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Winners announced for University Collaborative Awards for Teaching & Learning 2021

Feet in wellington boots on desk in front of two computer monitors.

Virtual Field Classes: teaching field techniques at home

We are delighted to announce the recipients of the 2021 University Collaborative Awards for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning. This annual award scheme recognises and rewards groups of staff and students who have made exceptional, significant and ongoing contributions to the student learning experience.

Following a highly competitive application process this year, we are delighted to present awards to the following three teams:

Virtual Field Classes: teaching field techniques at home

  • Dr Mike Simmonds
  • Professor Nick Branch
  • Dr Alison MacLeod
  • Dr Kevin White
  • Professor Mike Goodman
  • Dr Stuart Black
  • Professor Chris Collins
  • Dr Thomas Grisaffi
  • Professor Frank Mayle
  • Hon Li (Student Partner)

This team in Geography & Environmental Science collaborated to design and deliver diverse and immersive virtual field classes (VFCs) during the Summer Term 2020, using the ArcGIS ESRI Story Maps platform. The VFCs were received positively by students and colleagues and have since been enhanced further, drawing on student evaluation and detailed work by the student partner, to run again in 2021. The outcomes and impact of the project have been disseminated across the University and showcased on the Royal Geographical Society website. The team's approach has already informed practice in other Schools and Departments, and they plan to continue the use of virtual field classes beyond the return to field-based teaching.

The Academic Tutor System (ATS) Project Team

  • Professor Orla Kennedy (Project Chair) and Professor Clare Furneaux (Chair 2018/19), Vice-Chancellor's Office
  • Pip Oppenheimer, Ed White, Rose Lennon, Lillie-Mae Firmin, Dan Bentley, Fifi Bangham and Gemma King, (former) RUSU Student Officers
  • Jack Paulley, Academic Governance
  • Dr Michelle Reid and Dr Sonia Hood, Study Advice
  • Beth Blewitt, Jennifer Corless, John Ellul, Dr Paddy Woodman and Elaine Miles, Student Services
  • Esther Hanley-Clark, Gemma O'Connell and Jen Rich, Marketing Communication and Engagement
  • Professor Helen Bilton, Institute of Education
  • Dr Maddi Davies, Literature and Languages
  • Amanda Millmore and Dr Rachel Horton, Law
  • Dr Paul Jenkins, Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences
  • Dr Alastair Culham, Biological Sciences
  • Em Brady and Jess Johnson, Planning and Strategy Office
  • Dr Jo Cordy, Cindy Isherwood and Dr Maura O'Regan, CQSD

This large, multi-disciplinary team of students, academic and professional services colleagues worked in partnership from 2016 to 2020 to review the previous personal tutoring system and to design and deliver a more proactive academic tutoring system, thereby enhancing students' academic, personal and professional development. The impact of the ATS project has been felt across the whole University, both in terms of structural and culture change, as evidenced through quantitative data and positive comments from students and colleagues. The team's collaborative and consultative approach and the outcomes of the project have been shared extensively as an example of good practice, both internally and across the wider sector. 

Cross-campus team-based learning across international boundaries

  • Dr Tabarak Ballal (Team Leader (University of Reading))
  • Dr Bruno Lot Tanko (Assistant Team Leader (University of Reading Malaysia))
  • Jiajing Feng (PhD student)
  • Kingford Mkandawire (PhD student)
  • Ralph Unwin (Undergraduate Teaching Assistant)
  • Isobel Harrison (Undergraduate Teaching Assistant)
  • James Pringle (Undergraduate Teaching Assistant)
  • Laura Hayes (Undergraduate Teaching Assistant)

This team of academic colleagues, doctoral students and undergraduate teaching assistants (final year students) in the School of the Built Environment worked in partnership to design, pilot and implement an innovative cross-campus enquiry-based learning experience. Second year construction students studying in the UK and Malaysia worked in international ‘virtual' teams in a simulated Construction Consultancy Group to deliver design and construction solutions to a real-life international client. The project assessment and interactive sessions were led and managed by the student partners. The learning experience was well-received by participating students, who gained key transferable and employability skills and developed their intercultural competence.

Dr Ballal, who led the team, states, "We are absolutely delighted to have our project recognised through this award scheme. Working together, we are proud to have created a unique opportunity for surveying and construction students to work collaboratively across our Reading and Malaysia campuses."

Please join us in congratulating this year's winners!

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