With the theme of Thresholds to Learning, the conference provided opportunities to look at student learning and faculty roles in creating active and engaging learning environments, and technologies that support engaged teaching and learning.
In the opening plenary, Ray Land, an internationally known scholar in teaching and learning, discussed student learning and transformation. Centered around the theory of “Threshold Concepts” Land suggests that in order to transform, or make significant leaps in awareness, a learner must go through states of uncertainty, called ‘liminal’ states, and let go of previous learning in order to integrate new ways of understanding. In these liminal states, a person may experience uncomfortable feelings, a shift in identity or a sense of loss because of the letting go of previous assumptions.
Watch Ray Land’s plenary “Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge” presented at the conference
In the closing plenary, Jim Groom, in a lively display of humor and insight, posited that independent domains and open web tools provide students, faculty, and people outside the university from all walks of life and around the world opportunities to express, exhibit, and be discovered online with the encumbrance of institutional rules and regulations. He described how MWU applied simple blog technology (WordPress MU) to create a living nexus of business, information, and highly creative self-expression. The platform also enabled unprecedented participation in open courses by people from around the world.
Watch Jim Groom’s session “A Domain of One’s Own”
Please note that due to technical difficulties, only video of the PPT with audio is available.