Celebrating excellence in teaching

07 April 2014

Celebrating excellence in teaching: (L to R) Professor John Grattan, Pro Vice-Chancellor; Dr Basil Wolf, IBERS; Dr Steve Atherton, School of Education and Life Long Learning;  Mary Jacob, E-learning Team; Dr Victoria Wright, Dept. of Psychology; Dr Liz Hart, IBERS; Professor April McMahon, Vice-Chancellor.
Celebrating excellence in teaching: (L to R) Professor John Grattan, Pro Vice-Chancellor; Dr Basil Wolf, IBERS; Dr Steve Atherton, School of Education and Life Long Learning; Mary Jacob, E-learning Team; Dr Victoria Wright, Dept. of Psychology; Dr Liz Hart, IBERS; Professor April McMahon, Vice-Chancellor.

Dr Madeline Carr from the Department of International Politics and Dr Victoria Wright from the Department of Psychology are the joint winners of the Aberystwyth University Exemplary Course Award 2014.

Established by the University’s E-learning Team, which supports technology-enhanced learning and teaching, the annual Aberystwyth University Exemplary Course Awards honour modules which demonstrate exemplary practice in four areas: course design, interaction and collaboration, assessment and learner support.

The criteria for the awards were based on the international Blackboard Exemplary Course Programme (ECP).

Mary Jacob, who initiated the project, said; “We decided to use the ECP because it embeds the same principles of good practice that are recognised in the higher education sector in the UK. I’m pleased that we can share excellent practice at Aberystwyth with the wider community.”

As part of the Aberystwyth University Exemplary Course Award, the University’s E-Learning Team provided training to help staff in using the Blackboard ECP rubric to enhance their modules.

Using the rubric, staff are able to evaluate how well their course conforms to best practices outlined in the rubric.

Dr Madeline Carr won the award for the high standard of her course design and implementation of the module ‘International Politics and the Cyber Dimension’.

Madeline said; “The Blackboard ECP provided a great framework for me to think critically about my module site.

“The Blackboard team here at Aberystwyth University were always available to help me implement features that I wasn't familiar with.

“The feedback from my students about Blackboard has been overwhelmingly positive.

“I'll definitely continue to work on improving my site and making it something that helps to engage and support students in their learning.”

Joint winner Dr Victoria Wright has worked with colleagues to develop the online presentation of the ‘Introduction to Psychology’ degree module. 

The module is accompanied by a wealth of online materials, including recordings of all lectures, and Blackboard is the focus for all of the module’s student activities, discussion, reading and submission.  

Victoria said; “The ECP training was really useful in getting you to reflect on how you use Blackboard in your teaching.  

“It also illustrated how the students’ learning experience can be improved using the ECP rubric.

“Applying the rubric is easy and is a great way to improve your module in a student-centred way.

“I know my module is much better than it was last year – and my students seem to agree!"

Professor John Grattan, Pro Vice Chancellor for International and Student Experience, commented; “We’ve made a real investment in the learning environment at Aberystwyth University. 

“We are promoting exciting, innovative, dynamic and challenging teaching as an essential part of what we do, and are recognising and rewarding excellence. 

“The number of high quality entries into the first annual Aberystwyth University Exemplary Course Awards tells me that we have a cohort of lecturers who are keen to create a rich teaching environment and generate learning materials that are amongst the best in the world.”

All applications received by the Exemplary Course Award review panel were recognised as demonstrating good practice. 

The work of Dr Tom Holt (Department of Geography and Earth Sciences) and Dr Hannah Dee (Department of Computer Science) was highly commended.

Commendations were also awarded to Dr Steve Atherton (School of Education and Life Long Learning), Dr Liz Hart (Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences), Mr Matthew Richards (Department of European Languages) and Dr Basil Wolf (Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences) for their work.

The winners were presented with their awards at the Higher Education Academy’s Future Directions Conference held in Aberystwyth on 3 April 2014.

To see an interview in which Dr Madeline Carr explains the importance and benefit of putting the online experience at the heart of teaching modules, visit: http://www.cadarn.ac.uk/putting-the-online-experience-at-the-heart-of-a-module/, and to view Dr Victoria Wright discussing how she has worked to improve the online student experience, visit:  http://www.cadarn.ac.uk/video-improving-the-online-student-experience/.

 

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Staff interested in training in using the rubric or in applying for next year’s award, are invited to visit: http://nexus.aber.ac.uk/xwiki/bin/view/Main/AU+Exemplary+Course+Award



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Mary Jacob
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Arthur Dafis
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