Liverpool Hope University has announced the winners of this year’s Excellence in Learning and Teaching Prize.
The Prize is awarded each year to staff, teams, Schools or Departments who can demonstrate a commitment to enhancing the student experience - and who can then share innovations with the rest of the University.
The focus of the Prize for 2021 was ‘Online Student Engagement’, and how staff were able to showcase originality while also making a big impact on students.
And there are two winners.
Dr Tom Gallagher-Mitchell, Lecturer in Psychology, who was praised for his Conversations with… tutorial series, which saw him recruiting 20 academics from across the world to take part in open discussions with students on the given topic of the week.
And Dr Jody Crutchley, Lecturer in Modern History.
Dr Crutchley devised ‘Virtual Walking Tours’ of Liverpool, utilizing Google software, so that students could still ‘visit’ historical locations in spite of Covid-19 restrictions and while exploring Liverpool’s links to colonialism and slavery.
John Bennett, Director of Learning and Teaching Development, Principal Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies, and who was on the judging panel, said: “Learning and Teaching this year has been a little different, to say the least, and we decided to reflect that in this year’s L & T Prize.
“Colleagues were asked to look specifically at Online Student Engagement and to showcase originality in promoting that engagement.
“There needed to be proof of student impact and the idea could not be too discipline specific - a big ask!
“The judges were delighted by the number of submissions and the high quality of them.”
The non-partisan panel also included Dr. Penny Haughan, Revd. Canon Prof.Kenneth Newport and Dr. Cathy Walsh, who deliberated carefully before making the recommendations.
Two submissions - from Dr Graham Reeve, Lecturer in Mathematics, and a joint submission from English Lecturers Dr Alice Bennett and Professor William Blazek - were also highly commended.
Dr Bennett explains: “Graham Reeve’s Lecture as Gameshow took some fairly arcane number theory and framed it as a student-friendly film/gameshow, while Alice Bennett and Bill Blazek’s Orientation Activity cleverly ‘hid’ pictures of American novelist Gertrude Stein among the Moodle pages, creating a modernist-informed treasure hunt.”
And on the winners, Dr Bennett adds: “Tom approached a number of eminent speakers and created live ‘in conversation’ events with them and the students, the latter able and encouraged to ask questions and engage in well-informed debate.
“The judges were impressed by the innovative use of the increased availability of guest speakers and saw this as an example of Learning and Teaching that was actually better as a result of lockdown and could be used even when face-to-face teaching resumes.
“The second winner is Jody Crutchley: Using Google MyMaps as Virtual Walking Tours.
“Again, the panel were impressed by the originality of this approach and the creative use of an online tool to widen and deepen local knowledge for MA History students.
“The impact on student engagement was clearly demonstrated and this approach could easily be applied across a range of disciplines.
“Learning and Teaching will be in touch with all four prize-winners and you will see their ideas, and a few more that impressed, in more detail in subsequent L & T newsletters – watch out for them.
“Thanks to all who submitted, it is very encouraging to see the genuine commitment and dedication that staff are putting into their teaching during these exceptional times, well done to all applicants.”