Come and join us at CAN 2019 – conference programme now available

The full conference programme for the 2019 Change Agents’ Network conference is now available online. The conference title, ‘The evolving landscape of staff-student partnership’, covers six key areas or themes:

1. Informed Innovation: Working with Students
2. Partnerships in Curriculum Innovation/Design
3. Engaging Students in Change
4. Landscape of Student Voice
5. Positioning Ourselves for Future Success
6. Engaging a Diverse Student Body

The submissions this year were excellent, and the mix of presentations, posters, workshops and demonstrations will give delegates some great insight into and experience of the staff-student partnership work being engaged in across the HE and FE sectors.

Highlights include:

  • Four keynote sessions
  • Parallel sessions featuring presentations and workshops
  • Parallel sessions featuring posters and demonstrations in the exhibition space
  • A student-led and student-facilitated panel discussion
  • Sessions celebrating the launch of the 2018 Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change, which features the proceedings of last year’s CAN Conference in Winchester, as well as sessions to help delegates write for the journal
  • A session featuring the ideas from Jisc’s Summer Hackathon, which will be happening at the conference. There’s up to £1,000 in prizes up for grabs (encourage your students to enter here)
  • A gala dinner, to celebrate the event and its delegates, and give you all a chance to rub elbows and network

There are a variety of ticket types available, for one or two days, at staff and student rates. This includes lunch and refreshments. If you would like to attend the gala dinner on 29 May, please add this to your ticket purchase. Accommodation can be booked separately with The Open University’s preferred partner using a discount code. All the details and tickets are available from the conference website.

If you have any questions about CAN 2019, you can drop us a line using our details below:
You can contact us by email at
Or find us on Twitter @CANagogy #CAN19 #jisccan

Keynote speaker line-up for CAN 2019

Guest blog post from Liz Ellis, Senior Product Development Manager at The Open University and organiser of Change Agents’ Network Conference 2019

The Open University CAN Conference team are excited to share with you our keynote speaker line up. We were determined to deliver our delegates a fresh, interesting perspective that will hopefully spark some great conversations about how we engage with each other as staff and students, and the successful future of partnerships.

Ruby Granger, our opening keynote for Day 1, is a prolific vlogger and active member of the ‘studytuber’ community. Ruby is a first-year student at the University of Exeter, and describes herself a bookworm with a passion for productivity. Using social media in an engaging way, Ruby encourages a generation of students to become the best they can be. Her YouTube channel documents her enviable study habits, including a host of study tips and ‘study-with-mes’, and how her love of learning goes beyond the classroom. Ruby is a vocal anti-bullying advocate, speaking openly about her experience with it and how others can overcome it, and has taken part in several digital wellness campaigns.
Social media links: YouTube Instagram

Julian Stodd, our closing keynote for Day 1, is a writer and consultant on the Social Age. He specialises in exploring learning design, the role of communities, social collaborative technology and social leadership. Author of 10 books and over 1700 articles and blog posts, Julian works on strategy and delivery with many global organisations. You can find his latest writing at
Social media links: Twitter LinkedIn

Scott Hayden, our opening keynote for Day 2, is based at Basingstoke College of Technology where he is a lecturer and manager of a team that supports and trains staff and students in using digital, creative, innovative approaches to learning.

In 2014 he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award for Innovative use of Social Media and EdTech after receiving praise and recognition for work developing new approaches to teaching and learning. He was shortlisted for the 2015 TES FE Teacher of the Year Award and then created and led a team to win the ‘Outstanding use of Technology for Improving Teaching, Learning and Assessment 2018’ award, being named in the EdTech50, and becoming a Google Certified Innovator. You can find him at
Social media links: Twitter

Closing the conference on Day 2 will be Dr Liz Marr, the Interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Students) at The Open University. She has responsibility for all student facing development and enhancement, including student retention, progression, achievement and satisfaction, widening access and success, employability, quality monitoring and enhancement and the Teaching Excellence Framework.

Liz has over twenty years’ experience in UK higher education and is co-author of ‘Identity Crisis: Working in Higher Education in the 21st Century’. She is managing editor of the journal ‘Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning’, an editorial board member of Learning and Teaching in the International Social Sciences (LATTISS) and a regular reviewer for Open Learning and EURODL. Liz is President of The European Association of Distance Teaching Universities and an executive member of the Universities Association of Lifelong Learning.

