What we learned from the I.A.G Conference

A report written by the Disabled Students Group from their time spent at the Information & Guidance Conference!

Back in July, The Open University’s Disabled Students Group (D.S.G) attended the Information and Guidance (I.A.G) Conference held at the main OU campus in Milton Keynes.

 This is their report from the day written by Megan Brown, Acting Chair of the D.S.G!

Earlier this year, myself and Chris Hughes (Acting Secretary of the D.S.G), attended the I.A.G Conference. It was an extremely interesting day, and we definitely felt it was well worth the D.S.G. being there.  

The day consisted of various different speakers presenting talks on engaging and supporting other students. In particular, we felt there were two key takeaways from the conference: how to listen more effectively, and how to help students more by being able to signpost better. Both of which really resonated with us as individuals in support roles, since they are just so important.

As we sat down for each talk, we decided to make notes on what we felt were the main lessons we could learn from them!

  1. 1 Dr. Diedre Hughes OBE. – Keynote speaker.

    The conference's keynote speaker, Dr Diedre Hughes OBE., was incredible. She mainly spoke about retention of students, and gave several strategies on finding the real issue. She also spoke about how to stay positive.

  2. 2 Linzi Morris – Head of Student Support (WELS)

    Linzi Morris held workshops that focused on values and beliefs, behaviour attitudes, and judging people and situations.

    The messages here were, that it is fundamental in any I.A.G role to be impartial and not judge. Also, self-awareness and being reflective helps you become more genuine.

  3. 3 Lynne Johnson – Learning and Professional Development Manager.

    Covered training for career development for staff – this wasn’t particularly student related, although handy to see. Brought home just how much support there is and how much support they get. The network is quite large.

  4. 4 Rachel Mallows MBE – Professional in training and coaching.

    Gave a presentation on how to handle student situations, big pointers were: don’t tell student the answer, listen, let the student lead the conversation, guide!  Strategies for the student to reach outcomes, and only guide if necessary.

    Be realistic. Empower and let the student take responsibility.

In addition to the speakers and activities of the day, we also had the opportunity to network with Student Support Teams, the Disabled Veteran Students Program, and other many other support teams which we absolutely loved. It was great to talk to them and compare how they support students.

Myself and Chris absolutely loved attending the I.A.G Conference, and were very happy to be there representing the D.S.G. We found it very beneficial and hope to utilise what we've learned as we move forward in our roles.

Megan & Chris, Disabled Students Group

Two happy D.S.G reps after a great day!

Article posted on behalf of Megan Brown, Acting Chair of the Disabled Students Group, and Chris Hughes, Acting Secretary of the Disabled Students Group.

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