Call for proposals: TLC2020

26 August 2020 | DVC A/Prof Lis Lange

Dear colleagues

The year 2020 has turned out in a way none of us could have ever expected. The COVID-19 pandemic pulled UCT lecturers, tutors and professional and support staff rapidly into emergency remote teaching and highlighted the extent of the inequalities across our community. It’s been a rough time and academic and student identities have been under huge strain.

In this period of emergency remote teaching we have had to change where and how we teach. Students have had to face the harsh challenges of what it means to be a student during the current crisis. How we see ourselves is so interwoven with our classroom practices that emergency remote teaching has often shaken our confidence and sense of academic identity. We have survived, and at moments thrived, thanks to the hard work, resilience, ingenuity and compassion that many of us and our students have managed to master.

As we take stock of the new normal and how COVID-19 catapulted us into the future, we can be appreciative of lessons learned and how we can apply these in how we do things. The 2020 Teaching and Learning Conference (TLC2020) provides an opportunity to check in with UCT colleagues, hear about their experiences and those of their students, reflect on what we are becoming and consider ways to transform teaching and learning at UCT during, and well beyond, the pandemic. TLC2020, as our first online conference, will support a range of formal and informal interactions that reaffirm and grow our UCT teaching and learning community, highlight evidence led research in progress, and invite us to think together about the future of teaching and learning at UCT.

What is the conference theme?

The theme for TLC2020 is “Shifting academic identities”. The rollout of emergency remote teaching displaced academics from the classroom and decentred their role in teaching and learning. Many academics had to acquire new skills and overcome a variety of fears and misgivings about online delivery. The levels of support required by students in the context of emergency remote teaching have been much greater than in the usual face to face setting. Academics have responded to these needs in new and inventive ways. All of this has meant an enormous investment of time in teaching. Many academics have remarked that if research is also going to be delivered this level of engagement in teaching and learning is not sustainable. What is the meaning of these experiences for the ways that academics think of themselves, of their fields of expertise, of their relationship with their students and their role at the university? How could/should these experiences influence the manner in which we think about academic identity into the future? How do we shape academic identity in a post-COVID world?

We welcome proposals for presentations, conversations and workshops that highlight hopeful paths to changing academic and student identities and where we are heading during and beyond the current crisis. Our sub-themes are:

  • Engaging the social: what do our attempts to address endemic social challenges highlighted by the emergency remote teaching mean for how we see ourselves as academics and our scope for future action?
  • Curriculum: how do our roles and identities need to change so students can be at the centre of our work? This could include issues of socially responsive and decolonised curricula and new approaches to assessment.
  • Pedagogy: how has emergency remote teaching changed how we teach and how we see ourselves as academics? How do we ensure that our course design and classroom practices include and engage all our students?
  • Care and sustainability: what kinds of institutional and peer support are needed to sustain UCT academics on our journeys of change? How can UCT and academics best support students with the challenges that they are facing?
  • Professional development: what do our shifts in academic roles and identities mean for the professional development of UCT academics who are engaged in teaching?
  • Research and competing identities: The realities of emergency remote teaching have heightened tensions between research and teaching roles in the lives of academics. Can these roles support each other?

What does it mean to go online?

TLC2020 will use technologies that have become familiar to most UCT academics. Vula will provide the asynchronous hub, where you can review schedules, engage with discussions and peruse a variety of topical and thematic resources. Synchronous live sessions for keynote presentations, panel discussions and live workshops will mostly be held via Zoom. The conference programme will stretch across several days (17-23 September) to allow you to dip in and out of conference events and to minimise Zoom fatigue.

What kinds of events will the conference include?

The conference will comprise an assortment of events which differ in purpose, content type, duration and engagement. The events can be grouped into four categories:

  • Presentations: to inform, inspire and stimulate thought and debate, as well as provoke engagement with the conference sub-themes.
    • Event types: opening and closing keynotes, thought pieces, reflections on lecturer experiences and practices as well as research in progress.
    • Engagement: some synchronous (live events) and several asynchronous (recorded) presentations.
  • Online conversations: spaces for dialogue, debate and mutual support.
    • Event types: discussion panels, meetings with conference mentors or buddies, discussions of presentations as well as more informal / social forum conversations.
    • Engagement: synchronous (live) and asynchronous (online discussions).
  • Workshops: to support experiences of connected learning activity so participants can make sense together of our varied experiences.
    • Event types: learn new tools and practices, co-create new knowledge and plan together for next steps.
    • Engagement: synchronous (live) and asynchronous (connected discussions).
  • Spaces for nurturing and fun: safe areas for self-care which will focus on wellness in all forms.
    • Event types: reception in the welcome lobby at the start of each day, synchronous teatime chats, virtual socials, destressing with mindfulness, yoga, movement and dance.
    • Engagement: Synchronous (live) and asynchronous (discussions).

How do I submit my proposal?

Word Count: Please send proposals of up to 300 words, outlining your thoughts and ideas.

Submission: Complete the online proposal form providing as much detail as possible. We are also open to considering event types and topics which are not listed in the call.

Enquiries: Please email CILT Events.

Submission deadline: 14:00 on Thursday, 3 September 2020. While the deadline for submission comes at short notice, we know that there are powerful reflections and research, compelling questions and ingenious innovations to share.


Associate Professor Lis Lange
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning

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