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Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning


The Teaching and Learning Innovation Fund offers grants of up to £20,000 for University staff to fund creative projects that will enhance teaching and learning at Cambridge.  Awards are made in a yearly gathered field by the University's Digital Teaching and Learning Sub-committee.

This year’s bids were particularly strong, with a number of proposed projects offering clear benefit at the pilot stage and potential for wider applicability across the collegiate University. Projects will begin in the spring of 2017 and run throughout the year, with outcomes reported to the Digital Teaching and Learning Sub-committee in Easter Term 2018.  Updates will be posted on this page as appropriate throughout the year.

This year’s funded projects are:

  • Electronic Shakespeare, Dr Peter de Bolla, Faculty of English.  This project aims to develop a 'proof of concept' for online interface for interactive digital reading environment.  Using two Shakespearean sonnets, a database will be developed to enable users to select particular contexts of understanding that change the organisation and graphic arrangement of the poem.  Additional data on specific words (linguistic history, resonance, cognate words or uses, research on the word/issue at hand) will be available to further enrich the reading of the text.  
  • App development for using satellite data during fieldwork teaching, Dr Alex Copley, Department of Earth Sciences.  This project aims to create a smartphone app to display satellite images, topographic data, and related research data (e.g., chemical analysis, modelling) during fieldwork.  Existing technology is not sufficient due to requirements for pre-processing of related research data, specialist nature of satellite images, and off-line requirements for remote areas. The app will also allow embedding of lecturers' own geological data to strengthen lab/field relationship.
  • Learning immunology in the digital world, Dr Brian Ferguson, Department of Pathology. This project aims to create a series of digital learning aids to be integrated into Part IB Pathology practical classes; this will enhance the student experience and learning outcomes through clearer theory/practice links.  Digital aids will be used to: create graphic animations to demonstrate key concepts and provide virtual experience of some techniques that would be prohibitively expensive for hands-on sessions; edit and reformat video presentations of live imaging microscopy; and integrate schematic diagrams into class sheets.
  • There's an App for that: Using smartphones to promote wellbeing among students, Dr Jason Rentfrow, Department of Psychology.  This project aims to develop and test a smartphone app to measure students' psychological states and activities; the app will also collect objective behavioural information through mobile sensing and students will receive feedback about patterns, and access tools for managing stress.
  • GRAPPLES: Graphical programme with physical laws for engineering students, Dr Philip Stanley-Marbell, Department of Engineering.  This project aims to create an interactive web-based tool for students to explore how physical laws and invariants dictated by properties of engineered systems affect software in systems interacting with the physical world.  Students will be able to program sensor platforms and receive visual feedback on cause/effect relationships, helping them learn about behaviour of systems and sensor data in the physical world. 
  • Online essay writing toolkit for Linguistics students, Dr John Williams and Dr Rupert Brown, Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics.  This project aims to create a subject-specific resource to support learning essay-writing skills, specifically for 1st year students but also highly relevant for MPhils.  It aims to impact on students’ awareness of key issues, focus and reflection on their own writing processes, and embed teaching of writing skills within the Department and supervisions.
  • Teaching a 3D script, Dr Martin Worthington, Department of Archeology.  This project aims to commission 3D resin replicas of cuneiform tablets available in the British Museum, for student use across all levels of Akkadian/Sumerian teaching (UG-PhD), as well as to move an example obelisk from FAMES to Archaeology, and to create digital scans of the tablets.  The replicas and scans will be used differently in different years, and serve to enhance student engagement both with the actual difficulties in translating 3D script instead of working with 2D interpretations on the page, and with the variance in actual versus scanned objects.  Scans can also be used for self-study when away from Cambridge.  Replicas could result in changes in assessment format, enabling 'practical' translation examinations instead of wholly written ones.