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Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning

 

Across Cambridge, dedicated educators are striving to improve the learning outcomes of students through the use of enabling technologies. By way of shining a light on these pockets of activity and innovation, Cambridge University Press has created this award recognising excellence in Technology-Enabled Learning (TEL).

This year's judging panel included representation from Cambridge University Press, the Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning, Cambridge Assessment, University Information Services, the Cambridge Judge Business School and the Institute for Continuing Development.

 

Prize Winner (AHSS): Helen Murphy

Cambridge University Libraries

With some taught Master's programmes lasting for as little as nine months, postgraduate students are under immense pressure to hit the ground running when they arrive at Cambridge. Finding one's way around Cambridge can be a challenge, and those returning to Higher Education from the workplace may be unfamiliar with the nuances of contemporary academic practice, or lacking important research skills.

In response, Helen Murphy and the team at the University Library created CamGuides, an extensive set of resources for Master's students to access both pre-arrival and during their time at Cambridge. Published under a Creative Commons licence, this Open Educational Resource is available to all and covers a wide range of topics, including academic practice, research skills, wayfinding on campus and wellbeing. CamGuides also provides a focal point for access to other digital tools such as SpaceFinder.

The judges felt that CamGuides met an important need in seeking to alleviate some of the extraneous cognitive load experienced by newly-enrolled Master's students, helping them to focus more of their time and energy on their course of study.

 

Joint Prize Winner (STEMM): Dee Scadden

Department of Biochemistry

Through a learner-centred approach which seeks to accommodate a range of different learning styles, Dr Dee Scadden led the re-design of two Part I courses in Biochemistry. Systemic improvements include restructuring the Learning Management System to make it more intuitive for learners, rewriting the course handbooks to make them more accessible as online documents and creating a host of alternative supporting resources including bite-sized mini lectures, podcasts and 'technical snapshots'.

By securing buy-in from the rest of the academic team to ensure that uptake of the new materials was high, Dee has helped to increase student engagement and to make both practical sessions and tutorials more efficient and effective.

The judges were particularly impressed by the equitable and holistic approach to cours design that brought about these improvements.

 

Joint Prize Winner (STEMM): Mithuna Yoganathan

Department of Applied Mathematics & Theoretical Research

As a Maths PhD candidate at Cambridge, Mithuna Yoganathan has sought to make complex concepts like Quantum Mechanics more accessible to secondary school students through the creation of a series of animated video tutorials.

Mithuna's YouTube channel, LookingGlassUniverse, has over 100,000 subscribers and her most popular video to date has been viewed more than 600,00 times. By using the comments field under each video to facilitate moderated discussion, Mithuna engages directly with this community of learners, helping students of all abilities to enjoy learning maths and giving them the confidence to follow her lead in applying to a high-tariff university.

The judges were greatly impressed not only by the impact of this individual effort, but also by the accessible and engaging production style employed, which uses hand-drawn illustrations to bring the subject matter to life.

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