From Nicolaus of Cusa to Graduates for the 21st Century: Personalising knowledge-based skills and toolkits for staff and students
Professor Brian Whalley (Geography)
What is this about?
Amongst many books, Nicholas of Cusa wrote De Docta ignorantia ‘On Learned Ignorance’ (1440). More recently, Donald Rumsfeld gave us ‘unknown unknowns’. However, ‘Modern universities through trial, error and experiment, … are now trying to find new ways of thinking and acting that will help them to prosper’ (Nature 16th October 2014). This presentation is aimed at colleagues looking after modules and programmes, dealing with employability and communication skills, digital and information literacies etc. That is, all who are involved with ways to enhance students’ ways of ‘thinking and acting’ in the HE context. Experience shows that students do not always realise that they may be incorporating skills and employability attributes in their day-to-day education. Skills education, by its very diversity, needs to be practiced by more than ‘examination and essay’ and shown how ignorance can be turned into knowledge. Tools for identifying, promoting and personalising skills will be presented and related to assessment practices. Students need transparency and this can be achieved by specifying embedded skills, especially at early stages in their HE sojourn. We shall also see how Cormier’s idea of ‘rhizomatic education’ might be developed in this context by considering skills practice as a ‘mycorrhizal system’.
How will colleagues benefit?
Colleagues will benefit from discussion about procedures and practices in ‘skills’ education. Colleagues will be able to take away ideas of good practice (and what works and what doesn’t) to develop in their own subject areas. They will also be able to show students and employers the benefits of a wide range of skills developed in their undergraduate programmes.