The keynote speakers promise to set a great tone for the jam-packed programme of presentations, workshops, posters and demonstrations. The draft programme for the conference is due to be published imminently.

Buy your tickets for CAN 2019 now, 29-30 May, hosted by The Open University at our campus in Milton Keynes.  Just follow the link to Eventbrite.

For more information on accommodation and travel visit

If you have any questions about CAN 2019, you can drop us a line using our details below:
You can contact us by email at
Or find us on Twitter @CANagogy #CAN19

2019 change agents’ network conference – early bird registration now open

Early Bird registration is now open for the 2019 change agents’ network (CAN) conference, being hosted by the Open University in collaboration with Jisc at Walton Hall on 29-30 May, on the theme of ‘The Evolving Landscape of Staff-Student Partnership’.

A limited number of reduced-rate tickets are available (different rates for students and staff) until 15 March. Book now!

Several keynote speakers have been confirmed, including Liz Marr (interim Pro-Vice Chancellor Students, OU), Scott Hayden (Digital Innovation Specialist/Lecturer, Basingstoke College of Technology) and Julian Stodd (writer/consultant, Sea Salt Learning). Find out more about them at the conference website.

We are excited to showcase the work of staff and students from across the higher and further education sectors, and have received an overwhelming number of excellent submissions. A programme will be released closer to the conference date.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the early bird discount, and register now.

If you have any questions, email

What you’ll gain from coming to CAN 2019

A guest blog post from Elizabeth Ellis, senior product development manager at The Open University, hosts of the 2019 CAN conference.

My first brush with the Change Agents’ Network (CAN) came at the perfect time. I attended the CAN Meet Up hosted by the University of Lincoln in June 2016 and was swamped with relief. Here was a huge network of people learning, reflecting and strategising about the same issues that concerned me:

  • How can we as staff engage with students as partners in good faith?
  • What does genuine co-creation of the future look like across our sectors?
    How do we prevent ‘consultation fatigue’?
  • How do we make the best possible decisions to ensure that change is effective for everyone involved?
  • And how many different ways are there to deploy post-its and Lego in the quest for a perfect workshop?

Actionable ideas
I came away from that Meet Up galvanised by the ideas that I had heard about; the presentations, workshops, demonstrations and posters where I had the chance to learn directly from Higher Education and Further Education students from across the UK.

Rather than come away from the day navel-gazing, I was able to come back to my role at the OU and immediately apply the ideas I had been exposed to. We changed our tack on technology research and development, completely redefining our team’s approach to assessing the needs of students. We built a panel of students who are dedicated to the co-design of curriculum, which continues to have direct impact on the development of modules, and – crucially for OU staff involved in curriculum development – meet and talk to our students. When you’re a far-flung distance education outfit, meeting students face-to-face or having direct conversations with them, is never anything but a privilege.

Direct relevance of emerging practices to student-staff partnerships
The thing that makes a CAN conference different from other events is not just this amazing opportunity for witnessing genuine partnership between institutions and their students, but the direct relevance that the emerging practices, tools, approaches and – I’ll say it – mistakes made along the way have for our evolving landscape of staff-student partnership. You can attend a day, or both days, and feel that you can return to your team or department, and immediately begin to try out some of what you’ve learned.

CAN at the OU
Since attending the Lincoln Meet Up in 2016, I’ve been working on bringing CAN to the OU’s campus in Milton Keynes. There’s always a bit of a surprised, ‘Oh, I had no idea you had a campus!’ reaction when I say that. But we do, and we’re celebrating our 50th anniversary this year. This has very naturally left us feeling quite reflective on how far we’ve come, how things have changed, and what the future has in store for us.

Key themes for CAN 2019
So with that in mind, and this being the 7th annual CAN event, we knew we wanted our six key themes to offer participants the opportunity to critically reflect on our collective progress to date, and to begin to envision the future of staff-student partnership in a rapidly changing education sector.

The six themes are:

  1. Informed innovation: working with students
  2. Partnerships in curriculum innovation/design
  3. Engaging students in change
  4. Landscape of student voice
  5. Positioning ourselves for future success
  6. Engaging a diverse student body

Plenty to get our collective teeth into!

Call for submissions
You can review the call for submissions in more depth here.

To make your submission, please complete the linked proposal form by 21 January 2019: CAN Conference 2019 Proposal Form

Once your submission has been confirmed, you will need to secure your ticket for the event. Early Bird registration will open in February 2019.

