The 12th Annual Galway Symposium

Explore, discover, create'- exploring diverse approaches to teaching and learning in Higher Education

The 12th Annual Galway Symposium

Dates: June 6th 2014

Venue: Áras Moyola, NUI Galway


Conference Overview

'Exploring Diverse Approaches to Teaching and Learning'

In this year’s  Galway Symposium on Higher Education we explored  the   more ’experimental’ aspects of learning, spanning fieldwork, laboratory and practical classes, opportunities for performance. We learnt about the ways in which these not only provide a richer learning experience for students   but also might help bridge the gap between our research interests and our teaching commitments. We heard from speakers within our own institution across a number of disciplines including, the discipline of Zoology, Marine Science, Archaeology, Geography, Astronomy, Engineering , Biochemistry and lastly from the  Centre  for drama and Theatre performance. Within each of these disciplines we heard about the varied  outside of the class room opportunities available to the students to enhance the learning experience within the degree programmes.

We welcomed the  keynote speaker, Dr Helen Walkington from Oxford Brookes University, UK. Helen emphasized the importance of research in undergraduate programmes and the importance of providing opportunities for the students to disseminate their research findings. Using methods such as undergraduate research journals and posters to disseminate their research findings gave the students the full cycle experience of research at undergraduate level preparing them for the longer journey involved in postgraduate research. She highlighted to us some of the successes achieved by undergraduates who engaged in  simple research studies but yielded beneficial and rewarding results

The  Parallel Workshops provided opportunities to see the, Cell Explore Team demonstrate to us, ’How DNA can be extracted from a banana’. A poster session ran with posters exhibited across a number of disciplines. A presentation session took place using the Japanese Pecha Kucha format with a number of speakers presenting their varied experiences in the out of class room activities. Laboratory teaching and fieldwork teaching forums were held where we heard about experiences and frustrations in both of these areas of teaching. Finally a  hands on ’Lego workshop’ took place where participants actively built models as part of the Serious Play activities.

The last but by no means the least part of the symposium took us on  the '  Explore Your Campus' tour around the grounds of NUI Galway. In this tour we explored some sights pertinent to the theme of the symposium. Starting with the  Clinical Skills Labs used in the school of Nursing and Midwifery, followed by  the Archives of the James Hardiman Library which are a wonderful asset to both the school of Humanities and Languages Literatures & Cultures. From there we strolled to the surrounding area of the Quadrangle where we discovered the lush Woodland Tree area with the ’QR’ (Quick Response) bar coded trees used in the disciple of Botany and then to the Geology museum in the Quadrangle where we saw many jewels and artefacts.  The next stop on the tour included the Zoology museum which has over 500 specimens exhibited and is a wonderful source for the discipline of zoology. Finally we visited the Bank of Ireland Theatre located next to Áras na Mac Léinn, used by the students studying drama

Conference Photos

Conference Recordings

"Experimental Learning: Students as Researchers" 
Dr Helen Walkington, HE Academy, Oxford Brookes

"Exploring the Politics and Practice of Fieldwork in Geography"  
Dr Kathy Reilly, NUI Galway  


"Fieldwork in the context of Earth & Ocean Science Training"  
John Murray & Tiernan Henry, NUI Galway  


"Big Projects on small mamals"  
Colin Lawton, NUI Galway  


Muriel Glenon, NUI Galway  


"Performance as Pedagogy, Pedagogy as Outreach"  
Charlotte McIvor, NUI Galway  


"Problem Based Learning and Engineering Design"  
Stephen Nash, NUI Galway  


"All Night Long: Intensive Practical Astronomy Learning at a Professinoal Observatory"  
Ray Butler, NUI Galway