Sweden’s largest meeting place for higher education training and development will this year be held at Campus Flemingsberg. And like so many other events this year, NU2020 is taking to the digital arena.
This year’s Higher Education NU, Networking and Development, is co-arranged by Campus Flemingsberg universities Södertörn University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Karolinska Institutet, Red Cross University College, and University College of Music Education in Stockholm (SMI).
“We were going to welcome all participants to campus but have decided to make this a digital event. Even before corona, we were planning to offer parts of the conference digitally which has made it easier to reorganize,” says Hedda Söderlundh, NU2020 organizer.
Attracts some 500 participants
The biannual conference is for anyone involved in higher education and it attracts around 500 participants, the majority of whom are college or university tutors, but also others who work in higher education.
“The majority of seminars focus on different teaching methods and often set out to inspire others and share advice to get students more engaged in teaching,” explains Söderlundh.
This year’s theme is sustainable learning which ties in with the UN Sustainable Development Goals of quality education for all. The conference wants to promote socially sustainable education with equitable participation, where students are encouraged to participate in the development of society.
One of the keynote speakers is Arjen Wals, professor of social learning and sustainable development at Wageningen University in The Netherlands.
“Wals is looking for fresh answers to how we can create the necessary conditions that support new forms of learning that take into account the diversity, creativity, and problem-solving that exist all around us – a true visionary,” says Söderlundh.
Two panel discussions will also be live streamed, probably with participants on site on campus. Matilda Ernkrans, Sweden’s minister for higher education and research, will participate in one of these sessions.
“Having the minister participate shows that this conference is an important place for conversations related to higher education in general and universities’ sustainable teaching more specifically.”
Digital learning as a natural element
And even if the conference does not have a specific session devoted to the current wave of remote learning, it is bound to feature throughout.
“We’ve seen that many people want to discuss digital learning in their presentations. Most participants have been teaching digitally for much of the spring, so this will probably be a key feature of the conservations,” explains Söderlundh.
Speakers have to think a little differently as well. To help them, practical advice is being given on how participants can best be seen and heard on screen.
“During the planning stage, we had a lot of help from our ICT educators who are great at pedagogy and digital tools. Amongst other things, we hope to offer a digital tour of Campus Flemingsberg, a bit of an on-screen treasure hunt.”
Representatives from all colleges and universities on Campus Flemingsberg are represented on the steering committee responsible for the conference.
“This has made the conference a real bonus in terms of increased collaboration on campus – a collaboration that I believe will continue,” says Söderlundh.