The Opening Conference: A Case Study in Undergraduate Co-design and Inquiry-based Learning

  • Zak Rakrouki University of Southampton
  • Mark Gatenby University of Southampton
  • Stefan Cantore University of Southampton
  • Thomas Rowledge University of Southampton
  • Tom Davidson University of Southampton
Keywords:  Co-design, inquiry-based learning, conference, undergraduate, business schools


The separation between “research” and “teaching” in universities has been under increasing challenge from scholars who want to place inquiry-based learning at the centre of higher education. An important approach to challenging established paradigms and structures is to question, and thereby destabilise, role distinctions, relationships, language, and learning spaces. In this article we present a case study of a conference organized in collaboration between staff and students for first-year undergraduates. Reinventing the academic conference space is our aim in challenging assumptions about undergraduate education. As co-designers of the conference, we reflect on the activities and institutional context leading to the creation of the event, its design and implementation, and its impact on the undergraduate learning community.

Author Biographies

Zak Rakrouki, University of Southampton

Zak Rakrouki is an undergraduate student in Business Management at the University of Southampton.

Mark Gatenby, University of Southampton
Associate Professor in Organisations, Director of programmes for BSc Business Management
Stefan Cantore, University of Southampton

Stefan Cantore Principal Teaching Fellow in Organizational Behaviour and HRM, Director of Enterprise at the University of Southampton.

Thomas Rowledge, University of Southampton

Thomas Rowledge is an undergraduate student in Web Science at the University of Southampton.

Tom Davidson, University of Southampton

Tom Davidson is an undergraduate student in Web Science at the University of Southampton.


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How to Cite
Rakrouki, Z., Gatenby, M., Cantore, S., Rowledge, T., & Davidson, T. (2017). The Opening Conference: A Case Study in Undergraduate Co-design and Inquiry-based Learning. International Journal for Students As Partners, 1(2).
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