University of Leicester achieves double awards in National Teaching Fellowship Scheme

Posted by pt91 at Jul 26, 2012 12:05 AM |
University wins two prestigious awards for excellence in higher education teaching and support for learning

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 26 July 2012

Jpg images of Professor Gráinne Conole and Professor Jon Scott available from

The University of Leicester has for the first time won two prestigious awards in a national scheme that recognises excellence in teaching and support for learning.

The University has previously achieved seven single awards from the Higher Education Academy  – but is now among a select few universities to achieve a double award in 2012.

The National Teaching Fellowship award winners from the University of Leicester are Professor Gráinne Conole who is Professor of Learning Innovation and Professor Jon Scott, of the Department of Cell Physiology and Pharmacology.

Congratulating them, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Christine Fyfe said: “The University of Leicester takes great pride in the success of Jon and Gráinne in winning these awards against stiff competition.  In their different ways both have made outstanding contributions to the student learning experience, helping to further enhance Leicester’s position as a top 20 research-intensive institution that values excellent teaching.”

The award winners were chosen from over 180 nominations submitted by higher education institutions across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Each will receive an award of £10,000 which may be used for Fellows’ professional development in teaching and learning or aspects of pedagogy.

Grainne conole

Professor Gráinne Conole said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have been successful with this.  I am very passionate about my teaching and want to promote effective pedagogies through innovative use of technologies. I see this award as recognition from my peers of the work I have been doing over the last 25 years.

“The award will help demonstrate to the wider community the value of the approach I have adopted and also recognises the University of Leicester as an innovative teaching institution committed to enhancing the student experience and making pedagogical informed use of new technologies.

“Most students now juggle their student work with other commitments (family, work, etc.). Most do not have the luxury of studying full time with no other commitments. Today’s students are technological immersed, they cannot conceive of a world without computers or the internet. However despite this they may lack the necessary digital literacy skills to make effective use of technologies for academic study.

“There are now a plethora of amazing technologies that can be used to support learning, but practitioners lack the necessary skills to make effective use of them. New approaches to designing for learning - one of my main research interests - is one way of addressing this.”

Jon Scott

Professor Jon Scott said:  “This is a real honour for me to receive this award as it marks recognition by the national community of my contributions to learning and teaching in higher education.


“I am delighted for the University, and particularly for the School of Biological Sciences since we now have three NTFs in the one School. This really flags up the commitment of colleagues to enhancing the student learning experience. The School of Biological Sciences has established a very strong national profile as a leader in higher education and I am particularly grateful to all my colleagues in the Pedagogical Research Group for creating such a strongly supportive environment.”

The scheme is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, and is open to staff whose roles support the student learning experience at institutions in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The new National Teaching Fellows will officially receive their awards at a ceremony which will take place in London on Wednesday 10 October 2012.



Professor of Learning Innovation,  Beyond Distance Research Alliance

Prior to her role at the University of Leicester Professor Gráinne Conole was Professor of e-Learning in the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University. Her research interests include the use, integration and evaluation of information and communication technologies, and e-learning and the impact of technologies on organisational change. Two of her current areas of interest are how learning design can help in creating more engaging learning activities and Open Educational Resources research. Updates on current research and reflections on e-learning research generally can be found on her blog

Gráinne has extensive research, development and project management experience across the educational and technical domains. Funding sources for her work have included the EU, HEFCE, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), JISC and commercial sponsors). She serves on and chairs a number of national and international advisory boards, steering groups, committees and international conference programmes. She has published and presented nearly 1,000 conference proceedings, workshops and articles, including the use and evaluation of learning technologies. She was co-editor of the RoutledgeFalmer book Contemporary perspectives on e-learning research and has a forthcoming book entitled Designing for learning in an open world.

She passionately believes in apply research findings into practice and has been an innovator in the use of technologies to enhance the learner experience since the nineties. This has included the creation of interactive resources, creative use of Virtual Learning Environments and the use of social and participatory media to foster different pedagogical approaches. She has also worked extensively with practitioners to help them make more informed design judgements about how to create pedagogical effective learning interventions that make innovative use of new technologies. The has included the application of a new learning design methodology, which consists of conceptual design views and a social networking site ( for the sharing and discussion of learning and teaching ideas.

She has two daughters, Eleanor and Tabby and personally she loves sailing, reading, traveling and cooking and has a personal blog where she posts on these topics (


Professor of Bioscience Education and Academic Director, College of Medicine, Biological Sciences & Psychology

University of Leicester

A deep commitment to enhancing the experience of the student learning journey, at all stages, characterises Professor Jon Scott’s approach to his work. This begins well before university entry through engaging students from regional schools in practical classes and then supporting the processes of transition through a mentor scheme that is now being adopted across his whole University.

Jon has led on a range of key projects at institutional level, including retention, assessment and feedback, use of the virtual learning environment (VLE) and academic integrity, all of which are underpinned by active contributions to current research in the areas and relate back to the commitment to enhancing the student learning experience. As part of these developments, Jon also works to support colleagues in improving their practice. This is achieved at School level through the Pedagogical Research Group which he established and more widely, through an annual series of focused staff-development workshops that he organises. Leading by example is also vital and he is continually striving to ensure that his own teaching and assessment practice is always improving:

‘Encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject, and presented in an easy to understand way. Couldn't ask for better.’

‘I just want to say thank you very much for being such a good tutor. Your very prompt and informative feedback was much appreciated. As a student I find such support very important and was always grateful to receive it’.

Jon has actively promoted teaching and learning on the national stage through membership of the education committees of learned societies. He was vice-chair of the Advisory Group for the HEA Centre for Bioscience and is now leading on the HEA’s Special Interest Group in pedagogical research for the biosciences. Through these he has organised and hosted a number of national workshops, for example on qualitative methods in pedagogical research in the biosciences in June 2012. His national contribution to bioscience education was recognised through being named ‘Bioscience Teacher of the Year’ in 2011:

‘An individual who genuinely puts student engagement at the heart of his academic practice.’

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