Summer conference round-up

Educational Enhancement (EE) team members have been attending and presenting at a range of conferences over the summer months, as part of our work keeping an eye on sector developments as well as disseminating our own good practice and research. This post lists some of the events we have been taking part in.

Playful Learning 2021222 – July 2022

Conference website

Photo of George standing up during a conference session and throwing an object (a potato) while delegates observe.
Learning Technologist George Robinson exploring the ‘hot potato’ of copyright at the Playful Learning conference

Playful Learning is a conference exploring the intersection of learning and play for adults. This year’s conference was three years in one, as two years were postponed due to Covid. The conference is a great way to meet other playful people and be inspired by talks, workshops, activities and events. Katie Piatt (Head of Educational Enhancement) and George Robinson (Learning Technologist) attended the conference and presented their work on accessibility: ‘Quest not Questionnaire: Improving Accessibility Skills’ in collaboration with Jill Shacklock from the University of Brighton. Katie is now one of the co-chairs for the 2023 conference which will be held in Leicester.

Active Learning Network – July 2022

Conference website

This was the 5th International Active Learning Conference held online, on the theme of ‘Moving forward with confidence’. As one of the founding institutions of this network, many members of the EE team attended sessions throughout the day and were involved with organisation and session chairing. The conference highlighted some of the amazing active learning being undertaken around the world.

Cover of a book with large photo of a yellow butterfly, with the title 100 Ideas for Active Learning.
The cover of the open handbook, 100 Ideas for Active Learning.

The event also saw the launch of the new ‘100 Ideas for Active Learning‘ ebook. Congratulations to all involved on this collaborative and open handbook which contains contributions from many Sussex colleagues and was edited by Paolo Oprandi and Tab Betts.

EUROSoTL 2022 – July 2022

Conference website / Presentation link

Screenshot of title conference slide: Building communities through the scholarship of teaching and learning. There is an image of 5 hands touching above the University of Sussex logo.

In July 2022 EuroSoTL held its conference at Manchester Metropolitan University under the theme of ‘Building Communities through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)’. Sarah Watson (Academic Developer) and Susan Smith (Associate Dean for Education: University of Sussex Business School) ran a workshop asking participants to collaboratively problem-solve some of the barriers to building SoTL within HE institutions. Participants added potential solutions to a Padlet wall, which they could then take back and share at their own institutions. Sarah and Susan have subsequently been invited to repeat the workshop at Queen’s University, Belfast. Throughout the session, and the conference more widely, the importance of informal spaces for community-building was reiterated. In Germany this took the form of private conversations between colleagues in corridors on the way to class, in Sweden it was discussions of scholarship ideas over fika, and in the UK it was the lure of tea vouchers that got colleagues to sit down together and chat. The conference demonstrated that there were many ways to build SoTL communities, but perhaps the most straightforward and convincing was simply an informal space where colleagues could come together to eat, drink and discuss.

LTSE conference (Belfast) – May 2022

Conference website / Presentation link

Screenshot of title conference slide: Experiences of belonging: a comparative case study. The text is shown over a photo of a university building.


At the end of May 2022, the Chartered Accountants of Business Schools held their Learning and Teaching conference in Belfast. The event brought together over 300 participants from 90% of the UK’s business schools. Sarah Watson (Academic Developer) and Susan Smith (Associate Dean for Education: University of Sussex Business School) presented on their British Academy funded research into the persistent 10% awarding gap between UK and China domiciled Business and Management undergraduates (Crawford & Wang, 2015; Smith, 2020). The paper challenged the common assumption that China-domiciled students are academically disadvantaged by a ‘passive, unparticipative, and uncritical’ approach to learning (Lomer & Mittlemeier, 2021) and investigated the complex contributors to the gap, such as feelings of belonging. The paper was well-received and generated interesting discussion around the nuances of belonging and the need for future research into belonging amongst postgraduate cohorts. Belonging in HE was a key theme of the conference, alongside employability and sustainability, chiming with many of the University of Sussex’s key priorities.

We look forward to sharing more information about these and other events with colleagues over the coming academic year.

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