Invitation to conference on the sholarship of teaching and learning 15th of august 2012

Conference theme: Between Science and a Profession - the Significance of Writing for Students' Learning

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Traditionally in higher education, writing has been used as a means of presenting knowledge. However, for the student, writing is also a means of socialisation in an environment where he or she gradually acquires more knowledge about those modes of thinking and techniques of arguing and substantiating one’s argumentation which are considered valid in the academic context. Writing is therefore an important learning strategy, a means of discerning new connections which helps students to internalise knowledge and make the subject matter their own. Thus, students’ writing contributes to depth-oriented learning.  

Accordingly, writing is an important component of higher education. Access to a scientific discourse and the ability to express oneself well verbally and in writing have been regarded as an asset, irrespective of what occupation the student will be pursuing after graduation. Although many experts are in agreement concerning the potential of written language to develop reflection and critical thinking, there is no easy answer to the question of how students can be expected to benefit from academic writing in their future professional life.

Academic writing differs in many respects from other ways of using language and this seems to be causing problems for an increasing number of students. The students of today are a heterogeneous group and, in their interaction with the university, some students can experience a great linguistic disorientation. Moreover, universities do not constitute uniform language environments, since there are differences between different subjects and study programmes concerning how students are expected to problematize, analyse and discuss different subject content.

The fact that student groups are becoming increasingly heterogeneous is leading to greater and greater pedagogical challenges for lecturers. The problem is partly that lecturers can no longer rely on all the students having the same pre-understanding, and partly the risk that certain academic knowledge may be taken for granted and may not be made explicit. How can supervisors and lecturers elucidate the expectations which they have concerning the texts that the students are expected to produce? How can we create environments where writing is conceived as a means through which students learn the subject in question?

The theme of the conference will be illuminated in the keynote address by Sofia Ask, in some of the sessions, and in the concluding panel discussion, but the conference is also open to contributions on other topics.

Submission of abstracts and registration

If you want to make a presentation, you need to send an extended abstract consisting of approximately 1,000 words. The deadline for the submission of extended abstracts is 7th May, and the deadline for registration for the conference is 8th August. The oral presentations are to be 20 minutes long, with a subsequent discussion lasting 10 minutes. The round-table discussions last 40 minutes, with the presenter’s introduction lasting 10-15 minutes. Presentations of best practice last 30 minutes and are intended for those who want to demonstrate and talk about some teaching innovation or new ideas, tools or supporting systems which facilitate teaching and the learning process.


Further information on the presentation formats of the conference.

Conference fees

The conference is free of charge for staff of Blekinge Institute of Technology and Kristianstad University.

 

 

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