2023 Conference on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching

Collective transformation

How blended and online learning have changed postsecondary education


In the past several years, postsecondary education has undergone a remarkable change in the ways in which we teach and learn, through endless adaptations, pivots and shifts. Moving rapidly to an online environment meant fundamentally changing how we design courses, assess student learning and how to teach, while also changing how students learn and engage with their programs.  

As the world moves into varying stages of healing and recovery, we have an opportunity to focus on what we have learned as a community, shifting from technology-centred to learning-centred approaches that are intentional and transformational. We see a stronger focus on the student learning experience, further integration of technology, and blended and online learning environments as emerging trends. Perhaps most importantly, it is an opportunity to build sustainable change that takes postsecondary education well into the future. 

The 2023 University of Calgary Conference on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching invites faculty, instructors, administrators, librarians, staff, students and postdoctoral scholars to explore our collective transformations in postsecondary institutions and the scholarship, approaches, practices and issues surrounding it.  

This year’s conference will explore multiple aspects of our collective transformation experienced since the spring of 2020.

The following guiding questions are provided for further inspiration:

  • What were the risks, experiments and failures/successes experienced when we suddenly pivoted to online/blended learning? How are we engaging in research, scholarship and inquiry to document and communicate these learnings? 
  • What does quality online and blended learning look like, including our teaching and assessment practices? How do we continue to ensure we centre student learning experiences moving forward? 
  • How can we create more equitable, diverse, inclusive and accessible learning environments and spaces? How have collective social movements informed and transformed our teaching and learning practices and experiences? 
  • How have our approaches to fostering experiential and work-integrated learning shifted based on our experiences during the global pandemic? 
  • How will our learning spaces and technologies continue to change based on what we have learned over the pandemic? 
  • How has the pandemic impacted how we think about mental health and well-being for educators and students? What future transformations are needed? 
  • What transformations are needed to address truth and reconciliation, and to advance Indigenous ways of knowing, being, doing and connecting in postsecondary education?  What might this look like as we continue to consider new teaching modalities and approaches? 
  • What informal/formal educational leadership practices and approaches are needed to adapt to the future needs of teaching and learning in postsecondary education to create sustainable change moving forward?  


The following conference threads represent cross-cutting issues related to teaching and learning in postsecondary education. These threads do not change year-over-year and provide presenters and delegates with an opportunity to further customize their conference sessions and experiences: 

  • Blended and Online Learning: Blended and online courses and programs provide unique opportunities to support student engagement, interaction, access and success. This thread explores the pedagogy, practice and scholarship of intentional blended and online course design that centres students’ learning and engagement in blended and online learning environments. 
  • Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility: Equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility (EDIA) are about valuing human difference, removing barriers that impede equal access, and ensuring that all learners and educators can participate meaningfully. This thread explores creating equitable, diverse, inclusive and accessible learning and teaching opportunities so that all voices are heard, respected and valued.
  • Experiential Learning (EL): Experiential learning is learning-by-doing that bridges knowledge and experience through critical reflection. This thread explores how EL activities can be intentionally designed and assessed to empower students and enhance skills such as complex problem solving, professional practice skills, critical reflection and teamwork.  
  • Indigenous Perspectives: Indigenous perspectives honour the histories, knowledges, methodologies, pedagogies and practices of Indigenous peoples and create shared understandings of truth and reconciliation. This thread explores how to advance Indigenous ways of knowing, being, doing and connecting in postsecondary education.  
  • Interdisciplinary Collaborations: Educators and students often view learning through their own disciplinary lenses. Understanding these lenses forms the foundation of the interdisciplinary collaboration necessary for solving complex world challenges. This thread examines what this learning looks like in the different disciplines, and in the spaces where different disciplines meet. 
  • Learning Partnerships: Learning is a reciprocal process at the course, program and curriculum levels for educators and students. This thread explores what meaningful educator and student partnerships can look like in various teaching and learning contexts. 
  • Learning Spaces and Technology: Technology facilitates the discovery of knowledge, expression of voice and collaboration across space and time. Physical and virtual learning spaces are critical components of our academic communities, which influence how educators and students collaborate, connect, adapt and access teaching and learning. This thread explores the impact of learning spaces and technologies on our teaching and learning communities, cultures and practices. 
  • Mental Health and Well-being: The construction of safe, caring learning environments that embrace diversity and collaboration is essential for nurturing creativity and the development of resilient and flourishing individuals and communities. This thread examines how teaching and learning communities, approaches and practices can promote mental health and wellbeing across multiple organizational levels. 
  • Sustainability: Universities are strongly positioned to address opportunities and challenges related to sustainability, locally and globally. This thread explores how educators and students can contribute to teaching and learning practices and approaches related to sustainability, as well as how we promote sustainable teaching and learning practices, across diverse postsecondary contexts.  
  • Teaching and Learning Research, Scholarship and Inquiry: Scholarship, research and inquiry related to supporting teaching and student learning across multiple organizational levels can lead to transformative change. This thread explores the possibilities, challenges and outcomes related to supporting engagement in teaching and learning research, scholarship and inquiry.