Empowering students to develop a ‘user friendly’ framework for Learn

The staff/student team who secured a Teaching Innovation Award to understand how to make the most of Learn are well underway with their collaborative project.

During the summer the team undertook an audit of all 2014/15 Undergraduate Learn pages used within the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS). The audit was set against the University’s minimum requirements for the virtual learning environment (VLE) whilst also considering the presentation of educational material. Each page was rated on a scale of 1 – 5 with a short description of content and layout.

Once the SSEHS course reps had been decided, the project team met with them and presented a selection of audited Learn pages to gather their feedback against the criteria used in the audit. Student feedback on these pages supported initial findings from the audit and the researchers were able to identify both examples of good practice and those where there was ‘room for improvement’.

The research team have just developed an on-line survey using Survey Monkey which aims to capture student perception and use of Learn. This will be circulated to all SSEHS students and they are hoping for a good response. The responses from this and additional focus groups will inform the planning for a workshop in which students will work with a VLE specialist from the Higher Education Academy to develop the School’s Learn provision.

The team leading this project which has relevance for the VLE use within and beyond SSEHS are Dr Hilary McDermott, Dr Ashley Casey, Lee Barnett and student Said Ibeggazene.

Flipping wonderful, or too good to be true?

Flipping – a way to develop student deeper learning and engagement as well as higher quality work or too good to be true?

Speakers and the Art of Flipping workshop showed flipping can be a useful tool to support the development of deep rather than surface learning. This brief look at the workshop organised under a Teaching Innovation Award by Dr. Mark Jepson (Materials), Dr. Simon Hogg (Materials) and Dr. Nicola Jennings (Chemistry) looks at what flipping is, and how it could work for you and more importantly for your students.

What is flipping?

Flipping is part of a process which moves from didactic knowledge transmission in large lectures to use contact time for the lecturer to bring his/her knowledge to bear on those concepts or specifics that students have identified as problematic. Students pre-engage with the transmission of knowledge before the lecture, either by reading, and/or listening to a podcast or video of material. They take ownership of the content by identifying what they find clear and what they do not.

Some academics may already be taking just this approach. However, for those who want to explore the idea the workshop was a great introduction.

Dr. David Dye, Reader in Metallurgy at Imperial College, records 15-minute single-concept videos in his office with a white board (and all-important board rubber). He posts them online and then asks students to complete a short online quiz/test after viewing. The last question asks what they want further explained. He then addresses those areas in the lecture, getting students to peer instruct each other, explaining their own understanding. As they discuss Dye moves round the room, identifying areas of confusion and explanations given before delivering his summation. In this way each student is directly, actively involved in their learning. Continue reading

Awards raise profile of teaching in academia

Loughborough University’s newest National Teaching Fellow has highlighted teaching awards as a key driver in developing academics’ teaching careers.

Speaking at the 2014 Teaching Innovation Awards, Dr Peter Willmot from the Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering  talked of his delight when teaching received international recognition for developing researchers and engineers.

Pro Vice Chancellor Teaching, Professor Morag Bell said the prestigious national award from the Higher Education Academy recognised Dr Willmot’s work in developing the global profile of engineering teaching.

Earlier in his career Dr Willmot was the winner of a teaching award.  

Teaching Awards began at Loughborough University in 2005. Since 2012 when innovation became a key factor for winning projects, almost £60,000 has been awarded to 19 projects across 9 schools  and departments. The projects have impact for future practice enhancement not only within Loughborough University but nationally, and in some cases internationally.

Past projects have led to for example, developing more efficient assessment practices, new e-learning tools, student-led curriculum development, improved understanding of feedback and the UK’s first student-led, not-for-profit publishing house.

