University of Calgary

New conference to explore role of collaboration in learning

UToday HomeFebruary 22, 2013

The Collaborating for Learning conference will be held May 15 and 16, 2013, at the University of Calgary.The Collaborating for Learning conference will be held May 15 and 16, 2013, at the University of Calgary.By Michelle Woodard

A new academic conference will explore how collaboration is changing the nature of teaching and learning in post-secondary education.

Hosted by the university’s Teaching and Learning Centre, the Collaborating for Learning conference May 15 and 16 will focus on the many ways collaboration can produce meaningful learning experiences.

Collaboration, in its many forms, is increasingly being recognized for its role in changing traditional learning and teaching paradigms – whether by providing a safe learning environment to confront intimidating subjects or challenging topics (Plank, 2011, see below), or by exploring how collaboration can help students develop as producers as well as consumers of knowledge (Healy & Jenkins, 2009).

“This conference is an outstanding opportunity for faculty members, graduate students, academic librarians, student services professionals, and students themselves to share their expertise on collaboration and how it contributes to the broader learning experience,” says Lynn Taylor, vice-provost (teaching and learning).

Taylor adds that fostering an environment of sharing has a huge impact on the quality of learning and teaching.

“I know that many of us in our own classrooms and in our own programs are engaged in working with our students – and our students are engaged in working with each other – in highly successful ways, but often nobody outside of that immediate context knows anything about it.”

The centre’s first annual learning and teaching conference aims to change that.

Keynote speaker Gary Poole, associate director of the School of Population and Public Health in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, will look at fundamental elements of self-directed learning revealed in his research. He will also explore the implications of these findings on teaching and collaborating with students.

“Sharing is really the first step. It will be quite inspiring to see what other people are doing and to be able to build on those ideas in our own work with students,” says Taylor.

“Sharing, analyzing, discussing and critically reflecting on what works for someone else and how it might work in our teaching practice are the true essence of collaboration.”

Learn more about the conference and register.


Works referenced in this article:
Team Teaching: Across the Disciplines, Across the Academy, edited by Kathryn M. Plank.
Developing Undergraduate Research and Inquiry, by Mick Healey and Alan Jenkins.


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