Kathryn Ricketts is an educational consultant within the Teaching and Learning Centre. She employed an unusual approach in developing the final plenary session at the Symposium on Teaching and Learning in mid-May. Here’s her description of how it worked:
Mobile Dialogues served as our final plenary session for the 2012 Symposium on Teaching and Learning: Leading Change @ SFU. This facilitated dialogue was a dynamic and responsive forum that generated summaries, reflections, and further inquiries from faculty, instructors, and staff who attended the symposium. The symposium participants were encouraged to post topics for discussion throughout the two days at various designated spots or through our hashtag #mobiled in case they were inspired to tweet us a topic. They were asked to post their sparkling curiosities, burning questions, and bristling agitations around teaching and learning.
These topics were then allocated to tables and times for vibrant, fast-firing exchanges. Participants were invited to change tables and topics at punctuated time periods allowing for a range of discussions according to interest and passion, or to become butterflies moving freely from topic to topic. Among the topics from this session were
- University as a safe place to fail, recover, and grow
- Are first-year students capable of deep learning approaches?
- Electronic devices in the classroom (for research, for notes, for distraction, for cheating)
- Experimentation in relation to responsibility, growth, possibility, fear, excitement, risk, opportunity
- Student self-assessment: Can we trust them? How can we best assess engagement and self-learning?
- How do we encourage and cultivate mutual responsibility for learning between the student and the instructor?
Salient points were transferred to brilliant yellow paper tablecloths (see the photo above) with the help of scented felt pens in the form of key words, descriptors, storyboards and mad doodles. The session ended with a “tour of the tablecloths” whereby participants could enjoy the imagistic and poetic summaries of the various discussions. This session was facilitated with light humour and a stopwatch by Kathryn Ricketts, who believes in creating playful states of immediacy to trigger imaginative and courageous conversations.
View the PowerPoint slides of the session on the TLC website to see how the event was structured.