Perspectives on the SFDN 2018 Conference

Last week, we had the annual Swiss Faculty Development Network (SFDN) Mini-Conference at the University of Lucerne/University of Teacher Education Lucerne.  This network is great to be involved with as it allows you to connect with like-minded individuals who are quite often working in similar contexts and facing similar challenges.  Some of my strongest professional relationships have emerged from this network.  For more information on SFDN, take a look at their website.

This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Dilly Fung from the University of Central London.  She spoke about her most recent work – A Connected Curriculum.  The book is a free resource and you can download it here.  It was inspiring to meet this exceptional individual who has spent her career working to advance educational development and to promote the notion of open access and resources.  A few reflections:

  1. Expose students to enquiry-based learning from the start.  Learners need to be learn how to think and how to formulate questions and come up with meaningful ideas and contributions.  They need to possess fundamental knowledge, but the enquiry aspects need to happen from the start and build as the learners progress.
  2. Reflect on the meaning of “research.”  As academics, we tend to have firm beliefs about scientific research and our work in this area.  Perhaps we can consider broadening our views and highlight enquiry, particularly when it comes to student learning.
  3. Collaboration and Exchange –  a constant re-appearing theme.  No matter how much we might enjoy working alone, there are shifting expectations in all areas of life about where, when, and how we collaborate with others.

As the SFDN gears up for the International Consortium for Educational Development conference in Zurich in 2020, I am sure that this network will continue to exchange ideas about this topic and consider the benefits of a more connected curriculum.

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