2018 University of Calgary Conference on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching

Students as Creators, Drivers, Innovators and Collaborators

May 1 - 2, 2018


The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. – Albert Einstein

Whom do we send into the world? A world that faces significant challenges and presents endless opportunities. As teachers, we now recognize that we need to nurture kind, informed and courageous individuals — innovators, creators, collaborators, producers, scholars, designers, builders — capable of understanding multiple perspectives and solving problems in order to drive positive, enduring change.

Acknowledgement of this need has triggered a transformative shift in postsecondary education from “teaching” to “learning” in the last 25 years. Formerly viewed as institutions to provide instruction to consumers of information, universities are increasingly seen as places to “produce learning” — where the very purpose of education is to elicit student discovery and construction of knowledge, where success is measured in terms of the quality of student learning and of the students themselves. In other words, an approach to learning that has the student at its core.

Building on a body of scholarly work and initiatives from Healey and Harrington (2016), Marquis et al. (2016), Cook-Sather (2014), Barr and Tagg (1995), the Students as Producers Initiative from the University of Lincoln, Vanderbilt University, and others, the 2018 University of Calgary Conference on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching “Students as Creators, Drivers, Innovators and Collaborators ” invites you to explore student-directed learning — and the scholarship, approaches, practices and issues that surround it — in the postsecondary context.


Day 1 | May 1, 2018
Isabelle Barrett-Ng - Senior Instructor & University of Calgary Teaching Scholar, and Students from the SAGES (SoTL (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) Advancing Graduate Education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)) Program, University of Calgary

Day 2 | May 2, 2018
Beth Marquis - Assistant Professor & Associate Director (Research) at the Paul R. McPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching, McMaster University

Supporting Pages:


  • Student Inquiry: Scholarship driven by curiosity and passion in students can lead to transformative, life-long learning. This thread explores the possibilities, challenges and outcomes of student-directed inquiry and research. 
  • Learning Partnerships: Learning is a reciprocal process at the course, program, and curriculum levels — for both the instructor and the student. For example, formative feedback takes the form of a constructive partnership where both the student and instructor benefit from ongoing and continuous improvement. This thread examines what these partnerships can look like in various teaching and learning contexts. 
  • Authentic Learning: When given the opportunity to apply their knowledge and engage with the real world, students are capable of generating meaningful, creative work that motivates and inspires. In authentic learning, even a failure is viewed as an opportunity for reflection and development. This thread encourages delegates to share their discoveries on the creation of authentic learning experiences for students — both inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaborations: Instructors and students view learning through their own unique disciplinary lenses. Understanding these lenses forms the foundation of the interdisciplinary collaboration necessary for solving real world challenges. This thread examines what this learning looks like in the different disciplines, and in the spaces where different disciplines meet.
  • Digital Pedagogies: Technology facilitates the discovery of knowledge, expression of voice and collaboration across time and space. The interaction between technology, instructors, students, and often our digital communities, forms the foundation of digital pedagogies. In a student-driven classroom, it can make Shakespeare real for the Twitter generation or enable new forms of creative expression for a final project. This thread explores how the relationship between learning and technology can put the student at the forefront of their learning experience.
  • Building Community: Rich communities of colleagues, mentors, teachers and students are essential for creating learning cultures. When students build these communities, they lead to deeper engagement. This thread explores what student-driven learning communities are and how they can impact engagement in the postsecondary context.  
  • Mental Health and Wellness: Construction of safe, caring learning environments that embrace diversity and collaboration are essential for nurturing creativity and the development of resilient and flourishing individuals. Young people who see the world’s issues not as overwhelming problems, but rather challenges and opportunities. This thread examines how teaching and learning approaches and practices can empower students to identify opportunities for self-development and self-awareness, and promote mental health and well-being. 


Contact: ti.conference@ucalgary.ca

The 2016 University of Calgary Conference on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching
"Exploring Creativity"

The 2017 University of Calgary Conference on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching
"Creating a Learning Culture: Conversations that Matter"