Reflections from CAN 2016 in partnership with the University of Lincoln

On 2nd June, the University of Lincoln hosted the 4th annual meet up of the network, with 175 participants from over 47 institutions representing higher and further education, of which 63 were students. From the initial meeting in 2013 hosted by Simon Walker and Mark Kerrigan, at the University of Greenwich, with 15 change agents, to 70 participants at the University of Winchester in 2014, 120 in Birmingham in 2015 and now 175 for our 4th annual meet up, it shows the impact student partnerships in having on driving change with technology and enhancing learning and teaching in HE and FE and Skills.

The growth of CAN
The growth of CAN

What a fantastic day we had and it was a privilege to meet so many inspirational staff and students who are driving change in their institutions through student partnerships. The event was officially opened with a welcome from Professor Sue Rigby, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student Development), University of Lincoln. It was evident from Sue’s welcome that support for student engagement and partnerships starts at the top. Sue challenged us to use the Teaching Excellence Framework as a vehicle to show how student partnerships can be embedded in all aspects of institutional practice.
Putting partnership into action, Dr Karin Crawford, Director, Educational Development & Enhancement Unit and John Paul-Dickie, Level 3 Journalism Student and Vice-President Academic Affairs Elect shared the vision for student partnerships at Lincoln and illustrated this with examples of practice which showed how embedded the ethos is across all aspects of the university:

• Staff and student insight scheme (in which John-Paul and Karin had participated and had shadowed each others’ practice)
• Student recruiters
• Student reviewers
• Student advisory groups
• Students consulting on teaching
• Peer assisted study sessions (PASS)
• Student teaching panels
• Student digital leads
• Joint review of practice.

As one delegate tweeted, ‘this is my to-do list to embed partnerships at my institution’. You can view Karin and John-Paul’s presentation here on Periscope (starts around 14 min) with our thanks to Chris Thomson for his recording.

The 25 student partnerships showcase sessions brought together the best of institutional practice from across the UK. Students presented their projects with passion and easily identified the benefits they were realising from their involvement. You can view short video clips from these sessions by visiting the conference website and clicking on the showcase tab and selecting the video icon. There was a noticeable buzz that this market place activity generated with plenty of ideas to take away and new connections made. Posters from these sessions will be added when available.

Student partnerships showcase in action
Student partnerships showcase in action

We were also delighted to see 3 of the Jisc Summer of Student Innovation projects participate in the showcase, with SALT: The Student’s Academic Literacy Tool, University of Teesside; UCanCook – the augmented reality cookbook, with Chris Medwell and his learners from Doncaster College and Gemma Holtam, Dearne Valley College, with a Specific learning difficulties digital stories e-book. These student developed tools have the potential to transform learners’ lives.

For the afternoon line up we had 4 participatory workshops sharing sector led initiatives:
• The REACT Project: Perspectives on enhancing inclusive approaches to Student Engagement, Liz Dunne (Director of REACT), Tom Lowe (REACT Project Manager), Dr Stuart Sims (REACT Lead Researcher), Stella Jones-Devitt (Head of Student Research and Evaluation – Sheffield Hallam) and Sheffield Hallam students
• Making student engagement a reality – Turning theory into practice led by Luke Millard and Stuart Brand from Birmingham City University, stepping in for Ellie Russell who had travel difficulties and unfortunately couldn’t join us for the event to represent the work of TSEP.
• What will a successful student-staff partnership look like in 2020? Peter Chatterton, Clare Killen and Sarah Knight (Change Agents’ Network, Jisc)
• Youth Justice Live! Engaging Students in Curriculum Development, Sue Bond-Taylor, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, University of Lincoln
• Putting learning and teaching partnerships into practice, Abbi Flint, Higher Education Academy (HEA)


What will success student partnerships look like in 2020?
What will success student partnerships look like in 2020?

We ended the day on a high with 15 students from 5 institutions sharing their experiences of working in partnership. You can view the recording of this excellent panel chaired by Simon Walker session here.

CAN Student Panel
CAN Student Panel

And so ended #JiscCAN 2016! We would like to thank our hosts the University of Lincoln, and in particular, Reece Horsley, Marcus Elliott and Dan Derricott (for the original invitation) for all their hard work and dedication in organising such a successful event. We are already planning #jiscCAN 2017 and in discussion with an institution who has stepped forward with an offer to host the event next year. We also have another potential regional network starting up in the Midlands. We are also hoping to support an FE and Skills focused event later in the year.

I am so proud to have been involved in CAN and to have seen the network grow and evolve into being a nationally recognised lead for student partnerships. With the enthusiasm and vision of the CAN team of Simon Walker (University of Greenwich), Mark Kerrigan (Anglia Ruskin University), Peter Chatterton, Clare Killen and Ellen Lessner, the network has enabled students and staff across UK HE and FE and Skills, to share and continually develop their practice on student staff partnerships. With the ever changing political and educational landscape, student partnerships offers an exciting way forward to lead and sustain change across HE and FE and Skills.

You can view the Storify summary here and view the conference learning wheel set up by @DebMillar24 @learningwheel. Presentations will be added to the event blog page.

And the final word goes to Anna Dolidze, University of Westminster, and one of our student panellists:
“As one of the lucky students, I just wanted to thank every single one of you for giving me the chance to be a part of something so truly special and inspiring. Words cannot even begin to explain how happy I am to have attended the event with such amazing and inspirational people by my side, or how grateful I am for all your support and for the incredible conversations (brainstorming sessions 🙂 ) we had.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *