Programme of events

The Teaching Innovation and Learning Enhancement (TILE) Hub at Staffordshire University is excited to announce their first annual conference on the theme of "Rethinking Learning: Embracing Innovation for a Dynamic Future" at our Stoke on Trent campus. 

This conference will provide an opportunity for educators, key influencers and researchers to share their work within the wider community of practice on the latest developments within the rapidly changing sector of Education in the forms of presentations, workshops, symposia and much more; giving sector updates, allowing you to inform students about their future higher education options and career landscape.

The event is taking place at Staffordshire University, The Catalyst, Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DF.

Register for this event
9:00am – 9:30amRegistration/ Refreshments 
9:30am – 9:45am


Welcome to the TILE inaugural conference 

Professor Annabel Kiernan, Pro Vice Chancellor - Academic

Nick Dearden, Director of Learning and Teaching

9:45am – 10:30am

Morning Keynote:

Beyond Blended – New Definitions, Principles and Resources

Join online

Sarah Knight, Head of Learning and Teaching Transformation, Jisc
10:30am – 10:40am  Refreshments  
10:45am – 11:45am  Concurrent Session A Please select from the Concurrent Session Proforma 
11:50am – 12:50pm  Concurrent Session B Please select from the Concurrent Session Proforma 
12:50pm – 1:30pm  Lunch, Networking, and Talent Show  
1:30pm – 2:30pm  Concurrent Session C Please select from the Concurrent Session Proforma 
2:35pm – 3:20pm

Afternoon Keynote:

Making Digital Transformation Achievable

Join online

Sarah Knight Head of Learning and Teaching Transformation, Jisc
3:20pm – 3:45pm  Summary & Formal Close

Nick Dearden, Director of Learning and Teaching

Anshul Lau, Team Lead - TILE Hub

Lisa Bach, Communities Engagement Manager

3:45pm – 4:30pm  Meet the exhibitors/ Networking and Drinks  
 4:30pm   Conference Close  
Concurrent Sessions
Session type Paper Presentations (30mins each) Nano Presentations (15mins each) Workshop 1 (50mins) Workshop 2 (50mins) 
Location CA103/104 Catalyst Gallery
(Ground Floor)

Learning Market
(2nd Floor)

Online joining link (Microsoft Teams) Join online Join online Join online Join online

Session A

10:45am – 11:45am

Overcoming local issues: collaborating with a local charity to develop a new psychology module, Dan Herron and Megan Birney, Staffordshire University 

How to prepare your learners for an AI-powered future? Swati Virmani, De Montfort University 

ChatGPT in the classroom, Sam Lau, Hong Kong Baptist University 

Innovating for Inclusion: Disability, Nick Heywood, Staffordshire University 

Overcoming challenges in pursuit of Teaching Innovation, Adele Cushing, Birkbeck University 

Wider Reading in Further Education, Andrew Barker, City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College 

 aCARDemics - From Dubious Copyright Infringement to Hyper-Flexible Development & Teaching Framework Philip Cooke, Staffordshire University  New Ways of Delivering Creative Writing Nik Perring, Never Such Innocence 

Session B

11:50am – 12:50pm

Inclusive module delivery: Facilitating student integration through innovative engagement methods, Kathryn Mitchell, Staffordshire University

Storytelling with Lego Serious Play – Anshul Lau, Staffordshire University

Picture in Picture - Video in Recorded Lectures, Sean Wheatley, Staffordshire University

Enhancing Student Engagement Through Interactive Audience Participation, Ethan Butler, Vevox

Duck to water or fish out of water? The importance of an induction offer to foster a sense of belonging and empower teaching excellence, Sarah Rhodes, Staffordshire University

Real Clients: A Proposed Pedagogy for Live Projects in Architectural Education, Islam Abohela, Staffordshire University

Neuroscience for online learning, Lorna Uden Staffordshire University Design Active Cognitive Tasks for your Students, Mary Jacob Aberystwyth University

Session C

1:30pm – 2:30pm

 An introduction to Generative AI, John Hendy, Staffordshire University 

Developing a Framework of Support for Apprentices in the Workplace, John Wheeler, Staffordshire University 


Save Time by Automating Admin: Case Study and Guided Tour, Anthony Hadley Staffordshire University Student Union


Unity- Why stay local?, Lisa Bach Staffordshire University, Rachel Brookes Harper Adams University, Scott Walker Keele University 

Minecraft Virtual Library, Jodie Heap, Staffordshire University 

Detailed Abstracts: Presentations and Workshops

Beyond Blended – New Definitions, Principles and Resources  

Keynote: Sarah Knight , Head of Learning and Teaching Transformation, higher education at Jisc

Over the past 2 years, Jisc has undertaken a research review, survey and consultation with the UK HE sector to expand understanding of how approaches to curriculum and learning design are evolving. We contend that in 2023, almost all learning is in fact blended, and what the sector needs is a more nuanced understanding of different elements of the ‘blend’, and how they meet different curriculum challenges and learning needs. Leadership in curriculum and learning design must move ’beyond blended’ to meet expectations around flexibility, accessibility, and inclusion. This presentation will share the outcomes from this research and also offer delegates the opportunity to explore resources to support their practice. 

Making digital transformation achievable - critical foundations for success  

Keynote: Sarah Knight , Head of learning and teaching transformation, higher education at Jisc

UK universities are facing significant disruption due to the economic crisis and limited resources, along with the impact of COVID-19 on staff and student wellbeing. One of the ways the sector is responding to challenges and disruption is by revisiting their strategies for digital. The complexities and scale of higher education institutions (HEIs) present challenges to achieving ambitious digital strategies. Using the Educause definition of digital transformation (Educause 2020), we have worked with UK higher education and sector organisations, to codevelop a framework and maturity model for digital transformation for senior leaders, managers and change agents. This presentation will introduce the framework and the accompanying maturity model for digital transformation and  discuss how universities are using these resources to support their digital developments. 

New ways of delivering creative writing

Nik Perring, Author/creative writing practitioner at Never Such Innocence 

Award winning author and screenwriter Nik Perring will share new and exciting ways of delivering creative writing to all age groups. Exercises and solutions for wider engagement; inspirational and aspirational ways-in that will develop communication skills and confidence - taking the worry out of writing.   

Principal themes of session- Creative writing; poetry; communication; confidence.

Neuroscience for online learning

Lorna Uden, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Computing at Staffordshire University 

The demand for online learning has accelerated throughout the world since the pandemic. Using technology to teach is new to many educators and many found it difficult to know how to design effective teaching for students to learn. Content knowledge must not be used in isolation from technology. Teaching online is a complicated because it requires many different specialised areas of knowledge.  

Effective teaching depends on flexible access to integrated knowledge from different domains such as student thinking and learning, subject matter, and technology for online learning. The technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) framework is increasing in use by educators around the world who are interested in issues related to technology integration. Good teaching with technology requires a shift in existing pedagogical and content domains.  

Teachers need to have a coherent knowledge about, pedagogy, content, and technology. The three knowledge bases (content, pedagogy, and technology) form the core of the technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK) framework.  

The main advantages of TPACK are that it allows teachers to examine and reflect on their practice and how technology is integrated in the classroom and recognises the critical interaction between content, pedagogy, and technology. The main limitation of TPACK is that it does not describe how teachers may develop strengths in each of its components because teachers may not have the same content knowledge, pedagogical skill, and technology awareness. It is important that we develop approaches that help teachers to develop the necessary skills. Recent research in educational neuroscience provides us with new insights to promote students’ learning.  

It is my belief that by incorporating principles from neuroscience provides us insights, understanding and improved approaches to effective TPACK. Incorporating principles from educational neuroscience would help to bridge the gaps in the necessary skills required for effective TPACK implementation. A framework for teachers to use is proposed in this paper. 

Principal themes of session- TPACK, online learning, pedagogy, educational neuroscience, framework.

Design active cognitive tasks for your students 

Mary Jacob, Lecturer in Learning & Teaching, Aberystwyth University. Primarily responsible for the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PGCTHE) 

Active Cognitive Tasks (ACTs) are one approach to incorporating active learning in your teaching. Evidence shows that students learn best when they are actively engaged in the learning process. In this interactive workshop, we begin with a brief description of ACTs and how they can help your students learn. We will then collect your real teaching scenarios and work together to design ACTs for some of them.  

Participants will need access to a PC, laptop, or mobile device in order to collaborate on the shared document for this part of the activity. We will also share resources and references you can use when incorporating active learning into your own teaching. The workshop draws upon the following article: Jacob, Mary (2023), ‘Active Cognitive Tasks: Synthesising frameworks for active learning online’, in Wendy Garnham and Isobel Gowers eds. Active Learning in Higher Education: Theoretical Considerations and Perspectives, SEDA Focus series (Routledge). 

Principal themes of session- active learning, interaction, learning design, collaboration.

Wider reading in Further Education

Andrew Barker, Director of TLA, City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College 

This nano presentation will explore simple tech based solutions to support wider reading amongst students in Further Education. There is a specific focus on Geography,  however the technology can be used across all disciplines. 

Principal themes of session- reading, literacy.

Minecraft Virtual Library

Jodie Heap, Academic Librarian and Skills Tutor, Staffordshire University 

The Minecraft Virtual Library project was created as a tool to support students in accessing the many resources and support paths available to students whilst studying at Staffordshire University. 

Studying at university can be really overwhelming and this includes software fatigue, where you have to learn how to use lots of new programs and systems. So after some research it was decided that one way to help would be to place the links to the library within a familiar and (potentially) fun location, the Minecraft Virtual Library! 

By attending this session participants will learn about and play in the Minecraft Virtual Library. We will then discuss thoughts, feelings and potential applications of the Minecraft Library within the teaching and educational practice within your respective areas. 

Principal themes of session-Information, Literacy, Minecraft, Virtual, Digital.

Overcoming challenges in pursuit of Teaching Innovation

Adele Cushing, Senior digital education consultant, Birkbeck, University of London 

How do we prepare for global technological milestones in traditional education settings? What skills do our colleagues and students require? How can we aim to get ahead to mitigate the risk of falling way behind? This presentation identifies imminent opportunities, calls out the challenges we face, and draws on experience to further enable our pursuit of Teaching Innovation. This will be a hybrid presentation using Mentimeter to involve the audience and share ideas. 

Principal themes of session-digital skills, artificial intelligence, future proof.

Real Clients: A Proposed Pedagogy for Live Projects in Architectural Education

Islam Abohela, Course Leader, Architecture, Staffordshire University 

This talk discusses a new approach to live projects in architectural education through recruiting real clients for architecture students. It aims to identify the impact of interaction between students and real clients on the design process within an educational context.  

The talk presents the outcomes of a design project designed by Level 4 students who were asked to design a dream home for a specific client. Clients were assigned to students randomly from Staffordshire University Staff members who expressed interest in taking part in this project. Different stakeholders were interviewed and collected data was analysed to assess the impact of introducing real clients to architectural design projects compared to live projects. Results suggest positive impact on the design process and the outcomes of the proposed project. 

Principal themes of session- Architecture, Clients, Pedagogy, Live Projects.

Picture in Picture - Video in Recorded Lectures

Sean Wheatley, Lecturer in Health, Science and Wellbeing , Staffordshire University 

As blending learning embeds itself in higher education post-pandemic and lectures move beyond the traditional PowerPoint supported format, academics are increasingly involved in the production of multimedia lectures. Whilst there is a broad range of disciplines and methods producing these lectures, they all face issues of engagement.  

A project was undertaken using embedded video to increase engagement with students asked for their experience and perceptions of the content with a view to understanding its impact on engagement. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 8 learners who are undergraduates on a professional healthcare degree course.  

Learners had to have viewed the 4 asynchronous pieces of content which utilised a variety of methods including one with embedded video content. The interviews were conducted using an online platform with automatic transcription which was then coded in NVivo and subject to thematic analysis.  

Three main themes were drawn from the data with a total of seven sub themes underlying them. The three main themes were Visual Impact, Diversification of Content and Student Use of Asynchronous Content. Whilst learners felt that the embedded visual content was beneficial to their engagement that this was only the case when it was contextually appropriate and that when used inappropriately it could overload or confuse the viewer. Learners also reflected on factors such as the narrator’s impact and the asynchronous contents place within a blended curriculum as factors to their engagement. 

Principal themes of session- Asynchronous, Video, Visual, Engagement, Multimedia.

Developing a Framework of Support for Apprentices in the Workplace

Tina Allen, Course Director, Staffordshire Business School 

Whilst undertaking their apprenticeship, an apprentice will spend around 80% of their time in the workplace, both undertaking tasks associated with their role and putting into practice the knowledge and skills that they are developing on the apprenticeship. Education and training providers have well-established systems to support learners on their educational journey, but often in the workplace the roles and capacities of those intended to provide support for them have less clarity and may be less well-defined. We will present evaluations of workplace support that we have undertaken to date and initiatives that have been put in place to support learners through upskilling workplace mentors and others involved in the apprenticeship journey, all of which builds towards our goal of developing a comprehensive framework of support for apprentices in the workplace. 

Principal themes of session: apprenticeship apprentice workplace mentor support.

Unity- Why Stay local?

Lisa Bach (Staffordshire University), Rachel Brookes (Harper Adams University), Scott Walker (Keele University) 

This round-table session launches the collaborative project UNIty between the Schools and Colleges teams from Staffordshire University, Harper Adams, and Keele University. The teams will be exploring how the three Higher Education institutions in the region can provide educators and key influencers meaningful and strategic interventions for young learners in their local areas. 

Principal themes of session: aspiration, education, outreach, recruitment, cost of living.

Storytelling with Lego Serious Play

Anshul Lau, Team Lead - Teaching Innovation and Learning Enhancement Hub, Staffordshire University

This session would engage participants in building their skills as a ‘storyteller’ using Lego Serious Play (LSP). It would enable participants – teachers, researchers, professional colleagues – to reflect on their subject area/ field of interest/ research ideas/ work experience through a critical dialogue. LSP would provide a catalyst for building foundations of storytelling. Both LSP and storytelling as learning and teaching strategies promote community building, networking, sense-making and self- awareness; this session would aim to combine such common characteristics of both strategies. We would talk about rethinking one’s approaches, whether it is related to teaching or research, to allow one’s strengths to make way into current practice.

aCARDemics - From Dubious Copyright Infringement to Hyper-Flexible Development & Teaching Framework

Ross Wilson, Esports Lecturer & Level 5 Lead Staffordshire University 

aCARDemics is a hyper-flexible teaching and development framework that incorporates Gamification, Phenomenon Based, Experiential, and Wonder Learning to create highly motivated learners or developers and foster creative ideation. In this workshop, we give you a chance to take part in aCARDemics, explain our ongoing development of the concept, and some of the more 'creative' solutions our students have come up with! 

Principal themes of session: Gamification, Wonder-Learning, Engagement, Creativity, development.

Inclusive module delivery: Facilitating student integration through innovative engagement methods

Dr Mohammad Ali Wasim, Lecturer Staffordshire Business School, Staffordshire University 

Research paper exploring EDI, focusing on overcoming barriers including disabilities, learning needs, international integration and social demographics. Presenting techniques linking to academic performance and the graduate outcomes. This is a practical working paper. 

Principal themes of session: EDI, Social Inclusion, Academic Performance, Technology Enhanced Learning, Innovative Learning.

Innovating for Inclusion: Disability

Nick Heywood, Administrative Assistant: Planning, Staffordshire University 

Presentation on the importance of inclusive teaching for disabled people. He will provide key statistics and recommendations to improve their learning experience and increase stakeholder value. 

Principal themes of session: Disability, Inclusion, Education, Innovation, Value.

ChatGPT in the classroom: Fostering student engagement and critical thinking in team-based learning

Sam Lau, Principal Lecturer, Hong Kong Baptist University 

This seminar presents the use of ChatGPT in the classroom for fostering active student engagement and critical thinking in team-based learning. This seminar will delve into the potential of ChatGPT as a collaborator in team-based learning, highlighting its benefits, and providing insights on the practices for its integration into the classroom. Educators and teachers alike will gain insights into using ChatGPT in the classroom to promote active learning and critical thinking. 

Principal themes of session: ChatGPT; Active student engagement; Critical thinking; Team-based learning; Collaborative learning.

How to prepare your learners for an AI-powered future? 

Swati Virmani, Senior Lecturer; De Montfort University 

AI is already delivering wide societal benefits, and under right conditions it can transform all areas of life, drive productivity, unleash innovation, create new jobs and improve workplace. We still are yet to see AI reach its full potential. While we capitalise benefits, we should not overlook risks and wider concerns about potential bias and discrimination - the need is to get AI right. Much of the debate in education so far has been about ChatGPT, portrayed as a tool for content creation, and the worry being that it can produce essays/ coursework to pass exam. The question however no longer is whether to ban or not, but how to use it effectively and appropriately - how to shift the focus of education towards critical thinking and bigger questions. How can we create new educational standards to respond to ChatGPT/ Gen AI in a more meaningful way. Importantly, there is a need to build a bridge between academia and industry to work with businesses to capitalise on the opportunities presented by AI. This is particularly needed to ensure our learners have an understanding of advanced digital skills, future working standards and mindset, and we discover strategic advantages for minorities and under-represented groups. 

Principal themes of session: AI, ChatGPT, Critical thinking, Minorities, Personalised learning.

Enhancing Student Engagement Through Interactive Audience Participation

Ethan Butler, Customer Success Manager at Vevox

Discover the power of Vevox, the leading audience engagement platform for educators. Through anonymous interactive polling, Q&A sessions, and surveys, Vevox transforms passive learning into an active and participatory experience. Students can instantly respond, share opinions, and ask questions in real-time, fostering deeper comprehension and collaborative discussions. Attendees of our presentation will have the opportunity to win a re-usable Vevox branded bamboo coffee cup. Join us as we explore how Vevox enhances student engagement and creates vibrant learning environments.

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021