University of Sheffield honoured for innovation in learning and teaching


New Delhi: University of Sheffield Technology Enhanced Learning Team awarded Learning Technologist Team of the Year for innovative use of technology in education
Sheffield honoured for empowering staff to make informed choices on technologies that can enhance learning experience of students
Accolade recognises University’s collaboration with students for feedback on technologies they find most useful
Award reaffirms University of Sheffield’s position as world top-100 university with world class reputation for teaching excellence

The University of Sheffield has been honoured for using some of the latest innovations in technology to enhance the learning experience of its students by a leading champion of the use of technology in education.

The Learning Technologist of the Year Team Award, an annual award which celebrates the best use of technology in education, has been presented to the University’s Technology Enhanced Learning Team for its work to empower academics to use the latest breakthroughs in technology to teach students.

Presented by the Association for Learning Technology, the award recognises education institutions from across the world which have demonstrated intelligent use of technology to enhance learning.

The award further cements the University of Sheffield’s position as a world top-100 university with a global reputation for teaching excellence and research.

It follows the University’s biggest ever investment in learning and teaching facilities with the opening of the Diamond – a new building with state-of-the-art facilities to provide the best learning experience for students.

With specialist laboratories that provide some of the most advanced education facilities in the world for a variety of engineering disciplines, the Diamond delivers multidisciplinary, practical, problem-based learning activities through state-of-the-art CAD computer suites, wind tunnel testing machines, chemical and bioengineering labs, flight simulators, media editing and virtual reality suites for students. It also has revolutionary study spaces that can be used by students from all disciplines.

The University is also re-launching its Information Commons (IC) building – a unique 24 hour study space equipped with the latest, high-quality IT systems for students. The IC is set to relaunch on Monday 18 September 2017 for the new academic semester following improvements based on feedback from students in the National Student Survey 2016.

Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education at the University of Sheffield, said: “We are thrilled to be honoured with this award as it once again demonstrates the outcome of our focus on designing and delivering world class teaching here at the University of Sheffield.

“Our staff are experts who are respected by their peers all over the world and are leading the way with some of the most innovative examples of learning and teaching and in particular harnessing appropriate technology in and beyond the classroom. They are committed to developing their skills and ensuring students get the best out of their time at Sheffield.

“The Technology Enhanced Learning Team has been a key part of supporting and leading this process and it is especially pleasing to see how they have worked with our staff to collaborate with students and get their feedback on what learning technologies they find most useful.”

The award also follows the launch of the University’s HumLab, which offers specialist equipment for the study of language, music and cognition.

The lab is equipped with cutting-edge technology for students and researchers from a variety of arts and humanities disciplines to share ideas and develop new insights into how humans understand music and languages. The lab also enables students from the arts and humanities to collaborate with scientists, so their expertise can shape how scientists approach their research into thought, learning and mental organisation.

The University has introduced the use of virtual reality models and hand-held devices, such as smartphones and tablets, for students to use on fieldtrips in subjects such as archaeology. Tablets can also be used in lab-based learning by science students.

Science courses at the University have pioneered the use of a lecture-capture system and conducted research on how they can benefit students, particularly in biomedical science. Sheffield’s psychology programmes have also developed flipped learning in which students use digital technologies to conduct learning activities in the classroom that would traditionally be carried out at home in their private study time.

Sheffield has also developed online lectures, digital resources and quizzes for use in disciplines such as language learning, and empowered students and staff to co-create websites for sharing their work.

Farzana Latif, from the University’s Technology Enhanced Learning Team, which was presented with the award, said: “We’re delighted with this award as it recognises the creative approaches and sense of enthusiasm that teaching staff from across the University have shown in adopting learning technologies. We’ve been working hard to empower staff so they have the confidence to make informed decisions on which technologies will enhance the learning experience of students.

“We’re also proud of the work we have done with students to ensure they are involved in the process of how the University adopts learning technologies. We have worked closely with Sheffield Students’ Union to get students’ views on what technologies they would find most useful for their studies.”

The University’s Technology Enhanced Learning Team has also pioneered the development of TELFest – a week-long annual teaching and learning festival at which academics can share ideas, challenges and examples of best practice on the use of technology in education.

TELFest is now open to learning technologists from other universities so staff from all over the world can network and innovate through a series of workshops, bite-sized sessions, panel discussions and debates.

Sheffield’s Technology Enhanced Learning Team was also shortlisted for the Association for Learning Technology’s Community Choice Award in which the learning technology community votes to celebrate and reward outstanding achievement and excellent practice in the learning technology field.