The 2014/15 Teaching Innovation Award winners and their projects in alphabetical order are:



Project title

Marcus Collins / Catherine Armstrong / Thoralf Klein / Paul Maddrell SPG Dual Mentorship and Peer-Assisted Learning in History Dissertation Design
Sheryl Williams / Richard Blanchard EESE An evaluation of the impact of a remote laboratory on student learning: using qualitative and quantitative measures
Jonathan Millett SPG GUMCOM – Geography Undergraduate methods Compendium: providing advice on methodology when and where it’s needed
Abby Paterson LDS Enhancing students’ understanding in Computer Aided Design workshops using low-cost, portable eye tracking
Vicky Lofthouse LDS Carbon footprinting for designers: embodying environmental sustainability in our teaching
Mark Jepson / Nicola Jennings / Simon Hogg AACM  & SCI Understanding the Art of Flipping


Research-Informed Teaching Awards 2014

Loughborough SignThe annual Research-Informed Teaching Awards have now been made for 2014. There was considerable interest from across the University and the panel, chaired by the PVC (Teaching), including three ADTs and representatives from the Teaching Centre has made three awards.

The award winners are:

Jo Bullard, Professor of Physical Geography, Department of Geography, who is developing innovative ways of using external data from NASA to help develop her students as researchers. The panel commended Jo on the high quality of her teaching and research and the way in which she helps students to engage.

Dr Marcus Collins, Senior Lecturer in Cultural History, Department of Politics, History and International Relations, who is developing a national reputation for the impact he is having on student learning. His work was also commended by the panel for the way his research informed his teaching and encouraged students to develop themselves as engaged researchers.

Malcolm Cook, Professor of Building Performance Analysis, School of Civil & Building Engineering, who is fostering student engagement, especially through his use of relevant and appropriate case studies. His work was commended by the panel for the way it helped students engage in a variety of ways which were appropriate to their industry and encouraged them to develop as researchers.

As in previous years, the winners will be presented with their award at a degree ceremony this summer. We congratulate them on their achievements.

Dr Peter Willmot (Wolfson) awarded HEA National Teaching Fellowship

117-Peter-WillmotCongratulations to Dr Peter Willmot on being awarded a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship.

The Higher Education Academy has announced today, 12th June, the 2014 National Teaching Fellows. The National Teaching Fellowships are the most prestigious awards for excellence in higher education teaching and support for learning. There were 180 nominations with 55 fellowships awarded. Successful nominees were nominated by their institutions and submissions had to show evidence of three criteria: individual excellence, raising the profile of excellence and developing excellence. More information can be found here.

Dr Peter Willmot is a Principal University Teacher in the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and is described in his profile as ‘practical mechanical engineer, an energetic, innovative, dedicated teacher and distinguished pedagogic researcher’ click here to read more.

Dr Peter Willmot joins Dr Anthony Croft and Dr Christopher Sangwin as the National Teaching Fellows currently at Loughborough University and is one of 6 Academics that have been awarded the fellowship whilst working at Loughborough.

The dates for the National Teaching Fellowship scheme 2015 will be released shortly. If you are interested in becoming a National Teaching Fellow please get in touch with Dr Nick Allsopp (Head of Academic Practice).

Loughborough Academic Awards

Congratulations to all those that were nominated and won awards at the Loughborough Academic Awards (LAAs) for their brilliant teaching!

Teaching award winners were:

A special congratulations goes to our Director, Dr Carol Robinson. Carol is also a Senior Lecturer in the Maths Education Centre and won a ‘Highly Commended’ in the Innovative Teaching category!

LAAs picture


Thank you to Becky Lauder-Fletcher VP Education and the Students’ Union for holding the awards. The evening was a wonderful celebration of both staff and students. It has been great to hear from some of the winners how delighted they are with the award and we hope the LAAs go from strength to strength with even more nominations next year!

Reminder- Research-informed Teaching Award

The Research-informed Teaching Award is designed to “recognise and celebrate academic staff who have made a sustained and outstanding contribution to the promotion of research-informed teaching at Loughborough University”. There have been a number of changes to the RiTA for this new call, including making this a more competitive process with no limits on the number of applications each School may make.

Applicants for this award will need to submit a claim to their School Operations Manager by 28th April 2014.

Further details can be found on the website. For any additional information please contact Nick Allsopp at the Teaching Centre.

