Innovative teaching and learning with technology

OxTALENT 2018 award winners

In the past year, a lot has happened to advance Digital Education at Oxford. The University has chosen a new virtual learning environment, we have begun trials of e-exams, we are piloting a online reading list tool, and reimagining ways to better support staff and students use technology, and a new community of practice has been launched.

This category recognises those who have made creative use of technology in their teaching. It’s always an exciting category to judge because it reveals the many inspiring practices that take place around the University, beyond the more strategic programmes of work that are being rolled out. The co-judges in this category were Sumathi Sekaran, Nuffield Department of Clinical Sciences, and Jill Fresen, Academic IT.


Christine Gerrard (Lady Margaret Hall) for 'Democratising the Classics: using the Cabinet to support undergraduate English lectures in the Oxford English Faculty'

a 3D model of a vase seen in Cabinet

The Cabinet enables students to virtually handle 3D objects and to follow up on numerous annotations which allows for greater interaction and a more engaging learning experience.

The winner in this category demonstrates the innovative and clever application of an existing digital tool at Oxford, in a cross-disciplinary way, to support theme teaching and foster interest and enthusiasm for the subject of the lasting legacy of the Classics.

Joint Runner up:

Angela Adams, John Denton, Michael Smets, Paolo Quattrone, Chris Loftus, Iulia Pop, Lais Righetto, Dominik Lukes and Tim Rose (Saïd Business School) for 'The Digital Transformation of Custom Exec Education'

A collage of images from the said business school

The HIVE, online peer-review and other teaching and learning tools on Canvas have transformed executive education at Saïd Business School

The judges commented that this course is well thought out and well designed, considering the learners' point of view and needs, in the context of executive education. Good student feedback is provided, with evidence of students having applied their learning in the workplace.

Joint Runner up:

Celine Jones (Nuffield Department of Women’s & Reproductive Health) for 'Integrated online teaching tools: developing deeper learning styles and interactive feedback routes'

screenshot of an online quiz with a video of a developing human embryo

Students are asked to grade developing human embryos which prepares them for their time in host laboratories.

The judges liked the way in which feedback to students is used as a key defining feature, and the potential to expand this approach to other areas of medicine (and science more generally).

Joint Runner up:

Max Brodermann and David Greaves (Hertford College) for 'Innovative eLearning Resources for Medical Student Studies in Biochemistry and Pathology'

screenshot of an online quiz including an image of blood cells

This innovative eLearning resource supports self-directed learning and features an online quiz, key information, research literature, fun facts and much more.

The judges highlighted the importance of student evaluation being an in-built part of the design and that evidence is provided of positive impacts on learning. The fact that it has been designed by a student in collaboration with academic staff ensures that the content is relevant, stimulating and 'real'.

About this category

This category lies at the heart of the role played by OxTALENT in recognising and rewarding grass-roots innovations that are then shared with the University at large. Each entry should identify and address a specific teaching or learning need, either in a discipline that is taught at Oxford or in a study skill (e.g. note-taking, time management or evaluating online resources).

You can either have created a website or app yourself, or have used existing technologies. It is also important that your innovation reflects at least one of the five development areas identified in the Digital Education Strategy):

  1. Extending excellence: Extend the areas of excellence in digital education that already exist and to ensure that all departments and faculties regularly review how digital methods might enhance their teaching and learning provision.
  2. Inclusive provision: Use appropriate digital technologies to develop more inclusive provision for different learning needs.
  3. Key digital platforms: Support academic staff as innovative teachers by developing the functionality and usability of key digital platforms.
  4. Accessible and relevant resources: Support students by making collections of resources more accessible and relevant to their learning.
  5. Resources and further development: Clarify, and agree the resources needed to develop digital education, where these might be most effectively situated, and how best funded.

The category is open to students as well as to staff. Entries from students should focus on supporting both your own learning and that of your peers, whether at undergraduate or postgraduate level. We would also be delighted to receive entries from partnerships between students and staff: for example, if you have co-designed an aspect of the curriculum to make use of digital tools.

You are eligible to enter even if you have had professional help, but we ask you to let us know on the entry form what assistance you received. Find out how to enter.

What the judges will look for

Your entry will be assessed in terms of:

  • How clearly you have defined the educational purpose of your initiative/innovation.
  • The extent to which the entry reflects at least one of the development areas outlined in the Digital Education Strategy.
  • How innovative your entry is: i.e. how new it is in terms of your own practice, or in terms of teaching and learning at Oxford as a whole.
  • How you designed and implemented your initiative/innovation.
  • The extent of learner engagement and interaction.
  • Evidence of a contribution to the student learning experience (qualitative and/or quantitative).
  • Scope for adapting your innovation for use in other disciplines and/or at other levels of study (i.e. the overall approach and tools used, rather than the content).
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