If you have any queries please email The Open University CAN Conference team (

CAN conference 2019: The Evolving Landscape of Staff-Student Partnership, 29–30 May 2019

logos for Jisc, OU students association and The Open University

The Open University is proud to be hosting the Change agents’ network Conference 2019 in partnership with Jisc and we would like to announce the call for contributions from colleges and universities who are working in partnership with their students.

In 2019 the CAN Conference will focus on the evolving landscape of staff-student partnerships at universities and colleges. With CAN in its 8th year, and host institution The Open University in its 50th year, our five key themes offer participants the opportunity to critically reflect on our collective progress to date, and to begin to envision the future of staff-student partnership in a rapidly changing education sector.

Conference themes

1. Informed Innovation: Working with Students
How does innovation in education embrace and develop consistent, long-term engagement with students as partners? Innovation in education covers a broad field, from learning and teaching technologies and practices, to ways of working. An evidence-based approach to innovation promotes not only the successful implementation of ideas, but also welcomes discussion of pilots, experiments, and prototypes. Informed innovation relies on learning from experience, and this theme provides a ‘failure amnesty’ to share ultimately unsuccessful efforts. This theme invites submissions that critically reflect on the experience of innovating in education, and how this has evolved through partnership between staff and students.

2. Partnerships in Curriculum Innovation/Design
How do ongoing partnerships with students in curriculum innovation and curriculum design contribute to the development of modern and relevant learning and teaching content, materials, and practices? Submissions on this theme are welcome to explore this broad and varied area, which encompasses experiences in co-production, co-creation, consultation, engagement, student success, and the affordances of digital technologies across these.

3. Engaging Students in Change
At this time of intensive change and uncertainty, in our society and in our institutions, this theme seeks to explore the opportunities and challenges of engaging students in change. How can staff and students be open and empathetic partners in sustainable change? How can difficult conversations and decisions be negotiated from all areas? In their submissions, staff and students are encouraged to share their strategies and experiences for engaging students in change.

4. Landscape of Student Voice
Over the eight years the CAN conference has been running, the student voice landscape has evolved and changed significantly. This theme offers an opportunity for submissions that reflect on this evolution, and institutions’ experiences of bringing staff-student partnerships to life. How will this landscape continue to change and develop? What are some of the key responsibilities and expectations of these partnerships, looking to the future? What are the implications of this for our sectors and for our students?

5. Positioning Ourselves for Future Success
This theme is future-focussed, inviting submissions on how both institutions and students can position themselves for success. As staff, how are we engaging our students in preparing for their future success? As students, how does your partnership and engagement with staff and institutions influence strategic thinking and institutional success? Are broader sector priorities and student priorities shared?

6. Engaging a Diverse Student Body
This important theme welcomes submissions about how we engage with an increasingly diverse student body, and ensure our staff-student partnerships are fully inclusive, so that all students have the opportunity to make their voices heard. Submissions for this theme are encouraged to include examples and best practice around engagement strategies, widening participation, policies, the use of digital technologies, and experiences we can share to improve access to partnership for students.

Proposal formats
We welcome contributions from staff and students for the following type of sessions. For your submission, we ask you to outline your proposal, how it links to the conference theme/s and what delegates will gain from attending your session (300 words maximum).

Presentations should be no more than 20 minutes long and will be followed with 10 minutes for questions.

Workshops should be no more than 45 minutes long and include a collaborative activity with time for discussion and questions.

Posters should be no more than A0 Portrait Size and will require the designer to prepare a 5 minute presentation to showcase their poster in addition to answering questions.

An interactive opportunity to showcase a project, activity or work, you must prepare a 5 minute presentation to showcase your demonstration in addition to answering questions. 

To make your submission, please complete the linked proposal form by 21 January 2019:
CAN Conference 2019 Proposal Form

Once your submission has been confirmed, you will need to secure your ticket for the event. Early Bird registration will open in February 2019.

If you have any queries please email The Open University CAN Conference team (

Save the date for CAN 2019: 29-30th May 2019

We are delighted to be working with The Open University who will be hosting the 7th annual Change agents’ network conference on 29-30th May 2019. This conference offers a unique opportunity of celebrating the power of student-staff partnership working which is now recognised as a driver for curriculum innovation and change. The Open University takes forward the highly successful event from the University of Winchester who recently hosted the 2018 event. The importance of working in partnership with students is also reflected in Jisc’s own work, with the launch of Jisc student partners to inform our own developments.