Academics' teaching innovation takes awards

Supporting dissertation students and improving the ways we use technology to develop learning are at the heart of this year’s 2014 Teaching Innovation Awards winning bids.

The Teaching Centre has invested a total of £18,443.26 in the winning projects to proactively enhance student learning not only in the six departments who won, but across the University. Some of the projects will support students at both Loughborough and Loughborough University in London, whilst others have potentially even wider impact for schools, other universities and in industry.

Dissertation students are a focus of the academics’ attention in two projects, whilst using technologies most effectively also emerged as a strong theme. The technologies in question range from computer aided design, session recording and remote labs to the best effect to support student learning

The 2014 Teaching Innovation Award winners in alphabetical order are:

  • Marcus Collins, Catherine Armstrong, Thoralf Klein, Paul Maddrell in PHIR for a pilot project looking at ways of supporting undergraduate dissertations.
  • Mark Jepson, Nicola Jennings, Simon Hogg for an interdepartmental project between Materials and Chemistry entitled Understanding the Art of Flipping
  • Vicky Lofthouse in Loughborough Design School for a project to create a new teaching tool for carbon footprinting for designers.
  • Jonathan Millett in Geography for a project to develop GUMCOM – the development of teaching resources to enable dissertation students to achieve greater depth and scope.
  • Abby Paterson in Loughborough Design School for a project to support learning of Computer Aided Design software.
  • Sheryl Williams and Richard Blanchard from EESE for work to evaluate student responses to and learning utilising remote, simulation and real labs.

More information from the winners and details of their projects as they emerge will be appearing on the blog in the coming months, together with updates from last year’s winners.

For more about the Awards, visit http://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/teachingcentre/procedures-schemes/teachingawards/teachinginnovationawards/

Another award funded by the Teaching Centre to enhance teaching and learning at Loughborough is the Research Informed Teaching  Awards – applications for which close on April 28th. For details see http://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/teachingcentre/procedures-schemes/teachingawards/researchinformedteachingawards/

Reminder- Teaching Awards

Carol Robinson and Morag Bell at TIA eventPlease note that the closing date for submission of documentation relating to Teaching Innovation Awards is Friday 7th March 2014, directly to the Teaching Centre.

For applications relating to Research-informed Teaching Awards, the closing date is Monday 28th April 2014.

Further details on Teaching Innovation Awards can be found on the Teaching Centre website. Further details on Research-informed Teaching Awards can be found on the Teaching Centre website.

Improving the learning experience

There is a major feature in the latest news at lboro (pp.12-13) regarding the Teaching Centre in an article entitled “Improving the learning experience”. Indeed, our work with students, their representatives and colleagues across campus features on the Spring 2014 cover page!

The major focus of the articles are the Teaching Innovation Awards (TIAs), the next iteration of which have an application deadline of March 7th, while attention is also drawn to the Research-informed Teaching Awards (RiTAs), which have their next deadline on April 28th.

The TIAs were established in 2005, and the main pieces in this edition of news at lboro centre on the innovative nature of previous awards, and detail the work undertaken by a number of recent recipients:

  • 2011 – Emma Dresser (Loughborough Students’ Union) & Dr Robert Harland (School of the Arts) – “Feedback: facilitating reflection to promote learning” supported the development of the LSU Feedback resource
  • 2012 – Dr Thomas Jun and Dr Tom Page (Loughborough Design School) – “Lego-based learning initiative for systems design and ergonomics teaching – efficiencies in teaching through the use of technology (Lego Mindstorms NXT: programmable robotics kit)”
  • 2013 – Dr Melanie Ramdarshan Bold (English and Drama) – “Loughborough University Press: How a student-led teaching press can lead to enterprise and employability” supported the development of Lamplight Press

Meanwhile, the RiTAs are about to enter their second year, and they will be looking to add to a roll of honour that includes Prof Jonathon Chambers (Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering), Prof Barbara Jaworski (Maths Education Centre), Dr Carol Robinson (Maths Education Centre), and Dr Adrian Spencer (Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering). Enjoy your read!