Aberystwyth University recognises excellence and innovation in teaching

THE WINNERS of the Aberystwyth University Exemplary Course Awards 2014/15 have been announced.

Launched by the University E-learning Team in 2013 to recognise excellence in teaching, Blackboard modules are judged on four criteria; course design, interaction and collaboration, assessment and learner support.

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Exemplary Course Awards 2014/15: Left to right: Dr Jarrett Blaustein (Law and Criminology), Mary Jacob (Exemplary Course Awards organiser), Dr Rosemary Cann (Education and Lifelong Learning), Dr Rupert Marshall (IBERS), Professor April McMahon (Vice-Chancellor), Neil Taylor (Computer Science), Professor John Grattan (Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience and Interntional) and Dr Adam Vellender (Mathematics).

The overall winner in the 2014/15 Exemplary Course Awards is Dr Rupert Marshall from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, for his module ‘Zoo Science’.

Dr Rosemary Cann from the School of Education and Lifelong Learning, and Dr Adam Vellender from the Department of Mathematics were both highly commended for their respective modules, ‘Psychology of Learning and Thinking’, and ‘Partial Differential Equations’.

Neil Taylor from the Department of Computer Science, was commended for his module ‘Agile Methodologies’, as were Dr Jarrett Blaustein (with Kate Williams and Sarah Wydall)  from the Department of Law and Criminology for their module ‘Critical Perspectives on Imprisonment’.

Professor John Grattan, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience and International said; “The winners of the Aberystwyth University Exemplary Course Awards for 2014/15 are to be congratulated on their excellent work.

“Investing in teaching infrastructure and the University’s portfolio of courses to deliver teaching that inspires are key strategic aims for the University.  A major 3 year £8.1m investment programme in teaching spaces and technology coupled with the establishment of the Aber Academy, which provides training for staff to develop new and innovative ways of teaching, are key elements in achieving this and I’m delighted that Exemplary Course Awards recognise the excellent work being done by teaching colleagues to make the most of these new facilities as we strive to improve on what we believe to be a first class student learning experience.”

Exemplary Course Awards organiser Mary Jacob said: “We are very pleased to see such engaging and diverse modules submitted to the Exemplary Course Awards competition this year. This fits nicely with the theme for our Learning and Teaching Conference which takes place this year on the 8th, 9th and 10th September 2015, “Celebrating Diversity in Teaching Excellence”.

“We were delighted to see so many examples of teaching excellence, and hope this will inspire other lecturers to enhance their modules and apply for the award in 2015.

“What struck me about this round of winners is the richness and variety of learning materials, including media, used in the top modules. I hope that this will inspire other teaching staff to make full use of media for learning and teaching. The Aber Academy and CADARN Learning Portal can provide guidance to anyone interested in exploring this further. Please contact [email protected] for more information about the Academy.”

Winner Rupert Marshall said: “Thank you to everyone on the Blackboard team for their help and encouragement. Together with my students who inspire me and whose feedback makes it all worthwhile, they have all helped me develop and improve my use of Blackboard since I first started. I already have further improvements planned and will take into account the feedback provided by the panel.”

Further information about the Exemplary Course Awards, including feedback from this year’s winners, is available online at http://nexus.aber.ac.uk/xwiki/bin/view/Main/AU+Exemplary+Course+Award.

The winners were presented on Tuesday 17 March 2015.