Cardiff Metropolitan University recently held a conference aimed at increasing student engagement through online media.
Experts from across the UK gathered at Cardiff Met for the 'Enhancing student engagement through online learning communities' – the first of its kind in Wales.
Key speakers shared best practice that will help university staff heighten student engagement through the formation of online learning communities via virtual learning environments such as Moodle, or social media networks, such as Twitter and Second Life. Such platforms are rapidly becoming the principal means of engaging students within higher education and promote learning outside the classroom and peer-to-peer discussion.
The conference was developed in collaboration by Cardiff Met's Library & Information Systems department (L&IS) and Learning and Teaching Development Unit (LTDU).
Speakers attended from universities across the UK, including Professor Daniella Tilbury and Dr Alex Ryan from the University of Gloucestershire, Dr Maricarmen Gil Ortega from the University of the West of England and Bangor University's Dr Leila Salisbury.
In the keynote address, Professor Tilbury and Dr Ryan emphasised the importance of flexibility in teaching practices as a way of developing students' ability to challenge the world around them.
Speaking about the conference, Director of L&IS, Paul Riley said:
"This conference provided a fantastic opportunity for university staff to share best practice in an area that it is becoming increasingly important across higher education.
"I would like to thank staff in both departments for working together to identify this as a key area and developing such a successful event."
Dean of Learning and Teaching, Dr Colleen Connor added:
"Student engagement is a critical area within higher education and this conference explored related topics of online communities, flexible learning and collaborative provision amongst other areas.
"Looking ahead to the future, we hope to build upon the knowledge that was shared on the day in order to further improve how academics engage with students."