Leading learning - A’ stiùireadh ionnsachadh

Through this pandemic the university’s proven track record in blended learning and teaching delivery has been in sharp focus but what does the future of learning and education hold?

This event forms part of a series celebrating the university partnership's 10th birthday and will examine how we can help lead our region to a post-COVID recovery.

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Leading learning

In our Leading learning event, which will take the form of a panel discussion with open floor debate, we will be exploring the impact of the pandemic on learning and teaching and the student experience, and discussing and reflecting on the response across the tertiary education sector and within the university. Our attention will then turn to what we have learned since March 2020, and the ways in which we think tertiary education and our digital education practices will now need to develop going forward both generally, and at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

 Our panel speakers include experienced educational leaders, researchers and practitioners from across the university, in addition to our external guest speaker Professor Allison Littlejohn (Director of UCL Knowledge Lab, University College London, and formerly of our own university).

 The event will commence with each of our speakers being invited to present a short provocation, before our discussion is then opened up to the panel and participants.



Professor Keith Smyth, Professor of Pedagogy and Head of the Learning and Teaching Academy 

Keith Smyth is Professor of Pedagogy at the university, and leads the Learning and Teaching Academy. Keith works with colleagues across the university on strategic learning and teaching developments, educational enhancement initiatives and funded projects, and supporting staff to engage in educational research and scholarship. Much of this work is taken forward through the activities of the Learning and Teaching Academy.  

Keith has particular interests in co-creative pedagogies and curriculum models, open education, technology-enhanced learning, educational strategy and policy, and developing pedagogic research and scholarship. He has written and presented widely in these areas, and has undertaken funded projects for organisations including the Higher Education Academy, JISC, Scottish Funding Council and NHS. Keith is also the current Vice-Chair of the Association for Learning Technology 



Professor Allison Littlejohn 

Director, UCL Knowledge LabUniversity College London 

Allison is a learning scientist specialising in professional learning with technology. Her expertise is in applying learning theories to complex interventions for professional learning and development that capitalise on digital technologies. This work spans the energy, health, finance, education, and international development sectors across various countries. 


Professor Frank Rennie, Professor of Sustainable Rural Development, Head of Research and Postgraduate Development 

Frank Rennie is Head of Research and Postgraduate Development and is also Professor of Sustainable Rural Development at Lews Castle College UHI. 

He has special research interests in rural and community development studies, particularly in terms of the impact information and communication technology (ICT) and online learning systems has on rural communities. He also specialises in the relationship between nature conservation and the development of human communities. 

Frank is a founding president of the Scottish Crofters Union and a pioneer in the use of online education. He has had a particular involvement in capacity-building for university staff in several developing countries. 


Anna-Wendy StevensonProgramme Leader for the BA (Hons) Applied Music.  

Anna-Wendy is Senior lecturer and Programme Leader for the University of the Highlands and Island’s innovative BA (Hons) Applied Music degree. A fiddler and composer, she has performed and delivered workshops in traditional Scottish music world-wide and curated and directed events for a wide range of organisations, communities, media groups and festivals in the UK, Canada, USA, Australia and Europe.  She led the traditional music programmes for Lews Castle College in Benbecula, designing and delivering dynamic courses which have produced many of today’s award-winning traditional musicians.  In her role as PL for the networked BAAM, she has developed many community and professional industry partnerships and manages a large cohort of distributed students and teaching staff across the UK. She is engaged in research around building online collaborative learning environments and communities of practice.   

Emilia Marienfeld, a second year BA (Hons)Applied Music student currently studying from her home in Germany.

Emilia grew up on the Isle of Foehr on the west coast of Germany, in a home with influences reaching from songs deep rooted in the Frisian culture on Foehr to Scottish traditional music. During high school she joined the FolkBaltica Ensemble in Denmark and played annual festivals such as the Tonder Festival in Denmark.  This experience took her on her journey to Scotland, where she started studying traditional music at the University of the Highlands and Islands. Through a scholarship she moved to the Isle of Uist, where she immediately felt a strong sense of community, though the music and the language. She recently has been involved in amazing projects and opportunities such as playing Celtic Connections, learning Gaelic and digging deep into the rich Gaelic culture, which she is very keen on developing. The BA (Hons) Applied Music course has already equipped her with many wide-ranging industry relevant skills. Additionally the degree has provided here with a feel of community, togetherness and offers many opportunities to stay connected in times of online learning.




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