Beyond Chalk and Talk

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Organised by the Learning Technologies Group part of Oxford's HCU

Sponsored by the JISC Committee for Learning and Teaching


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Friday 12 April 2002


The Oxford Union Debating Chamber

Organised by theLearning Technologies Grouppart of theHCU, University of Oxford

Sponsored by theJISCCommittee for Learning and Teaching

Is the new digital age the answer to the prayers of teachers? Does it free them up from excessive workloads or merely add to them? Is there too much emphasis on C&IT and Virtual Learning, compared with traditional methods? Are the latter being underfunded as a result of policy pursuing fashion?

These questions and many more were answered in the one-day colloquium Beyond Chalk and Talk: Challenges & Opportunities for Teaching in the Digital Age. For the last seven years the Humanities Computing Unit (HCU) has organised a series of successful events which have discussed the place of technology in the spheres of learning, culture, and society. In 2001 we brought together a number of illustrious speakers in the Oxford Union to discuss whether the impact of the new technologies on the custodians of our cultural heritage (

Set in the historical Debating Chamber of the Oxford Union, distinguished speakers will present their views and debate the future shape of education. The format of 'Beyond Chalk and Talk' will be a mixture of presentations, open discussion, and debates. We aim to stimulate discussion between the speakers and encourage the audience to participate fully. The day will run from 9.30am - 4.30pm. Lunch will not be provided to keep costs to a minumum.

Speakers include:

John Brown, Director, Lifelong Learning, Becta

Doug Brown, Divisional Manager for National Grid for Learning, Dept for Education and Skills

Bridget Cooper, Computer Based Learning Unit, Leeds University

Harry Dodds, Consultant in C&IT in Secondary Education

Steve Draper, University of Glasgow

Diana Laurillard, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Learning Technologies and Teaching), The Open University

Stuart Lee, Head of the Learning Technologies Group, Oxford University

David Lloyd, Esher College

Mark Stiles, Co-Director of The Learning Development Centre, Staffordshire University

Neill Thew, Teaching and Learning Development Unit, University of Sussex

The venue - the Debating Chamber of the Oxford Union

The Oxford Union is the world's most famous debating society. Established in 1823 and located in glorious Victorian Buildings in the heart of Oxford University, it aims to promote debate and discussion not just in Oxford University, but across the globe. The Oxford Union is on St Michael's Street, Oxford (between Cornmarket and New Inn Hall St). For more information see


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9.30 - 10.00 Registration and morning coffee
10.00 - 10.30 Opening Plenary: John Brown, Director, Lifelong Learning, Becta
10.30 - 12.30

Round-table discussion: The Use of IT in Primary through to HE

* Bridget Cooper [Primary], Leeds University (PDF)

* Harry Dodds [Secondary]. Consultant

* David Lloyd [FE], Esher College

* Stuart Lee [HE], University of Oxford

Each speaker will be asked to describe the state of play re the use of IT for teaching in their sector. They will attempt to describe what a student will experience (on average) in their sector, and what skills they will have when they leave and are passed on to the next sector. They will also outline the problems that are being faced, and perhaps suggest some remedies for these. This will be followed by a discussion open to the floor of the chamber.

12.30-1.00 Plenary: Doug Brown, Divisional Manager for National Grid for Learning, Dept for Education and Skills (PDF).
1.00-2.30 Lunch (not provided), but coffee will be served from 2.00-2.30


"This house believes Virtual teaching is killing traditional teaching"

For: Neill Thew, University of Sussex; and Steve Draper, University of Glasgow

Against: Diana Laurillard, Open University (PDF); and Mark Stiles, Staffordshire University

Format: Each speaker will be asked to present a 15 minute paper either for or against the motion (as applicable). The speakers will not be asked to give way to the floor at this point. This will then be followed by opening the debate up to the floor.


Picture credit: Hulton-Getty Archive, HELIX project.

HTML by S. D. Lee, December 2001


Written by IT Services. Latest revision 26 February 2015