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The Solent Learning and Teaching Community Conference takes place every June, attracting hundreds of delegates from Solent and our south coast neighbours. In 2017 the conversation was focussed on taking risks.

In 2017 the conversation was focussed on taking risks: the life-affirming variety you can attain through education, rather than the life-threatening sort. We have yet to see a keynote delivered during an abseil off the top of the Pod, but that is not to say there is not risk involved!

Risk in education is all about improving life for yourself as an educator, as life for your students as learners. Our keynote speaker, Dr Eylem Atakav from the University of East Anglia, knows all about such risks and the immense rewards they can bring. Her goal is to create opportunities for students to go outside the classroom and off the campus, to engage with the public, the media and policy makers, and create opportunities for themselves. She mediated this through establishing a new module around the representation of Muslim women in the media, and part of the content was generated each week by what had appeared in the news over the last few days.

Risk doesn’t have to be on such a big scale to be effective. Sabine Bohnacker-Bruce, Learning and Teaching Fellow at the University of Winchester, came across pecha kuchas for the first time at SLTCC 2016 and enjoyed them so much she decided to introduce them to her students as a form of assessment.

What’s a pecha kucha? It’s a way of giving a presentation but in a much more dynamic way – they follow a set format of 20 slides, each of which is shown for 20 seconds. The best ones are entirely image-driven, although it’s not as easy as you might think. Find out more from the official site, and maybe give it a go yourself!

We know that the students we teach today are very digitally aware, and they’re looking for programmes that can take them to employment. We want to give our students that crucial edge, whether that’s through innovative teaching practices like virtual or augmented reality, or through the opportunities we’re able to create out of our own research.

What better way to explore that than with 250 colleagues? As Osama Khan, Director of Solent Learning and Teaching Institute says, we are brokers for innovative practice. Be a part of that, and join us at SLTCC 2018.