SEDA Spring Conference 2008

Engaging with Student Expectations

08 May 2008 - 09 May 2008

Location: London

This year the conference will explore staff and educational development through themes linked to engaging with student expectations. What are our students’ expectations on joining our universities and colleges and how does this impact upon the kind of education offered to them and the work we are involved in? To what extent should we be involved in influencing expectations to fit our models of learning and teaching or should we be aiming to be more responsive to learner needs and views? As staff and educational developers, we aim to aid people in understanding the student experience of learning but given the diverse nature of further and higher education, the growing numbers and the complexities of our provision, can we even begin to understand student perspectives? What has been the impact of the National Student Survey or of league tables on your institution and how does your university or college know what students are expecting of the learning and teaching environment? What has changed in your work as a result of responding more actively to students?

This conference aims to explore and debate the issues around engaging with student expectations. In doing so it will touch upon some key topics in staff and educational development and learning and teaching with regard to what, when and how students learn, the role of teachers in shaping and responding to student expectations and the role of students in helping us to understand the processes involved in learning. It also allows us to explore the impact of fees on the relationship of students to their studies and to those who teach them. In keeping with the theme, the conference committee particularly encourages contributions which will include substantial input from students themselves.

Conference Themes

The conference will seek to address the following themes:

  • Student centred learning
  • Involving students in academic professional development
  • Collecting and responding to student views
  • Seeing teaching through the learners' eyes
  • Consumerism and learning


The SEDA Conference Experience

SEDA prides itself on creating a relaxed, welcoming and positive atmosphere at conferences, which encourages open, constructive and supportive sharing of ideas, experience and practice.

Feedback from participants at recent SEDA conferences:

  • "The informal atmosphere made it a pleasant, enjoyable yet very useful conference with plenty of networking opportunities. Thanks!"
  • "Excellent and worthwhile conference, first time at the SEDA conference and I would recomment to others and come back! Thank you. "
  • "Great presentations, relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Fantastic organisation."


The conference will be of particular interest to all those involved in promoting effective change in HE and FE learning, teaching and educational development. This includes:

  • Educational and academic developers
  • Staff developers and human resources personnel
  • Higher Education Academy staff
  • Lecturers and teachers in further and higher education
  • National and institutional teaching fellows
  • Centre for Excellence, Subject Centre and FDTL staff
  • Managers of academic departments
  • Educational technologists
  • Quality assurance and enhancement policy makers

Conference Keynote

This year’s keynote address will be delivered by Stephen J Ball who is the Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education, in the Department of Educational Foundations and Policy Studies and Centre for Critical Education Policy studies, Institute of Education, University of London. He is Editor of the Journal of Education Policy, a member of the Academy of Social Sciences and Fellow of the British Academy.


His main work is in the field of 'policy sociology'; the use of sociological theories and methods to analyse policy processes and outcomes. His specific research interests focus upon the effects and consequences of the education market in a variety of respects including; the impact of competition on provider behaviour; the class strategies of educational choosers; the participation of private capital in education services; and the impact of 'performativity' on academic and social life.

Education services are now the UK's single largest earner of foreign currency, over £28bn in 2005-6. The worldwide value of the market in students is $55bn. Higher education is big business and UK higher education is expanding worldwide. Within all of this the experiences and meaning of teaching and learning and teacher-student relationships are being changed dramatically. The presentation, entitled: Higher Education Plc: the commodification of teachers and learners in the global education market  will discuss these developments and the differential positioning of institutions and students within the global structure of higher education.

Conference Venue

The Royal National Hotel is located in Bloomsbury, London. Fully residential delegates will be accommodated on-site. It is in walking distance of the British Library, the British Museum and Covent Garden and a short distance from Euston and King's Cross Stations and the nearest tube station is Russell Square.

On the evening of Thursday 8th May the Conference Dinner is to be held at the Royal Overseas League in the heart of the West End. The garden backs on to Green Park and is just 400 metres from Buckingham Palace. Weather permitting, the Wine Reception will be held in the garden.

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