ALT Learning Technologist of the Year Awards 2015

#LTAwards Shortlist

ALT Learning Technologist of the Year Awards 2015 sponsored by ULCC

The 2015 LTAwards were presented at the ALT Annual Conference in Manchester, on September 9 2015

To read about this years Awards, see

And download a pdf leaflet containing details on the winners and their work in learning technology.


The Awards celebrate and reward excellent practice and outstanding achievement in the learning technology field, and aim to promote intelligent use of Learning Technology on a national scale.  The Awards are open to individuals and teams based anywhere in the world. They are sponsored by the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC).

First, second and third prizes are available in each of two categories, individual, and team, as follows: 1st prize £1000; 2nd prize £500; 3rd prize £250. The Awards will be presented at ALT’s Annual Conference on the evening of 9 September 2015, University of Manchester. Winning entrants are invited to attend the event at no cost.

Vote for your favourite

The judging panel for the Awards always includes the previous year’s winners and together the judges select the winners. This year’s panel was chaired by Prof Diana Laurillard (UCL Institute of Education) and included Rebecca Garrod-Waters (Ufi Trust), Bryan Mathers (City & Guilds), James Pickering (University of Leeds), Rob Howe (University of Northampton) and Richard Havinga (ULCC). The judges choices for individual and team awards will be announced at the awards ceremony at the Annual Conference on the 9th September, however, this year we are also giving everyone the opportunity to vote from the shortlisted finalists to select this year’s ‘Community Choice’.

How to vote

There are two ways to vote via email and Twitter. Voting will be limited to one vote per account. Your account details (email addresses and Twitter screen names) will not be used for direct marketing or passed by ALT to third parties). All voting closes at midnight (BST) 8th September.

Vote via email

Send a message to with the tag of the person or team in the subject line. For example, to vote for Luke Burns email to with the subject ‘#LTA1′. We have prepared links below labeled ’email’ which should compose the message for you with you default email client.

Vote via Twitter

Tweet a message with the hashtag #LTAwards and the tag of the person or team you wish to vote for. For example, to vote for Luke Burns your tweet should include ‘#LTAwards #LTA1’. You are free to include other text/links with your tweet. We have prepared the links below labeled ‘tweet’ which compose a suggested tweet for you to edit. Retweets will be counted. If a Twitter account tweets or retweets more than one vote only the last vote will be counted.

This Year’s Finalists

  • Luke Burns, Leeds (Vote #LTA1 [email | tweet])
  • John Kerr, Glasgow (Vote #LTA2 [email | tweet])
  • Joel Mills, Hull (Vote #LTA3 [email | tweet])
  • Academic Support, Technology and Innovation, Plymouth (Vote #LTA4 [email | tweet])
  • Digital Learning Team, University of Leeds (Vote #LTA5 [email | tweet])
  • Ebola in Context MOOC team, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Vote #LTA6 [email | tweet])
  • TELMeD, Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Plymouth (Vote #LTA7 [email | tweet])

Shortlisted Finalists

Luke Burns (Vote #LTA1 [email | tweet])

Teaching Fellow, School of Geography, University of Leeds

Luke Burns

I make use of a variety of learning technologies in my work.  Teaching a compulsory geography skills module, it is important to enthuse students and make them feel passionate towards a subject that they haven’t freely selected to study. Typically, I do this through a mix of four approaches.

Firstly, I use audio/video captured lectures which record my sessions for online release.  This enables students to view the sessions on laptops/tablets/phones 24/7 and is ideal when completing coursework or preparing for exams.  From a ten lecture series in 2014/15, lectures were viewed 1018 times, an average 102 views per lecture.

Secondly, I make use of personally created e-learning tutorials (through Articulate) that guide students through common computer practical exercises.  These enable students to apply their taught skills to real-world scenarios linked to health, crime, migration and more.  These tutorials are downloadable for offline viewing and incorporate visual demonstrations, audio guides and pause points for students to follow along.  The collection of e-learning tutorials comprises six standalone practicals and a larger series of shorter ‘how to’ guides.

Thirdly, interactive polling is used in some of my lectures via PollEverywhere.  The novelty for students is that they vote / respond to questions via their mobile phone, tablet or social media account and the results feed onto the lecture screen for everyone to see.  It also offers people the opportunity to ask anonymous real-time questions which is something I find particularly useful when working with larger groups.  Concluding with an interactive quiz with real-time participation provides two-way engagement and ensures students feel a sense of involvement.  Furthermore, it is a vehicle to benchmark learning on-the-go; it gives me instant feedback on topics I need to re-visit.

