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Matthew Nicholls shortlisted for THE award

Matthew Nicholls

Professor Matthew Nicholls, whose use of technology in his teaching has brought his subject to life for students around the world, has been shortlisted for a Times Higher Education Award.

Professor Nicholls created the world’s most detailed digital model of ancient Rome to allow students to experience the city in virtual reality. The model is also used in one of the University’s online courses, which has allowed nearly 30,000 learners worldwide so far to study the Eternal City.

He has been shortlisted in the Most Innovative Teacher of the Year category. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on 29 November in London.

As well as working to increase digital literacy among students and staff at the University, Professor Nicholls has allowed students to take part in digital modelling research placements and even create their own models.

He said, “I am delighted and honoured to have been shortlisted for this prestigious award. It’s very welcome recognition for the work I have done on 3D reconstructions of ancient Rome, with our students here at Reading and with learners around the world via our online course. It shows how subjects like Classics, with an ancient subject material, can make use of the latest technology.”

Professor Nicholls is a pioneer in technology-enhanced learning (TEL) and has helped introduce lecture capture, electronic marking and increased use of practical IT skills across the University. He also regularly attends conferences and workshops to share teaching methods, including showing students how to make digital models of their own.

His ancient Rome model is now widely used in teaching inside and outside the University, and is of particular benefit to students who may be unable to visit Rome in person, for physical or other reasons, and for students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties.

Reading’s successful programme of free online courses, led by Professor Nicholls as Director, has enriched the lives of more than 900,000 learners from almost 200 countries.

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