Smoothing the move from college to university


The relationship between colleges and universities will be put under the spotlight during a conference at the University of Lincoln.


School pupils, teachers, college students, undergraduates, academics and employers will gather to debate whether the transition between different tiers of education needs to change.


The conference, Learning Landscapes: Working in partnership, working with partner colleges, will take place at the University’s Brayford Pool campus on 14 November.


Findings from the event will feed into the national Learning Landscapes project, which is being led by the University of Lincoln.


Almost £300,000 was awarded earlier this year by the higher education funding councils of England, Wales and Scotland for the project, which explores how the physical environment of universities could be adapted to improve teaching and learning.


Learning Landscapes project director Professor Mike Neary, Dean of Teaching and Learning at the University of Lincoln, said the scope of the study was not restricted to bricks and mortar.


He said: “The Learning Landscapes agenda is about how we can give people a voice to influence the redesign of the campus, not just the built environment but the curriculum as well.

“At the moment I think universities have a lot of assumptions about what happens in schools and colleges. It’s important that we know how students are being taught and what they are being taught.”

The conference will feature a series of workshops running throughout the day where lecturers, students and administrators will highlight specific topics affecting the relationship between educational institutions. Alongside this, there will be group discussions where participants can review issues as they emerge.


Talking points will include the way students’ work is assessed and feedback delivered, how courses can be tailored to provide synergy across educational institutions, and the different experiences of students at school, college and university.


Employers and community organisations will also talk about the link between education and the world of work.


Professor Neary said the aim of the Learning Landscapes project was to generate more challenging and engaging teaching methods which were more inclusive than the traditional format preferred by universities, where knowledge is transmitted through formal lectures.


An example of this is the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Scheme (UROS), which allows undergraduates at the University of Lincoln to participate in research projects.


Professor Neary said: “There needs to be a lot more focus on research and a lot more collaboration between students, researchers and teachers. Students are smart – they are a great underused resource - but this has implications for the architecture of universities. We should not abandon the lecture theatre but we need other types of classroom that are built around engagement and solidarity between the students and the teacher.”


The University of Lincoln Staff and Student Conference 2008 will take place on 14 November 2008. It is entitled Learning Landscapes: Working in partnership, working with partner colleges. All sessions will take place in the EMMTEC and the first floor of the Main Admin Building on the University’s Brayford Pool campus.



Notes to editors -

The University of Lincoln is leading the national project Learning Landscapes: clearing pathways, making spaces – involving academics in leadership, governance and the management of estates in higher education.


The project has been funded with almost £300,000 from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW).


The University of Lincoln is working in partnership with the universities of Glasgow, Loughborough, Queen Mary (London), Newcastle, Oxford Brookes, Reading, Warwick, Wolverhampton and York, as well as the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education.


The University of Lincoln’s partner colleges include Lincoln College, North Lindsey College, Derby College, Brooksby Melton College, Hull College of Art, Stamford College and Grantham College.