Some notes from and on conferences as a community of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning is a research field interested in teaching and learning within higher education. Whatever we feel about teaching, our job as a teacher involve many important things (I love teaching and have from time to time have felt quite lonely in this work). This blog post is some notes on the value of a community to sense, belong to and participate in. It is also published while attending the international conference 2013 for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, on Critical Transitions in Teaching and Learning, in Raleigh.

When I was a child I always said I wanted to be something involving television when I grew up. After becoming a TV researcher, finishing a dissertation on the shift from analogue to digital public service-television, I came to an insight. What I actually meant was to be involved in media development focusing on things like participation and responsibility and its connections with democracy. I realised that my scattered participation in different academic groups (TV studies, media production, Public Service Broadcasting, policy studies, political communication) reflected that there was no community for me, only different groupings.

This was the background for me to attend a conference on the Place of Public Service Broadcasting in York, July 4th 2013, where I was part on a specialist panel on PSB in the online sphere, with a paper involving what participatory culture, network media and the meaning of fan culture mean for PSB? This is also a background to why I really believe that we need to create a community on scholarship of teaching and learning, connecting both the global as well as the local at Malmö University.

These are not unique suggestions, where the most current and well articulated effort can be found in the conference I am attending at the moment, Critical Transitions in Teaching and Learning, devoted to create, support and develop academic efforts for higher education. We are several pedagogic developers from Malmö University taking part in the conference.

What I am trying to do in this blog post is not the unique selling point, instead it is a contribution based in the unique perspective point.

During the conference in York I noticed that public service broadcasting (PSB) and the online sphere becomes a notion of literacy, educating the audience and being a role model. That made me think of how a lot of digital technology and the issues have to do with how digital technology configures media and media usage. A lot of studies and available information is extremely empirical, describing what is going on by describing policies, and actions from organisations – usually with arguments based in comments in media.

At the conference, Natali brought forward the Cookie incident, showing a risk for personalised media, and a suggestion that PSB can coach us into digital media content. What is the price of access to the media, as when is the price to high – like cookies, double payment, tracking of consumption? Natali proposes two shifts: from public mass media to personal public media, from content to educating users. In Sam’s presentation at the conference, was his work on EPG:s as defining role for using digital TV and the experience of it. EPG sets which channels, access to and systematises and integrates the multichannel market. An EPG hierarchise and encodes brands and content. Technology has a discursive impact. How is It’s learning and other learning management systems infrastructure learning?

What I actually mean with these short sketchy notes on experience from an academic conference, is to point to that all academic work means being involved in learning, and that for teaching and learning in higher education means participation and responsibility and is connected with building a democratic society.

I sincerely believe that a scholarship of teaching and learning is needed, and that a community more than scattered groups can create this. Issues make people come together. You are not alone as a teacher. You know stuff. Share it! Be part of a community that truly is multi- and cross disciplinary. Be a fan of a democratic society with research as a base: why not start by participating in conferences?

Locally: you can do it at Malmö University and why not on this blog! Just contact me, pernilla.severson@mah.se or mikael.bjork@mah.se.

Nationally in Sweden, with an international scene, in Falun,

Internationally: why not plan to be part of the next ISSOTL conference, in Quebec, October 22, 2014 – October 26, 2014.

Skärmavbild 2013 10 02 kl. 9.49.08 AM

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