Aber Academy sees investment of £200,000

Mary Jacob, Tom Bartlett and Karl Drinkwater, Department of Psychology Librarian

Mary Jacob, Tom Bartlett and Karl Drinkwater, Department of Psychology Librarian

19 August 2014

A new centre that facilitates the creation of multimedia learning resources using audio, video and animation to improve and enrich the student learning experience, has been opened by Aberystwyth University.

Aber Academy represents and investment of £200,000 and is located in the Hugh Owen Building, on the Penglais Campus.

It provides training for members of staff on how to use technology effectively, and space to exchange ideas and share good practice in learning and teaching.

Facilities including a media lab and a recording studio, and equipment such as cameras, camcorders and microphones, can be used and borrowed by staff to help with the delivery of lectures, research or presentations.

The Academy has been developed largely in response to feedback from students in the National Student Survey, the annual Information Services Users Survey and learner experience studies undertaken in 2010 and 2013.

Students responding to the surveys indicated clearly they were looking for more video and audio content, and a richer virtual and interactive learning experience.

Recognising the importance of student feedback, the Academy is also establishing a forum where students will be able to give their opinion on new material, provide feedback on learning and teaching initiatives and contribute ideas about future developments.

The £200,000 invested in the creation of the Academy has been jointly funded by Aberystwyth University and the CADARN Learning Portal.

The CADARN Learning Portal promotes and facilitates technology enhanced learning across higher education institutions in Wales.

"Professor John Grattan, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Student Experience and International, explains, “I’m delighted with this new facility and with the new equipment that our staff members will have access to in future to help them develop great learning and teaching materials.

“Aberystwyth has an aspiration to lead the way when it comes to teaching and learning excellence and the Academy will help us achieve that goal.

“We want to create an environment where colleagues can share and develop new ways of working in a friendly and safe environment. A university experience can transform peoples’ lives, and with this added facility, we hope to do that more and more.”

Tom Bartlett, Project Manager for the CADARN Learning Portal, adds, "The CADARN Learning Portal aims to stimulate the production of educational media across Welsh Higher education by providing expert guidance, support and equipment to teaching staff. We will then promote both their good practice and the resources they produce on our website to inspire new people from all backgrounds into Higher Education.

“The Learning Portal is proud to be based within Aberystwyth's new Academy and look forward to working with teaching staff to create really engaging educational content."

Mary Jacob, Chair of the Aberystwyth University CADARN Working Group adds, “We are delighted to make this provision to help academics enrich their teaching through the use of media and enhance the student experience. The Academy Forum will provide a way for any interested staff and students to come together as a community of practice to promote excellence in learning and teaching.”

More information about the Academy can be found here: http://nexus.aber.ac.uk/xwiki/bin/view/Main/Aber+Academy

Members of staff interested in using the facilities, receiving training, who would like to join the academy forum or speak to the University’s E-learning Group about developing learning material should e-mail acistaff@aber.ac.uk