Monday, April 20, 2009

The last thing we need

Unconference For several years, The University of Leicester Student Learning Centre has run a very successful Learning and Teaching in the Sciences conference. In this context, successful means not an expensive international meeting at a plush venue (the "conference dinner", as I recall, was a glass of cheap wine and a bowl of crisps ;-) with all the usual hangers-on, but a grass roots meeting with an excellent external speaker who really enthused the locals. This year, for various reasons, it seems that this is not going to happen.

My response to this is - good! Not that I haven't enjoyed and benefited from the previous events, but it seems to me that the last thing anyone needs is - another conference!

But just because there isn't going to be a meeting in the traditional format doesn't mean that we have to discard the rationale for past sessions - a grass roots meeting which attracts participants beyond "the usual suspects". Why don't we organize something local, lightweight ("agile", if you prefer) and cheap, a sort of "flashmob meets unconference"?

To be successful, it would have to:
  • Attract staff who don't normally attend on-campus teaching-themed events
  • Be simple and cheap to organize
  • Leave a lasting benefit in terms of changing and improving teaching practices at UoL
How about a moderated fishbowl?