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Digital learning champion on shortlist for higher education 'Oscar’ – University of Reading

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Digital learning champion on shortlist for higher education 'Oscar’

Release Date 10 September 2018

Professor Matthew Nicholls brings ancient history to life by using technology in his teaching

An ancient historian 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.

Matthew Nicholls, Professor of Classics at the University of Reading, is shortlisted in the Most Innovative Teacher of the Year category. He 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.

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.

Professor Nicholls 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 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, have enriched the lives of more than 900,000 learners from almost 200 countries.

The Times Higher Education Awards are widely recognised as being the Oscars of the higher education sector. They recognise talent, dedication and innovation across all aspects of university life and attract hundreds of entries every year.

Professor Nicholls is shortlisted alongside five other University lecturers in Most Innovative Teacher category, one of 18 in the awards. The winners will be chosen by an expert judging panel and announced at an awards ceremony on 29 November in London.

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