Please see the announcement from Elizabeth Ellis from The Open University below:

Elizabeth Ellis, The Open  University

Elizabeth Ellis, The Open University

The Open University (OU) will be hosting the 7th annual Jisc supported Change Agents’ Network conference in May 2019. This two-day conference is an opportunity for the OU to showcase its ground breaking change agent and student partnership work, and engage staff and students from Higher Education and Further Education institutions across the UK and Europe in a network of experience and best practice.

The purpose of the Jisc supported Change Agents’ Network is to promote student-staff partnership work; staff and students working as change agents, digital pioneers, digital ambassadors, or other roles in partnership with staff on technology-related teaching and learning projects.

The OU has excellent examples of best practice in these areas, with a rich narrative of innovative partnership with students in the development of teaching and learning content, experiences, activities, tools, and platforms.

With the key feature of the CAN conference being students leading or co-presenting sessions and workshops, CAN also provides a valuable avenue for students in HE and FE to develop skills as they share experiences.

With 2019 being the OU’s 50th anniversary, bringing the conference to the university will be an excellent opportunity to showcase our unique brand of innovative teaching and learning, and invite staff and students from across the HE and FE sectors to bring their expertise to Milton Keynes. The OU is well placed to present a professional and exciting conference that maximizes the value of being on Walton Hall campus.

Further information will be available in the Autumn on the call for submissions for the conference. Please keep in touch by joining our mailing list: and follow us on Twitter @CANagogy

#CAN 18 Resources – Presentations and Blog Posts

We are gradually receiving the presentations from CAN 2018 and they are being added to the Resources page.

Along with the resources, there is a Storify and we’ve just received a link to a comprehensive blog post by Brad Forsyth and Jake Forecast, who presented last year at CAN 2017 as students from Epping Forest College.  This year’s blog posting gives a wonderful overview of the range of events and topics discussed this year during the 2 day conference at the University of Winchester.

#CAN18 resources

IMG_1282The Change Agents’ Network conference at the University of Winchester on 19 and 20 April was an opportunity for staff and students to share their experiences in organised sessions as well as many informal ways; the breaks and meals in the warm sunshine encouraged us to sit and talk.  The conference was excellently organised and supported by the Winchester team who we thank for the considerable effort involved in putting it all together.

You can get a ‘flavour’ of the conference by having a look at the Storify from the CAN 2018 conference which is here.

Sarah Knight, Head of change for student experience at Jisc, shares her reflections on the conference here

Jasper Shotts, lecturer, and Reece Taylor-Long, student, at the University of Lincoln presented a CAN session called, ‘Making it worth your while; staff-student partnerships for more flexible learning’.  Read their conference reflections here.

In the coming week, we will be adding resources from the sessions and photos.  While you’re waiting, here is a little sample of images from the event.


CAN conference programme available now

Posted on behalf of Clare Killen:

CAN Conference: Championing Student-Staff Partnerships in an Age of Change

 Full programme now available

Proudly hosted by The University of Winchester, the 6th annual Change Agents’ Network Conference offers a unique opportunity to showcase and celebrate innovative practice in student and staff partnership working and how this is driving curriculum innovation. This year’s conference promises to be the best yet!

Along with opportunities to share what works and learn from each other the full programme offers an engaging line up of students and staff with:

  • two keynote addresses from Colette Fletcher, Assistant Vice-Chancellor, University of Winchester and Tali Atvars, Student Union President, Winchester Student Union (Day 1) and Tansy Jessop, Professor of Research Informed Teaching, Southampton Solent University (Day 2)
  • a plenary student led panel
  • opportunities for networking – regional clusters and informal meet-up
  • 52 workshops, presentation and poster sessions from a diverse range of UK Higher and Further Education providers exploring the conference themes of:
  1. Keeping student engagement and partnership relevant in an age of change
  2. Researching, evaluating and evidencing effective engagement and partnership
  3. Developing digital capabilities in an ever changing landscape
  4. Ensuring the student voice is heard and the feedback loop is closed
  5. Student-staff partnerships to support innovation and inclusivity in the curriculum
  6. Entrepreneurship and innovation showcase (posters only)

A notable feature of the conference is that most  workshops involve students as workshop leaders or co-presenters.

View the full programme.

The Twitter hashtag for the conference is #CAN18.