Big Conversation

Staff and students engaged in a Big Conversation over the last academic year. The main blog topics are summarised in the two infographics which you can view by following the links below. You can also visit the site to catch up with all the conversation threads from last year, read the winning student contributions, and contribute new posts or comments on our theme for this term.

If you would like to add a post, please email it to and it will be added to the site.


Research-intensive teaching

Research-led; research embedded; research active. Much of the discussion on this topic has questioned what is meant by research-intensive teaching, whether the concept is truly understood and how its profile can be raised.


Elearning; technology enhanced learning; technology; skills; collaboration. Using technology as a way of supporting and advancing learning underpinned this theme of the conversation. Birmingham Digital is a key concept arising from the conversation.


Research-active; collaboration; internationalisation; skills; choice; subject development. Thoughts on subject specific developments have been prevalent in the Conversation, although collaboration and interdisciplinary learning were mentioned frequently within this theme.


Inclusive education. Inclusion has been referenced in many posts, often as a facet of another theme. To this end, technology has been seen as a way of facilitating an inclusive education, whilst assessment and feedback is an area in which inclusion is viewed to be particularly important.

Assessment and feedback

Method of assessment; feedback; learning analytics. Modes of assessment have been popular discussion points. similarly, the idea of 'feedback challenge' was discussed, whereby feedback is considered as an ongoing dialogue as opposed to a product symbolising the end of the learning process.

Other themes

The University; postgraduate provision; part time study. The purpose of the University, along its ties with the larger community, were noted by many when thinking about 2026. Questions also arose on whether postgraduate students are getting a fair deal and how part time study could work better for those who undertake it.

Wider issues and external influences

  • Pressure on research-intensive institutions
  • Students as consumers
  • Widening participation and inclusive education
  • Growing focus on mobility and employability

There is an ever-increasing need for flexibility, agility and efficiency in university provision. This should be reflected through the development of a distinctive Birmingham education.

A Distinctive Birmingham Education

Developing a Distinctive Birmingham Education will enable the University to distinguish itself in the increasingly competitive marketplace of Higher Education.

This concept should be underpinned by three elements, which will be explored further in the coming years

Research-intensive learning

Research-intensive universities are at the forefront of generating knowledge through the very best research. Making more explicit links between research and teaching is essential to the development of a distinctive Birmingham education.

The nest piece of work is to define 'research-intensive learning' at UoB and ensure we deliver it for all students.

Birmingham digital

Using technology to support and advance learning is essential, particularly in the context of the students' changing expectations.

Digital skills and capabilities will also be necessary for employment prospects. This is echoed in proposals for Birmingham Digital, whereby a digital component would be undertaken in each year of undergraduate study.

Inclusive education

Supporting students of all types and from all backgrounds to succeed has been of increasing focus, and has put institutions under growing pressure to innovate in this area.

The student Academic Engagement Committee (SAEC) will deploy actions to enhance students' academic engagement and outcomes, identifying a distinctive UoB approach.




Read more on the BIG CONVERSATION blog.

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