Starting conversations that matter

S Hirst, C Jeffs, B Paris
2017 Papers on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching   unpublished
The 2017 University of Calgary Conference on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching took place May 2 to 3 with the theme Conversations that Matter; its goal was "to provide an opportunity for academic staff, students, staff and post-doctoral scholars to share, critically examine and build on our own collective knowledge of teaching and learning." Collected in this second volume of Papers on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching are some of the conversations from this conference. This volume carries
more » ... his volume carries on a conversational tradition that began in postsecondary education long ago. Postsecondary education is as old as the pyramids of Egypt; the oldest existing and continually operating academic institution in the world is the University of Karueein, founded in 859 AD in Fez, Morocco (Berkley, 2007). The University of Bologna, Italy, was founded in 1088 and is the oldest one in Europe, while the oldest university in the North America is Harvard, established in 1636. The conversations that began in these institutions continue in postsecondary sites today. Having conversations about teaching is part of our day-today academic lives. As teachers, we discuss pedagogical trends and their suitability to our classrooms, we debate the value of online learning versus campus based classes, and we argue in curriculum meetings about the selection and leveling of content. As researchers, we regularly present to colleagues the findings of our latest study and the associated implications for education. The dawning of this century brought its acceptance as a knowledge era with unique challenges and postsecondary education must assume a primary role in addressing them. In other words, how can we harness the power of academic teaching and learning conversations to bring awareness, knowledge, life, and action to address some of these challenges? Presented in this volume are nine diverse conversations that began at the 2017 Conference and contribute to an informed knowledge base for teaching and learning within postsecondary education. These are important conversations that will help the reader move forward, whether you are searching for strategies to grow as a teacher, new interactive teaching tool possibilities, or for professional development. The first conversation is from Dyjur, Lindstrom, Arguera, and Bair who discussed the use of mental health and wellness as a framework for course design. They provided a framework for promoting mental health and wellness that transcends mandated course content. The next conversation is my own article with LeNavenec and Stares, focusing on the interplay of lifelong learning and professional competency to practice. Competency is a topic of great interest to teachers in practice disciplines, particularly health and human care disciplines such as nursing. Carpenter and Sullivan describe a collaborative learning activity piloted in a first-year chemistry course. They found that inquiry-driven interactive technology contributed to meaningful student conversations and learning. The conversation then turns to interdisciplinary communities of practice (CoP) within postsecondary institutions in an article by Wilson-Mah and Walinga. They applied an action