Two Open University (OU) projects which demonstrate teaching excellence and digital innovation have been shortlisted this month (March 2018) for the Guardian University Awards 2018.
The OU’s Internet of Laboratory Things project, part of the OpenSTEM Labs, has been shortlisted for the Teaching excellence award, which celebrates teaching initiatives that inspire student learning and attainment through innovative pedagogy and places teaching at the forefront of the university’s mission. This project provides Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students with learning experiences based on innovative teaching excellence. It connects students to instrumentation and equipment for practical enquiries over the internet, where distance is no longer a barrier and where access to equipment can be enabled 24 hours a day.
The Digital innovation award, which celebrates a university that is implementing innovative digital technology solutions to improve pedagogy, the student experience and online course delivery, shortlisted the OU’s Accessible Interactive Media player (AIM). This project delivers highly accessible content and exciting options to support learning for all students. It runs in all modern web browsers and devices, and has advanced features for accessibility. It was rolled out for all modules from late 2017 and is now available to all OU students.
Commenting on the fact that the OU has been shortlisted in the Digital innovation category, Dr Steve Rycroft, Head of Learning and Teaching Environments, said: "It is always an honour to be shortlisted for the Guardian awards, and this is the second year in a row that we've made it through in the Digital innovation category, so we're all really chuffed! This project was an amazing team effort, working with dedicated educational technologists in Learning and Teaching Innovation and IT, all really passionate about improving the student experience in our Virtual Learning Environment and creating new options to enhance the accessibility of our digital learning content. I am very proud to be part of the OU Learning Systems team."
The winners will be awarded at a ceremony in London on Tuesday 24 April 2018.