Finally, I produce an e-folder taking all of the theoretical concepts covered in lectures to show how these apply to the wider-world and current affairs (e.g. 2015 General Election) by providing links to websites, podcasts, videos, blogs, e-books etc.   This e-folder is popular around exams.  From a class of 100 students, the folder received 1,900 hits in one month prior to the exam in 2013/14 and 2,300 in 2014/15.

John Kerr (Vote #LTA2 [email | tweet])

Learning Innovation Officer, College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow

John Kerr

John was appointed Learning Innovation Officer in March 2013 to provide TELT support within the College of Social Sciences (circa 600 staff and 9000 students) at the University of Glasgow. John plays a leading role in coordinating and building the College’s online profile, leading to an increased use of technology across the schools as a result of successful new initiatives.

Within 2 years John has identified staff interests, training needs, designed training support, introduced new Moodle sites and developments across the College, supported transition to Turnitin and recently URKUND, piloted Google Glass, led and coordinated the development and evaluation of two MOOCs, planning an additional 4 MOOCs to run in 2016, delivered several conference papers and attracted internal and external funding for TELT enhancements.

John has worked extremely closely with the curriculum architect on the funded BOLD (Blended and Online Developments) projects the College is currently building. These programmes are a new initiative for the institution and the College is playing a dominant role by developing a range of programmes online while continuing to support the need for blended courses. John is responsible for ensuring these courses meet the high expectations and standards of the institution by deploying innovative technologies and pedagogies required to enhance the student learning experiences.

A major component of John’s role is to keep abreast of innovative and cutting edge technologies. Examples of these technologies which John has successfully deployed include: Piloting Google Glass to improve the student experience – covered by Times Higher Education ( and to be presented at ALT-c 2015; using augmented reality posters to improve learning and teaching – example can be found here (

You can see more examples of good TELT practice the College is undertaking here –

Learn more about John’s work in this short video:

Joel Mills (Vote #LTA3 [email | tweet])

Technology Enhanced Learning Advisor, University of Hull

 Joel Mills Joel Mills

My work and particular area of interest is in game-based learning using Minecraft. I have been working on a number of Minecraft-based projects, in particular Minecraft in Higher Education.

I have been working with Minecraft in education for over 3 years now and am currently integrating it into my work as a Technology Enhanced Learning Advisor at the University of Hull. I also work as a Minecraft Consultant, a job I never thought even existed, helping communities and organisations engage people through maps and ideas that can be realised in this open, sandbox game.

From Architecture to Archives, from Chemistry to Supply Chains, Minecraft is being used as part of the teaching and learning process here at the University.

In July 2014, I started HullCraft, (, a minecraft project that was an extension of efforts at the Hull History Centre to engage young people with the work of the architect, Francis Johnson. This project is now being extended to work with Dr Stuart Mottram in the History Department on his “Being Human” exhibition, featuring the creative output of Andrew Marvell, a Hull-born poet and writer.

HullCraft enabled the University to equip a workshop of 30 machines with MinecraftEDU, an educational version of Minecraft which gave us the springboard to launch other Minecraft projects across the faculties. Conversations about Minecraft began as whispers in corridors that grew into steady dialogue.

Before long I was involved with a Minecraft project in Chemistry with Dr Mark Lorch, Associate Dean for Engagement, to work with and develop a Minecraft-based resource and teaching tool on “Protein molecule identification and mapping in Minecraft”. Through their investigations, creative play and problem solving, 3rd year students are reinforcing their knowledge and discovering new approaches to learning their subject.

Moving into History and Archeology, I began conversations with Dr Helen Fenwick on developing a map of the deserted medieval village at Wharrem Percy to provide a virtual Archeological site in Minecraft. Students can rebuild the village from images, plans and illustrations; through visualising the site in Minecraft, the students will gain better understanding of the materials, layout, construction and social living spaces on this well documented site.

In the Business School it was a natural conversation to have with the Logistics Programme team to develop maps on warehousing and Supply Chain Management. Together we are exploring the possibilities that Minecraft has in this area. We are also writing Minecraft into the Curriculum design for 2016 in this programme.

