press release
Published: 09 December 2016

University awarded almost £100,000 to develop innovative teaching and learning projects

By Peter La

The University of Surrey has been awarded nearly £100,000 from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to develop two innovative projects in teaching and learning.

Group of people walking beside the Duke of Kent building

Competing against over 130 bids from other universities across the country, the University of Surrey was successful in receiving funding through this competitive grant scheme. The scheme sought projects who will fully engage students in the innovation, as well as demonstrating a clear and robust approach to project management, methodology and evaluation.

The Department of Engineering is set to receive £50,000 to research and develop new game-inspired apps and online resources to increase awareness and knowledge of engineering disciplines.

Targeting schools and non-engineering graduates the project, led by Dr Esat Alpay, aims to attract more individuals to the field helping to address the shortfall in the number of practicing engineering graduates. The online tools will present users with engaging and problematic engineering scenarios requiring e.g. ethical decision-making, creative thinking or a holistic  design approach.

The Department of Higher Education has also been awarded £45,000 for a project, led by Dr Naomi Winstone, to create an innovative online tool which will give universities a better understanding of students’ engagement with feedback.

Feedback is essential to student success, however, it is difficult for institutions to assess how students engage with advice as their behaviour is often hidden. The new tool will bring together feedback in one place, guide students through reflection and goal-setting activities and also enable learners and their educators to track progress and see how and where the utilisation of feedback has led to educational gains.

To ensure that the tool is effective, individual students and the Students’ Union will be heavily involved in promoting and supporting the project.

President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Max Lu said: “I am thrilled to hear that two projects from the University of Surrey have been successfully funded through this competitive grant scheme.

“Both projects are student focused, which will no doubt add tremendous value to our core mission of helping our students learn and realise their full potential.  The grant successes also reflect the breadth and depth of the expertise and excellence of our staff in teaching and learning, and curriculum innovation.”

HEFCE’s Chief Executive, Professor Madeleine Atkins, said: “We were delighted by the level of interest from universities and colleges in developing new ways of working and are pleased to be funding such an exciting range of learning and teaching innovations.

“We look forward to working with the project organisations to share the lessons across the sector.”

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