Report on the JISC Change Agents Network Conference CAN 2019 (29-30 May)

Apologies for cross posting – JISC annual Change Agents Network conference – lots of ideas and resources to share
== from JISCs blog==

An inspirational two days at CAN 2019 (29-30 May)

Hosted by the Open University in their 50th anniversary year and with the theme of the evolving landscapes of student-staff partnerships – CAN 2019 had much to celebrate:

  • It was the 7th annual event – building on the initial project and network conferences hosted by Jisc, the universities of Lincoln, Exeter and Winchester
  • 250 delegates – both days were sold out!
  • A high percentage of student presenters – a ratio of approximately 60:40 staff and students gave the event energy and purpose and really exemplified the value of working together

We were welcomed and supported throughout the two days by the OU student association’s team of enthusiastic conference makers.

“CAN – a network of people, who aren’t just working together but who are constantly sharing their practice and being really practical about that. What I really love about the CAN community is that you are not afraid to talk about what goes wrong – because we know lots of stuff goes wrong. But we also have things going right all the time and it is a good idea to share that as much as possible.”

Liz Ellis, conference organiser for CAN 2019, The Open University

Inspiring keynotes

  • ‘StudyTuber’ Ruby Granger gave us a thoughtful opening presentation. Her honesty in sharing her concerns about going to university and her commitment to sharing study tips and in offering social support and reassurance is impressive. Watch a recording of Ruby’s presentation at CAN 2019 (opens in new window).
  • Julian Stodd’s (opens in new window) closing keynote on Adapting for the social age: the evolution of education and the challenges of change provided great food for thought at the end of day 1 and challenged us to think about the eco systems of organisations, trust, why change is so hard and how engagement is more social than contractual.

“Technology in and of itself is great, but it is what technology enables which is of much more interest. Where does technology take us? I think it takes us into evolved modes of being, evolved ways of being in the world. It lets us be together in different ways.”

Julian Stodd, Sea Salt Learning
  • Scott Hayden from Basingstoke College of Technology talked about co-designing and innovating with students. He shared the digital journey that he has led at the college and outlined the many ways that students contribute, giving numerous practical examples of digital pedagogy that empower and engage students and help them to learn. Collaboration and sharing are key tenants of Scott’s practice – watch the recording (opens in new window) of his presentation.

“Whether you are a child care teacher, whether you are teaching engineering or travel and tourism, it is my job to help you to use digital technology in a meaningful and relevant way. It has to be relevant, it has to be tied to students’ future careers and the skills set they are going to have to have to be employable in the future.”

Scott Hayden, Basingstoke College of Technology
  • The traditional student panel session preceded the closing keynote from Liz Marr, pro vice chancellor for students at the OU. Her reflections on ‘Just trying to keep the customer satisfied: student experience and student voice in a marketised higher education environment’ challenged us to question some of the terms we use, rethink perceptions and really think about what we mean and what is important. The recording of the student panel and Liz’s presentation are available here (opens in new window).

Workshops, presentations and posters

There was a wealth and great variety in the workshops, presentations and posters available to participants – something for everyone as you can see from the themes highlighted in the graphic recorder’s impression of conference activity.

The graphic recorder captured the themes that were explored throughout the two days.

All presentations are available to download from GoogleDrive (opens in new window).


Jisc’s summer hackathon took place at the conference this year. Seven teams participated in the hackathon developing ideas around supporting health and well being, using AI for learning and implementing the intelligent campus. Congratulations to the winning teams from UCL and the University of Hull – find out more from the edtech launchpad blog (opens in new window).

Jisc are already planning the next hackathion event, so keep an eye on the Get Involved page  for future events. and you still have until 31 July to enter ideas to the edtech challenge competitions.

Journal of education, innovation, partnership and change

Volume 5, of the journal of education, innovation, partnership and change entitled ‘Championing student-staff partnership in a time of change’ was launched at the conference dinner – the online version will be available soon. Presenters from this year are invited to contribute to the next edition.

Join us for CAN 2020

We hope to see you for CAN 2020 which will be hosted by Birmingham City University. Join the mailing list (opens in new window) to receive announcements and updates.

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