WebLearn in the limelight at the University Teaching Awards 2015

The annual University Teaching Awards, co-ordinated by the Oxford Learning Institute, recognise the achievements of staff who are exploring different ways to engage students and help them learn.

Winners and guests assemble in the Milner Room, Rhodes House

Winners and guests assemble in the Milner Room, Rhodes House

This year’s ceremony in Rhodes House on 23rd November was particularly exciting for the increased prominence of digital technologies in the awards. Out of a combined total of 40 awards and grants made by the University’s main divisions, 35% were expressly for the innovative use of new technology. The WebLearn team is justifiably cock-a-hoop, as the University’s virtual learning environment featured in the citations for six of the award winners. Three of these received personal awards for excellence in teaching:

Dr Lynn Robson receives her award from the Vice Chancellor, Prof Andrew Hamilton

Dr Lynn Robson receives her award from the Vice Chancellor, Prof Andrew Hamilton

Dr Lynn Robson (Faculty of English & Regent’s Park College) uses the Forum tool to support self- and peer-review in her teaching of Shakespeare. These strategies are new to the teaching of Shakespeare at Oxford, and Lynn makes the forum a mandatory starting-point for class and tutorial discussions. She has been able to facilitate a deepening of students’ engagement.

Ms Christine Eckhard-Black (Language Centre) was honoured for her outstanding contribution to the teaching of German over 35 years. She has been a pioneer in the use of WebLearn and other digital resources in her language courses.

The eight-strong Bodleian Education Library team used technological solutions to help students find items on their reading lists and to cite and reference sources correctly in their work. These solutions include using files from the Mendeley reference management tool to build reading lists in WebLearn for each course.

Our three other ‘WebLearn’ winners received grants for projects to improve teaching and learning.

Prof Howard Hotson (Faculty of History & St Anne’s College) aims to transform teaching through objects. He will use one of the special subjects in History (on 17th-century science) to show how a new platform within WebLearn will enable teachers to make high-resolution digital images of texts, objects and artworks available to students.

Mrs Kirstie Vreede, Dr Damion Young and Prof Quentin Sattentau (Medical Sciences Division & Magdalen College – Prof Sattentau) have received funding to develop WebLearn in order to 1) decrease the administrative burden in collecting students’ feedback and 2) increase the return rates of online feedback. This project has the potential to benefit other divisions too.

Miss Lettitia Derrington (Department for Continuing Education) received a project grant to develop a WebLearn tool that will be made available across the University for the online induction of postgraduate students.

Dr Lucy Tallents receives her second certificate as an OxTALENT winner

Dr Lucy Tallents receives her second certificate as an OxTALENT winner

Members of staff who won the teaching-related categories in this year’s OxTALENT competition were also feted on Monday evening, They included Dr Lucy Tallents (WildCRU,  Zoology & Linacre College) whose innovative online course in statistics for wildlife conservationists came top in the WebLearn category.

Damion Young, Lettitia Derrington and the Education Library team have also received OxTALENT awards in recent years.

Warm congratulations to all of these WebLearn colleagues!

You can read more about the University Teaching Awards ceremony in the Week 8 issue of Academic IT News.

Portions of this article have been adapted from a report on the ceremony on the University’s News and Events page, from information on the OLI’s Teaching Awards page and from the awards ceremony programme.

Credits for all photographs: IWPHOTOGRAPHIC.

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