SCHOMS16: learning spaces toolkit to be unveiled

Landmark publication on learning spaces to be officially unveiled at SCHOMS16

A landmark publication on learning spaces is set to be officially unveiled at SCHOMS16 – the annual conference that brings together senior higher education managers leading a range of educational and technology support services across
the UK.

The UK Higher Education Learning Space Toolkit: a SCHOMS, AUDE and UCISA collaboration will be launched during the three-day conference at the University of Bath from June 28-30.

It will be the prelude to several presentations and development sessions that, according to SCHOMS chair Paul Wood, will provide “a fantastic opportunity to share good practice, network and keep abreast of the latest developments in the sector.”

As its title suggests, the Toolkit is a collaboration between three professional associations – SCHOMS, AUDE and UCISA – and includes guidance for Audiovisual, IT and Estates teams on 

  • managing a learning space project;
  • working with professional advisors;
  • considerations for particular types of learning space;
  • using learning technologies;
  • the evaluation of learning spaces; and 
  • changing working practices.

SCHOMS Exec member Caroline Pepper, Learning Environments Manager at Loughborough University and one of the members of the Toolkit steering group, said: “The Toolkit raises awareness of innovation and best practice throughout the sector, and helps encourage institutions to consider a collaborative approach in the development of learning spaces.”

SCHOMS16 will be opened by Professor Steve Egan, Vice President of Implementation at the University of Bath, and feature a presentation on audio issues by Shane Cryer, education concept developer at acoustics systems manufacturers Ecophon.

Representatives of the host University will provide the leaders for two sessions – Amanda Wylie, staff development manager, for a session on staff development; and Dr John Troyer, a lecturer in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences and a director of its Centre for Death and Society, for a session on technology.

A representative of the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges is being lined up to talk about sustainability.

The UK’s largest suppliers exhibition with a single HE focus will provide the centrepiece for the second day – attracting a new high of 32 exhibitors, an increase of seven on last year.

Corresponding presentations will be given by: Professor Nigel John from the University of Chester on the academic application of technology – focusing on his work in designing a virtual environment for training medical procedures; Marc Poffrey of Crestron UK on technology and Sarah Davies of JISC on digital capabilities; Matthew Green and Jon Rhodes from the University of Wolverhampton on the development of its Science Centre; and Rob Hyde from the University of Bath on its LITEbox development. 

On the closing day, Chris Lavelle and Sarah Carless from SCHOMS will provide an update of the agreement with InfoComm International – the leading trade association for the professional audiovisual industry worldwide – which gave SCHOMS UK institutions membership of InfoComm and access to both free online training and discounted advanced training.

Delegates will also share their experiences of lecture capture in a session led by Tessa Rogowski from the University of Essex and Sheila Egan from City University. This session will also be used to elicit ideas for the 2016–17 bursary to identify common challenges across institutions that need to be addressed. 

Terry Coe, president of SCHOMS’ Australian counterpart organisation Audiovisual & Educational Technology Managers (AETM) will deliver an overseas perspective before the parting message from Mark Burden of the Welsh Video Network on initiatives such as its pilot project to connect Lync (Skype for Business) with traditional standards-based video conferencing.

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