Walls Optional

Every spring, the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) offers Walls Optional, a one-day conference for faculty and staff focused on teaching, learning, and technology.

Walls Optional 2024: Thursday, April 25

This year's theme: Teaching and Learning in a World of Complexity



This year's keynote speaker: Vanessa Andreotti, Dean of Education, University of Victoria

Dr. Andreotti is a former Canada Research Chair in Race, Inequalities and Global Change and has held academic positions in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Aotearoa/New Zealand and Finland. She has worked extensively across disciplines and communities offering alternatives to common approaches to social change that reproduce simplistic solutions to complex problems. She is one of the co-founders of the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures (GTDF) Arts/Research Collective. Dr. Andreotti is also a member of the College of New Scholars of the Royal Society of Canada. Her mandate at UVic is to advance decolonization, Indigenization, equity, justice and climate resilience efforts. Here is a video sample of what she will talk with us about: Hospicing Modernity

Call for Proposals - CLOSED

Every year the world seems to be getting more and more complex, and post-secondary institutions are facing more than their share of complexity within all this change. Rising costs of living, continuing health and wellness concerns, rise of Generative AI, accommodation requests, global issues, changing student demographics, funding challenges, and so on.

How do we support ourselves and our students with these increasingly complex demands on us? How can our teaching strategies and relationships with students continue to evolve as students’ needs change?  How do we respond to the complexity of the world, our lives, and our experience as instructors in the classroom and maintain our own mental health?  How can we work together as a community as we struggle individually with fatigue, technology, and learner engagement? 

This year, with the challenges we are facing in our ever-changing world of teaching and learning, Walls Optional invites you to share how you have responded to complexity in or through your teaching practice. For example, 

  • Blended, hybrid, and HyFlex learning 
  • Authentic assessments 
  • Applied learning 
  • Embracing diverse student voices 
  • Open Education 
  • Working with our broader communities (Indigenous nations, industry partners, school districts, etc.) 
  • Finding space with the earth and all living things in it to help us deal with complexity 
  • The complexity of our institutional processes 
  • Rapid changes in technology 
  • Supporting students, each other, and engaging in self-care 
  • Engaging in difficult or polarizing conversations and discourse with students and colleagues 
  • Rapidly changing curriculum geared toward upskilling and reskilling (i.e. microcredentials) 
  • Whatever has been complex for you! 

Note:  We encourage you to incorporate universal design for learning principles in your presentation.


Contact a member of the organizing committee or email cetl@camosun.ca  

  • Erin Howard 
  • Patricia Larose 
  • Martha McAlister 
  • Derek Murray  
  • Pat Parker 
  • Rae Parkinson 
  • Natasha Parrish 
  • Bob Preston  
  • Emily Schudel  
  • Charlotte Sheldrake 

Past keynote speakers

2024 - Teaching and Learning in a World of Complexity - Vanessa Andreotti


2022 - Regrounding and Reconnecting: What's next and how do we prepare? Issues facing post-secondary education - Joan McArthur Blair with Cynthia Smith, Derek Murray and Amanda Garner

2021 - Responding to COVID - Mary Burgess


2019 - Universal Design for Learning - Shane BakerMelissa Lyon, Sue Doner, Sheryl Haynes

2018 - Learning Spaces, Adam Finkelstein

2017 - Resilience - Monique Grey Smith

2016 - Creativity and Design Thinking - Ben WeinsteinYael Katz

2015 - Communities of Practice - Beverly Wegner Trayner

2014 - Education technology from a CEO perspective - Jonathan Baker

2013, Open Education - David Porter

2012 - Democratization of teaching and learning - Blended delivery - David KahaneIke Shibley

2011- Scholarship of Teaching and Learning - Tony Bates

2010 - Information Literacy, Mike Eisenberg

2009 - Social media and education - Alec Corous

2008 - Trends in educational  technology: reflections on the Horizon Report - Brian LambScott Leslie