Areas of new research are developing in Clinical Psychology surrounding the use of Minecraft in working with young people with Mental Health issues. I am excited about the opportunities to make a difference in this field.

Outside the University I have delivered a world-wide MOOC on “Minecraft for Educators”, with over 3000 enrolments spanning 12 different countries and at all levels of education from Primary through to Higher Education. On the MOOC I gave assessments directly in game via a plugin called BukkitLTI that created an immersive assessment experience.

Some of my own personal investment has been to support the set up and delivery of St Nicholas’ Primary School Minecraft Club. Working with the ICT teachers and a Minecrafting parent, Shelly Horst, I support the club every Thursday during term time and we also run a holiday club for a week during the summer holidays. We are very oversubscribed!

Learn more about Joel’s work in this short video: 

Academic Support, Technology and Innovation, Plymouth University (Vote #LTA4 [email | tweet])


Academic Support, Technology and Innovation, Plymouth University  In 2012, Plymouth University developed a range of institutional strategies, one of which was the commitment to enable and support delivery of institutional ambitions through appropriate use of digital technology. This coincided with the undertaking of a major restructuring of the University’s professional support services. These changes presented an opportunity to integrate previously separate areas of practice – Learning Technology, IT Training, Information Specialists and TEL Researchers, into a new department called Academic Support Technology & Innovation (ASTI)

ASTI is responsible for supporting digital activities and skills of students and staff (professional support and academic). Departmental roles were reviewed and refocussed to accommodate naturally evolving adjustments in remit due to technological innovations. The outcomes were creation of a new role of Digital Skills Developer and the amalgamation of all Learning Technologists into a single team.

In 2014 ASTI played a critical role in the successful implementation a new Digital Learning Environment (DLE). The DLE entailed integration of Moodle (replacing SharePoint), Talis Aspire reading lists, a new Teaching and Learning Repository,, online submission and marking, PebblePad, formative feedback and summative assessment solutions, mobile learning and Shibboleth SSO.

One of the most important success factors was the restructuring of ASTI into faculty focussed DLE teams for the duration of 2014. Together with a temporary team of DLE Advocates they developed and delivered training, support and guidance to ensure a smooth institutional transition.

ASTI concentrated on advocacy and support of the DLE, from introductory training through to ‘art-of-the-possible’ workshops. It worked with over 1000 academic staff by offering a range of workshops, small group activities, 1-to-1 support, online materials and programme team activities. This intense effort enabled Plymouth’s teaching to move wholesale into a new learning environment, and more importantly, enabled staff to embed learning technologies into the curriculum whilst signposting appropriate use of technology for enhancing the student experience.

This work continues and the lessons learned from the DLE experience have gone on to redefine ASTI’s practice, resulting in a responsive portfolio of support opportunities that are developed and redeveloped to meet the ever changing needs of academic and support staff.

asti logo 2[42]Learn more about ASTI’s work in this short video:


Digital Learning Team, The University of Leeds (Vote #LTA5 [email | tweet])


Digital Learning Team, The University of Leeds The University of Leeds Digital Learning Team (DLT) comprises a group of dedicated professionals who have come together as a project team to develop a range of online learning resources and courses. The initial team included just 1.5 posts and has grown steadily over the past 18 months and is currently 16 strong.

Since October 2013, the DLT has produced eight Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) ranging from anatomy and physical theatre through to World War 1 and politics. In addition the team has developed two, 10-week credit bearing blended learning modules and is currently scheduled to develop a further 10 modules over the next 2 years. These modules are delivered via the university’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and are designed to broaden the horizons of campus-based students. The modules are delivered online to enable students to take part regardless of timetabling commitments, and make use of a wide range of learning technologies to enhance the learning opportunities for students (E.g. wikis, blogs, a/synchronous discussion, quizzes / tests).

By the end of this year the DLT will have designed, developed and delivered 11 MOOCs and 5 discovery theme modules, providing a stimulating learning journey for well over 100 000 learners worldwide.

The team also creates and re-purposes learning materials for publication on other external digital learning channels, in support of the University’s commitment to Open Educational Resources (OERs).  This includes management of the University’s iTunes U channel and publication of 165 content collections and courses to over 55,000 users worldwide in the 18 months since launch.  The team manages the post-production, editing, publication and management of these resources on iTunes U.  Also, the team has responsibility for management and promotion of the University’s Jorum site, which houses over 500 OERs for HE teachers, and Box of Broadcasts (BoB) resource.

