The Annual Conference is the high point of the UALL calendar, where professionals in HE lifelong learning get together from the UK and overseas. The venue for 2014 was the University of London, Senate House, with the highly topical theme of Transforming pedagogy? Flexible
learning, teaching and innovation in the 21st century. As usual, delegates gathered on the evening before the Conference for a drinks reception and informal buffet and the chance to meet and catch up with old friends. It is the Conference custom to launch significant books, and this evening saw the launch of Men Learning through Life (NIACE) with the editors of the book connected by skype across three continents.
Following the official opening by Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Adrian Smith, the official Conference featured a packed programme of over thirty presentations and keynote addresses by distinguished speakers from the UK: Professor Diana Laurillard, Dr Alison Le Cornu and Professor Penny Jane Burke. International speakers were: Dean Karen Sibley, USA, Robert Wensveen, Canada, and Professor Shirley Walters, South Africa.
The Drinks Reception and Conference Dinner were held in the Grand Connaught Rooms. At the reception there was a second book launch Lifelong Learning in Europe: National patterns and challenges by John Holford, Ellu Saar and Odd Bjorn Ure. The Reception was sponsored by the publisher Edward Elgar.
The Conference Dinner, in the grand Connaught Rooms, was a superb occasion. It is the tradition that this is the occasion of the presentation of the UALL Awards, for innovative and successful learning programmes, now in their sixth year. The winner, The Discover Course from the University of Sheffield Institute for Lifelong Learning, and three runners-up received their Awards to great acclaim.
By the end of the Conference delegates departed tired but with batteries recharged by the many discussions, presentations and general networking with colleagues from the UK sector and around the world.
Presentations from the speakers included:
Professor Diana Laurillard (Institute of Education) - Discovering and sharing effective online pedagogies
Dr Alison Le Cornu (Higher Education Academy) - Choice and opportunity: Are these realistic goals for Higher Education?
Professor Penny Jane Burke (Roehampton) - Changing pedagogical spaces: Difference, diversity and inclusion
Presentations from the workshop seminars included:
Ormond Simpson and Tom Inkelaar (London) - Enhancing retention in distance education through 'proactive motivational support'
Sara Hattersley (Warwick) - Transforming pedagogy and experience through e-learning in teacher education
Mike McLinden (Birmingham) - Flexible pedagogies for part-time learners: Guiding the student learning journey
Kirsten Merrill-Glover and Kelly Edwards (South Wales) - Making it work: Widening participation in higher education for adults in employment
Pete Cannell (Open University, Scotland) - Widening access and skills development through HE learning in the workplace
Mary Young (West of Scotland) - Not just another sand box - accrediting experiential learning for nursery practitioners
Michael Flavin (King's College, London) - The King's experience: Innovating in co-curricular learning
Sarah Speight (Nottingham) - Innovation at the margins: the Nottingham open online course
Neil Gordon (Hull) - Technology enabled lifelong flexible learning
Liz Marr (Open University, UK) - The amancipation of learning: widening participation, credentialism and higher education