I continue to provide keynotes at conferences, and plenary sessions on away-days on a range of things connected with teaching, learning, feedback and assessment. These are invariably interactive, involving the audience in at least some activities, and I usually like 90 minutes or so to make room for this. But I’m good at keeping to time, and take pride trying to finish exactly on schedule, much appreciated by audiences going on to a coffee break or lunch! There is of course no limit to the number of folk in my audiences at such sessions – as long as they can all see the screen, and hear me through the sound system (and there are plenty of post-its!). 

For keynotes, I usually try to be at the location overnight before the event – I don’t like to risk transport failures stopping me getting there (though it hasn’t happened yet). I also like to be able to set things up in the room for at least half an hour before starting, ensuring that my laptop talks to the local equipment, checking sound systems, lighting options, flipchart positions, internet linkages and visibility of slides.

Typical keynote titles include:

  • ‘What are Universities for in the age of MOOCs?’
  • ‘Smarter feedback: giving better feedback to more students in less time’.
  • ‘Towards assessment as learning’.
  • ‘Getting students engaged’
  • ‘The status quo is not an option’ (regarding assessment and feedback)
  • ‘Making learning happen: addressing how students really learn’
  • ‘Smarter assessment: making assessment more manageable, as well as more valid, reliable, authentic, transparent and inclusive’.
  • ‘Making learning happen in large groups: smarter lecturing’.

However, there’s nothing I like better than to be given a topic or theme, and to put together a keynote to address it.