Conference report ICL 2017

This interdisciplinary conference focuses on the exchange of relevant trends and research results as well as the presentation of practical experiences in Interactive Collaborative Learning and Engineering Pedagogy. The theme of the 2017 conference was “Teaching and Learning in a Digital World”. The program included workshops, tutorials, plenary sessions, and parallel sessions. In addition, The 2017 Winners, Academic Division of the International E-Learning Association Awards were announced at the conference. Our own Dr. Gillian Helfield, AMPD was awarded Runner-Up for her work “Film 1900: Cinema and the City”. Congratulations Gillian!

The first three keynote speakers spoke about preparing students to work in a globally connected world. The first keynote speaker highlighted the need for students to develop skills such as cooperation, teamwork and knowledge sharing; although he added that it is also important for Universities to keep pace with changes. In a similar vein, the second keynote speaker spoke of the benefits of learning in a collaborative/teaming environment. In addition, he stressed the need to address the concept of ethics and ethical behaviour with students. He gave a few disturbing and startling examples of the costs of unethical behaviour: not only for individuals but for larger communities, regions and countries. The third speaker highlighted that VET (Vocational Education and Training) has also been transformed in the past few years. Open access, collaborative learning methods, and online digital content development are all useful tools in educating the workers of tomorrow if we are creative and methodologically prepared. The final keynote speaker reported on a research project that looked at the academic readiness of students entering STEM programmes. Consistent with other studies, they found that student math and science grades in secondary school are consistent predictors of success in STEM programmes. They were encouraged to find that some self-regulatory skills were also prime indicators for underperformance in the first year of a science and engineering programme – encouraging because study skills are something that we can help students with.

There were many interesting parallel sessions with a variety of perspectives as participants were from all over the world and from a range of disciplines. For those of you who are interested in attending ICL 2018, it will be held in Kos, Greece.

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