Embracing inclusivity: Festival of Learning 2018

The Festival of Learning event, scheduled for May 28 – 30, 2018 at the Pinnacle Hotel in downtown Vancouver, builds on the success of the inaugural event in 2016, while delivering more value and variety to the instructors, faculty, developers, technologists, and students of B.C and beyond. There’s something for every educator and post-secondary learner.

Post by BCcampus’ editorial team

Healthy minds, healthy campuses, and healthy learning. These are the foundations of the next iteration of the Festival of Learning, scheduled for May 28 – 30, 2018, in beautiful downtown Vancouver, at the Pinnacle Hotel. This is the second instance of this beneficial and fun learning event.

“We’re hoping to build on the success of the first Festival of Learning in 2016,” shared Dr. Janni Aragon, co-chair of the festival Program Committee, incoming chair of the B.C. Teaching and Learning Council, and Director of the Office of Technology Integrated Learning at the University of Victoria, “Improving communication and collaboration between campus leaders by creating an event where everyone can roll up their sleeves and interact with each other.”

The value of this learning and teaching event goes beyond the pedagogical benefits – it’s an opportunity to introduce educational technology tools and resources that increase the chances of student success, reduce the financial burden on students, and increase access to learning. It’s a chance to meet educators from different institutions and specialties, learning from their quick wins and challenging experiences. It’s a place to focus on how to create the most effective, supportive, flexible healthy learning environments, regardless of your context.

“This festival is intended to be a place to come and talk about your work,” shared BCcampus Executive Director, Mary Burgess. “It’s a safe space, where you can share your story, even if it’s not working out the way you’d hoped.”

Inclusive activities

A big part of the theme for #FoL18 is inclusiveness – whether that’s by extending an invitation to all post-secondary environments and welcoming all types of post-secondary educators, using pronoun ribbons on nametags or by implementing gender-neutral washrooms. We’ve planned fun activities that encourage participation and created spaces to get away and reflect on what you’ve encountered, contemplating approaches to use this newfound knowledge in your own way.

The meals are planned around healthy and delicious options, and we have coordinated childcare for attendees who need to bring their children – they’ll even be invited to dine with you. Christy Foote, Coordinator of Administration and Events at BCcampus, shared, “We’ll have fitness breaks, scheduled yoga and meditation classes, a tea room for quiet conversations, and an appreciation station where you’ll be encouraged to express your gratitude to the important people in your life by penning them a quick note. We’re working with amazing sponsors who are driven to bring substantial value to the attendees.” Institutions interested in sponsoring an event at #FoL18 should contact Christy Foote for more information.

There will be a wide variety of attendees at this event, and we’re promoting all kinds of opportunities to cross-pollinate. We’ll have members from many educational groups in the province, including the BC Teaching and Learning Council (BCTLC), Open Education advocates, the Educational Technology Users Group (ETUG), and the B.C. Teaching and Learning Network (BC-TLN).  We’re expecting to see educators from all of the post-secondary institutions in the province, making meaningful connections and enabling collaboration. We’ll have people talking about face-to-face, blended and online learning strategies, experiential and applied learning, using technology in learning contexts, and much more. The goal of this event is to create an environment where everyone can find value: presenting examples of challenges they’ve overcome in their classrooms or sharing issues they’re experiencing. This is an area free of judgment, focused on creating better learning environments for everyone.

At #FoL18, you will meet academic researchers, post-secondary faculty and instructors, educational developers and technologists, content creators, librarians, and students, all focused on improving learning, mastery, and community. “What I like is that you get to peek behind the curtain at different institutions, seeing how they’re managing the issues we all face and sharing our experiences – the good and even not-so-good – so we can learn from each other,” said Terri Bateman, co-chair of the Festival Program Committee, member of the Stewardship Committee for ETUG and Distributed Learning Facilitator at North Island College.

Students – You’re invited!

It wouldn’t be educational if we didn’t have students, so we’ve created a student rate and extended the invitation to all PSE students in B.C. We want to learn about the challenges they’re facing, as well as how we can best provide an excellent education.

Call for proposals – now open!

If you have a topic to present or a workshop to lead, please review the themes on the Festival of Learning website and then submit your idea. We’re looking forward to a wide variety of presentations and conversations that celebrate the educators, leaders, learners, professional staff, and everyone that makes learning possible.

Submit your proposal

Notable Quotes:

“One of the things I love about this event – and events that happen around teaching and learning in B.C. – it’s always a welcome atmosphere. Nobody is there to judge. They want to learn from each other; not just the success stories, but how you fell on your face and what you learned from that experience.” ~Mary Burgess, BCcampus Executive Director

“It’s important that we bring in all of the educational groups in B.C., including the Educational Technology Users Group, OpenEd, British Columbia Teaching and Learning Network, BCTLC, and all of the post-secondary institutions throughout the local learning community.”  ~Janni Aragon, Ph.D., Director, Office of Technology Integrated Learning, University of Victoria

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