The 16th Annual Galway Symposium on Higher Education

Design for Learning (2018)

The theme of the 2018 CELT Symposium was 'Design for Learning'. During the symposium, presenters and participants explored the design and use of teaching and learning spaces, particularly those that facilitate active learning, collaboration, and student engagement. Keynote speakers included Alastair Blyth, Donna Lanclos, and Lorna Campbell.

CELT Conference 2018

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@alastairblyth and 

Alastair Blyth is an architect and research analyst specialising in learning environments and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Architecture at the University of Westminster. A key theme of his work is how the physical environment supports the needs of learning and how to ‘reimagine’ the learning space. Alastair is the co-author of several OECD surveys and policy reviews, including Higher Education Spaces and Places for learning, innovation and knowledge exchange.

Alastair's keynote was titled 'Re-imagining Learning Spaces in Higher Education'. With more students, rapid technological change and digital innovation, pressure on funding, rising costs and changing education demand universities are being forced to rethink their space. It seems a contradiction to suggest that universities have to provide more space yet reduce the amount of it. This keynote presentation will consider some of the key global trends driving change in higher education, the consequences for the space we use and ask what might the university of the future look like?



@DonnaLanclos and

Donna Lanclos is an anthropologist working with ethnographic methods and analysis to inform and change policy in higher education, in particular in and around libraries, learning spaces, and active learning pedagogies and practices. She has conducted fieldwork investigating academic practices in the UK, Ireland, and the US, as part of a team and also as a solo researcher. She regularly presents workshops and talks on issues of digital practices and institutional change.

Donna's keynote was titled 'What do we mean by Active Learning? '. Donna began from her experiences within an organization concerned with setting up the physical environments and then supporting active learning practices on a large university campus. Inherent in institutional turns to “active learning” are questions about pedagogy, space, and the ways in which universities do (or do not) create places for teaching faculty and students to reflect on and implement new practices, not just reproduce the old ones in new spaces. Donna draws on her work in libraries and elsewhere in HE and FE to ask questions about teaching, learning, place and practice, and what it all might mean for educational institutions in a time of financial scarcity and political precarity.



@LornaMCampbell and

Lorna Campbell works for the University of Edinburgh’s OER Service within the Learning, Teaching, and Web Services Directorate, where her work includes strategies for embedding and supporting open education and OER within the institution. Lorna is a Trustee of Wikimedia UK and of the Association for Learning Technology and a member of the Open Knowledge Open Education Working Group Advisory Board. Lorna has twenty years’ experience working in education technology and open education policy and practice. She regularly speaks at academic conferences and workshops and has published widely.

Lorna's keynote was titled 'The Soul of Liberty - Openness, equality and co-creation'. "Equality is the soul of liberty; there is, in fact, no liberty without it.”  - Frances Wright (1795 - 1852).  What do we mean when we talk about openness in relation to digital teaching and learning spaces, resources, communities and practices?  How open and equitable are our open online education spaces and who are they open to? Lorna’s talk focused on open education, OER, open practice, MOOCs, and Wikimedia, exploring the different and sometimes contradictory definitions and understandings of openness in these contexts.  She also highlighted structural inequalities that prevent some groups and individuals from participating in open education and, using innovative examples from the University of Edinburgh, explored how we can engage with students to co-create more equitable, inclusive and participatory open education spaces, communities and resources. 

'The Soul of Liberty: Openness, Equality and Co-creation' - Full text and slides from Lorna's keynote

Reflections on CELT Symposium 2018 - from Lorna's blog



During lunch, a VConnecting session was held with Lorna Campbell, Donna Lanclos, Su-ming Khoo, and Alastair Blythe. A recording of that session is available below, and you can find out more about Virtually Connecting at 


See our CELT18 Timetable for more information about all Symposium sessions.

Links to presentations/workshops

Building a better un-bunker - Hugh Murphy, Maynooth University

Thinking outside the box How nature-based teaching can benefit staff and student - Caitriona Carlin & Gesche Kindermann, NUI Galway

Hacking the Space: Using design thinking to generate innovative solutions to reconfiguring teaching spaces -  Gabe Mullarkey, Paul Flynn & Rachel Hilliard, NUI Galway (Worksheet and slides)

Transition to the new Student Hub at University College Cork - panel of presentations by Briony Supple, Catherine Molloy, Katie Power & Kieran Hurley, UCC