Context Matters | A Reflection from the Annual Conference of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL)
December 14, 2023
Susannah McGowan and Noah Martin delivered a presentation at this year’s International Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (ISSOTL) Conference. ISSOTL 2023 was hosted in the Netherlands by Utrecht University, and the theme of the conference was “Context Matters.” Our presentation entitled “Institutional Change” existed within a thematic group (series of 5 presentations in a row) and provided an overview of two courses that the Red House ran in the Spring 2023 semester as models of “third space” learning engagements.
For this presentation, we continued to expand our thinking about where third spaces occur in our work and the implications of third space learning engagements on student learning and institutional change. In the context of higher education, “Third Spaces” can be defined as integrative experiences that bring together academics (faculty, students and staff—the first space) with industry, community and government partners (the second space) to create new sites of interaction that are characterized by:
- Valuing students as partners
- Transcending institutional boundaries
- Addressing complex challenges
Our presentation was the only one in the “Institutional Change” presentation group that included students in thinking about their role in broader institutional changes, which generated a lot of interest from our audience—specifically about how to create opportunities for students to be brought into the work around institutional change. Many of the questions we received were about how to facilitate student engagement to ensure students are appropriately compensated for their time, and supported in the often long term engagement that institutional change can require. We also had some questions and conversation around the following areas:
- The Role of the Red House | There were quite a few questions from the audience about the origin story of the Red House in general, and specifically how the space has enabled opportunities for courses such as UDP and IDP.
- Dismantling Time | There was some discussion about the role of time in student engagement around institutional change—in particular, how we navigate the time bound nature of a single semester.
For additional context on our presentation at ISSOTL you can find our presentation abstract below in the section below.