Our first day of the Festival of Learning and Teaching focused on 'Competition vs Collaboration'. Competition is a powerful force in HE culture. From international competition between institutions to the competitive mindsets between students, it influences norms, values and practices on multiple levels. What are the pedagogical implications of competition for students’ learning? How can we prepare students to be versed in individual academic merit and endeavour for a more collaborative approach to learning at university? How does competition fit with the value we place on collaboration, as embodied by the Imperial Graduate Attributes? And how might our institutional and disciplinary cultures (and sub-cultures) influence student preparedness for life after university? 


09.30 - Welcome Speech

Welcome speech by Professor Martyn Kingsbury, Director, Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship

09.45 - Keynote session

cath bishop keynote speakerThe Long Win: Redefining Success and Competition in Education
Dr Cath Bishop, Olympic rowing medallist, former diplomat, author of 'The Long Win' and leadership coach
FLT 2022 - The long win - redefining success and competition in education [pdf]

Cath's talk explored how traditional views and measures of success can actually constrain performance in education, sport and society. Drawing on first-hand experience of 'competitive' environments from Olympic sport to education to the military, Cath analysed how our definitions of success drive the way we think, behave and interact. When success is defined largely around competition, then learning, collaboration and performance can suffer.

11.00 - Parallel session 1

1a: Culture, connection and innovation in learning and teaching 
Leila Guerra, Vice Dean (Education), Business School

The focus on community and connection has become more critical to higher education than ever before. We've also seen the nearly ubiquitous integration of digital technologies at the heart of the learning and teaching experience. How can we best support students to navigate the perceived competitive culture at Imperial in a way that nurtures their individual development and collaborative skills, and that prepares learners to become culturally and technologically skilled leaders? In this presentation, Leila will share her insights and perspectives as Associate Dean for Imperial College Business School. 

1b: Joining the dots: making connections by drawing from the slow movement in the classroom
Dr Elizabeth Hauke, Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication
FLT 2022 - Joining the dots: making connections by drawing from the slow movement in the classroom [pdf]

With practical examples from the Change Makers classrooms in the last academic year, this talk will explore questions that probe at the values of the slow movement – taking time to create connections with people, place and life. What is most important in the higher education classroom – nature or nurture? How are relationships relevant to optimising individual performance? How can we harness competitive spirit to thrive together?

11.30 - Parallel session 2

2a: Space to collaborate? Exploring student engagement with transitional space
Dr Luke McCrone, Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship 
FLT 2022 - Space to collaborate - Exploring student engagement with transitional space [pdf]

Students are navigating an increasingly transitional space: between home and campus, between online and in-person and between timetabled and non-timetabled learning. This presentation draws on recent CHERS research in which undergraduate student learning behaviour was observed in traditional and redesigned campus learning spaces. The findings have supported an understanding of the impact of the physical space on active learning approaches and student sense of belonging. Looking at how students engage with transitions within an increasingly hybrid approach to learning may help us to better understand the implications of these transitional spaces for competition and collaboration. 

2b: Utilising challenging assessment to develop collaborative team working skills in medical students 
Dr Christopher John (Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction) and Dr Deepak Barnabas (Faculty of Medicine Centre) 
FLT 2022 - Utilising challenging assessment to develop collaborative team working skills in medical students [pdf]

The ability of future doctors to work effectively in teams is essential to ensure good clinical outcomes. Clinical & Scientific Integrative cases (CSI) is an innovative module within our new medical curriculum with a core aim to improve our students collaborative team working skill. CSI utilises contemporary digital resources to deliver a collaborative case-based learning (CBL) component, paired with a team-based learning (TBL) component that incorporates both learning and programmatic assessment. Our survey data demonstrate that the use of challenging team-based assessments improves student self-efficacy in several aspects of team working as well as developing an appreciation of the attributes of other team members. 

Event programme tab 2

13.00 - Parallel session 3

3a: Inclusivity in collaborative learning: the impact of identity on LGBTQ+ students in the active learning classrooms of Imperial
Dr Kirsty Flower, Faculty of Medicine
FLT 2022 - Inclusivity in collaborative learning: the impact of identity on LGBTQ+ students in the active learning classrooms of Imperial [pdf]

Increasingly, we use collaborative and active learning techniques to promote participation and learning in our students. In this talk, I will discuss how the views and experiences of LGBTQ+ students at Imperial highlight important aspects to consider for creating effective learning environments for all.

3b: The Imperial Award – earned or won? 
Paulina Kristiansson, Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship 
FLT 2022 - The imperial award - earned or won [pdf]

The Imperial Award encourages personal development through self-reflection, recognising it on the College transcript. In this session, we will explore how this College-wide programme helps students see value in self-discovery, peer-to-peer learning, and collaboration. We will also look at how the Award achievers perceive their experience of participating in the programme. 

13.30 - Parallel session 4

4a: What does a physics student need to do to succeed? The impact of social norms on behaviour and authenticity 
Amy Smith, Department of Physics
FLT 2022 - What does a physics student need to do to succeed - the impact of social norms on behavior and authenticity [pdf]

Social norms for undergraduate students are the informal rules that guide many aspects of students’ behaviour, from study patterns to the ways in which students form relationships with their peers and tutors. What happens, however, when student perceptions of what is expected or acceptable in a situation misalign with their peers' or tutors' perceptions? Or lead to feelings of otherness, competitiveness, and isolation? This presentation discusses PhD research on what perceived social norms exist for physics undergraduate students at Imperial, where these norms originate and the effect that these have on students’ behaviour and authenticity

4b: Collaborative learning across disciplines: the I-Explore STEMM modules approach 
Dr Caroline Clewley, Education Office

The I–Explore programme gives all undergraduate students in College the opportunity to broaden their perspectives and extend their core STEMM educational experience. Within the I-Explore portfolio, the STEMM modules are created for students to collaborate with peers from other STEMM disciplines on complex multidisciplinary problems. Working effectively in diverse teams and gaining insight into the perspectives of people with different backgrounds is key in these modules. This talk will focus on how we foster a collaborative learning culture by placing it centre stage in the module design. 

14.15 - Student panel discussion

Exploring ‘Competitive’ Culture in Learning: Student perspectives 

In this panel discussion, students across disciplines will share insights into their experiences of learning at university, with a particular focus on how ‘competition’ or ‘competitive culture’ might have implications for their approach to learning and engagement. What does competition mean to them? What do they think about competition? How do students navigate competition throughout university life? 

15.15 - Closing speech

Closing speech by Professor Martyn Kingsbury, Director, Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship