sharing some of the concrete teaching ideas with my colleagues and incorporating these concepts within my practice, using the bigger picture of learning to create a productive and encouraging academic environment.”

Tech Buddies

One of the inventive ideas at last year’s event was the creation of the ‘Tech Buddies’ partnership which enabled us to bring the conference to people who weren’t able to physically join us. By pairing remote attendees with physical partners, we were able to offer remote access to educators throughout the province. The on-site buddy brought their connection on a tablet or laptop throughout the conference, introducing them to new contacts, participating in discussions, and making new connections within their remote buddy’s network.

“The Tech Buddies concept was excellent and does a brilliant job of enabling educators from rural regions of the province to contribute to the discussion,” said Selkirk College’s Theresa Southam. “For many educators in the interior, there can be challenges securing the additional resources – time or funds – required to participate in professional events in Vancouver and Victoria. Smart concepts, like the Tech Buddies program, provide an opportunity to participate where that might not have occurred otherwise. I’ve been able to use the skills I learned last year from my tech buddy, Leva Lee, in Vancouver at the Society in Teaching Learning in Higher Education conference where I was a tech buddy, and again at the Teaching and Learning Network meetings last month where I had tech buddies. I’ll be attending the SoTL event in person this year, and hope to make the experience productive and enjoyable for my own tech buddy.”

Register now to ensure you have the opportunity to join us at the 2015 Symposium: Scholarly Teaching & Learning in Post-Secondary Education on Friday, November 13, 2015 at Simon Fraser University – Harbour Centre, in downtown Vancouver, B.C.

Notable Quotes

“We’re in the business of intentional designed use of technology to support learning. As technology invites faculty to reflect on their practice, the ‘Tech Buddy’ experiment gave us the invitation to reflect on the participant experience of events and consider ways to make it better.” ~Tracy Kelly, Manager, Professional Learning at BCcampus

“While it’s safe to say most conferences strive to achieve an overall goal throughout the event, there are occasions where it seems they are trying too hard or have missed the mark. The SoTL event in 2014 felt like it achieved its learning goals, and I’m looking forward to more success at the upcoming event.” ~Rachel Moll, Vancouver Island University

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