In preparation for our upcoming Learning and Teaching Forum here at the University of Sydney Business School, we introduce this year’s theme of ‘joy’.
Challenge and reward
Learning and teaching in higher education can be both a challenging and rewarding experience for educators and students alike. Whilst memories of teaching and learning during the pandemic may be drifting into the distant past, most of us can clearly remember the stress and anxiety created by the sudden pivot to remote ‘working’. However, as many universities are returning to face-to-face classes, educators, learning designers, administration and management alike are beginning to feel the joy of seeing students milling around the corridors and learning in the physical classroom once again.
As educators, we have the privilege of sharing our knowledge and experiences with students and watching them grow and develop as learners. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing students engage with the materials and ideas we present and apply what they have learned to their lives and future careers. Moreover, the joy of teaching can be further enhanced by incorporating technologies and pedagogies that enhance learning outcomes and student engagement. For example, online simulations, group projects working with industry, and authentic case studies can create a more immersive, engaged and interactive learning environment.
Our Keynote speaker this year is Professor Nicola Whitton, Director of the Durham University Centre for Academic Development and Professor of Education. Professor Whitton is a prominent researcher and educator in the field of game-based learning and digital education, currently based at Durham University in the UK. We are excited to hear from her (and you) about ways to bring joy to the classroom through playful learning.
Students can also benefit from the joy of learning, discovering new topics and concepts that inspire them and enhance their intellectual curiosity. Students who are actively engaged in the learning process are more likely to achieve better academic outcomes and develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their careers. This is particularly important in today’s post-digital, fast-paced and ever-changing world, where adaptability and lifelong learning have become essential skills. In our Learning and Teaching Forum this year we will also have a panel of students discussing with us the joys they experience in their studies.
We know that the COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented challenges for both educators and students with disruptions to known ways of teaching and learning. Now, as many universities are returning to face-to-face classes, there is a renewed sense of joy and excitement. The physical classroom can provide a richly interactive and engaging learning environment. Moreover, the classroom setting allows educators to use a wider range of teaching strategies and pedagogies, such as group discussion, peer assessment, and experiential learning, that can be harder (though not impossible) to achieve in online learning environments. Professor Peter Bryant has recently published a series of blog posts calling us to reimagine the large lecture and introduces ways to bring back joy to that setting. In what ways have you found joy in your teaching?
We welcome you to join us in our quest for (re)discovering the joy of learning and teaching in higher education. A multifaceted experience that involves a range of emotions and interactions. The challenges and stress created by the COVID-19 pandemic have been significant, but the joy of returning to the physical classroom provides educators with a renewed sense of purpose and passion. As we move forward, it is important to continue to incorporate innovative and effective pedagogies that enhance the learning experience and promote academic success for all students. Through sharing our practices, educators and students can create more engaging and dynamic learning environments that inspire joy and curiosity for years to come. We welcome your contributions and attendance in this year’s Learning and Teaching Forum. See here for more details and contact us with any questions.
About the author
Associate Professor Elaine Huber has been designing curriculum and teaching adults for over 20 years and is currently the Academic Director of the Business Co-Design team at the University of Sydney.