The team’s approach to course design and development is structured and consistent.  All courses are developed to high production standards, designed to include video, animation, articles, quizzes/tests, discussions and interactive activities. The team works collaboratively on all projects, having daily team meetings to review progress, discuss course design and manage priorities.

Learn more about the Digital Learning Team’s work in this short video: 

Ebola in Context MOOC Team, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Vote #LTA6 [email | tweet])

Ebola in Context MOOC Team
The School’s first MOOC, Ebola in Context: Understanding Transmission, Response and Control, occurred as an unplanned and unfortunate by-product of the 2014/15 Ebola humanitarian crisis, and was developed, from initiation to finished course on the FutureLearn platform, in just 7 weeks. The course was positioned as a rigorous, contextually-aware perspective on the outbreak, with material aiming to promote practical discussion and assuage fears and prejudices caused by sensational media reporting.

Learner engagement from low- and middle-income countries was very strong and particularly in West Africa, with over 185 countries and territories represented. In addition, groups of clinical staff working on the front line for Médecins Sans Frontières and Save the Children completed the course together to complement their work in Ebola Treatment Centres.

The course has initiated and boosted engagement with open educational practices (OEP) within the School and beyond. Since its launch, we have received enquiries regarding use of the course materials in other contexts from several HEIs and organisations globally, including as part of an advanced programme for US high school students. We have conducted a range of internal dissemination activities to develop understanding of and interest in open education, and will soon launch our own Open Study platform, housing Open Educational Resources (OER), including those from Ebola in Context, open access courses, and links to open research and data across a range of disciplines. This hooks into the School’s key mission: to improve health and health equity worldwide, through promoting access to learning resources and expert commentary.

Technology Enhanced Learning for Medicine and Dentistry (TELMeD) (Vote #LTA7 [email | tweet])
Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Plymouth University

Technology Enhanced Learning for Medicine and Dentistry (TELMeD)

The Technology Enhanced Learning for Medicine & Dentistry (TELMeD) team in the Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PU PSMD) was formed in 2013 with a mission to research, develop, embed and advance innovative cost-effective technologies to enhance learning and support teaching within PU PSMD. Our 2020 TEL Strategy has been drawn up around the themes of engagement, awareness and empowerment with rigorous 3-year implementation cycles to support and promote cognitive and meta-cognitive learning.

In the last 12 months we have demonstrated impact at local level by developing an Immersive 3D Dome ( based Public Health Campaign ( targeting over 550 local School children, at a national level by developing a tool for Appraisal training for around 330 GPs, and at a global level by developing a Distributed Simulation module for EBOLA PPE training for over 500 health workers in West Africa.

Underpinned by the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge framework, we successfully introduced a Technology Enhanced Team Based Learning intervention (involving 180 students and over 20 staff members) to assist in the consolidation of learning within our Problem Based Curriculum. We successfully designed a bottom up collaborative students as partners and producer intervention model allowing medical and computing students to develop learning technologies collaboratively while accomplishing the learning outcomes as part of their respective modules.

Additionally, based on HEA CLL funding, we have ventured into mobile learning by developing a gamified formative mobile quiz app to foster challenge based learning using crowdsourcing techniques, a QR code based anatomy learning app supporting ubiquitous learning and a learning aid app to foster conceptual recall and reflection. We have also developed the first non-linear dental virtual patient used by our undergraduate dental students to improve clinical decision making and improve confidence during early patient encounters. Some of the results will be shared during the ALT 2015 conference and through journal articles by the end of 2015. Some of the apps will be released by the end of 2015 and various tools will be open sourced by mid-2016 for the benefit of the wider TEL community.

Learn more about TELMeD’s work in this short video: 


About the Judges

The Awards were judged by a panel chaired by Diana Laurillard, President of ALT and Professor of Learning with Digital Technologies at the London Knowledge Lab, UCL Institute of Education. The panel was:

  • James Pickering – Lecturer in Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of Leeds  and last year’s winner in the individual category;
  • Rob Howe – Head of Learning Technology, University of Northampton and last year’s winner in the team category;
  • Rebecca Garrod-Waters – Chief Executive of the UfI Charitable Trust;
  • Richard Havinga – e-Learning Solutions Architect, ULCC;
  • Bryan Mathers – City & Guilds.