Meet the Winners – ALT Awards 2022

Wayne Gibbons – Award for Individuals Winner

Wayne GibbonsStudent motivation and engagement are complex in theory and practice. Many factors which affect these are outside the control of the lecturer, but that does not mean we can do nothing to make a difference. Coming from an engineering background, I wanted to explore a practical way to make this difference. I was able to combine this approach with my interest in educational technology in the form of digital open badges. When I started experimenting with this in 2015 digital open badges were relatively new and had not been used within an undergraduate programme at my institute. Therefore, there were many unknowns about how they might work and impact on the learning experience.

To address this, I designed a case study which included the views of multiple stakeholders (students, lecturers, institute management and an employer) at all stages (design, implementation and review of the digital open badge scheme). This research ran from 2016 to 2019 and was aimed at measuring the impact on the teaching and learning experience within a traditionally difficult-to-learn first year module on a Civil Engineering degree.

The findings show that the use of digital open badges positively influenced student engagement, motivation, peer-learning activity, confidence, and links to employability. As a result, a community of practice around the use of digital open badges has been established at my institute. In my role as Digital Badge Champion, I am grateful to be able to advise others on best practice around the design of digital open badges for their context.


Dave Ruckley – Award for Individuals Highly Commended

Dave Ruckley against the London skylineI have been working as a Learning Technologist for over 10 years and currently work at Swansea University Medical School. I work across the school on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes as well as on outreach projects.

When I started at Swansea, I set about introducing new and innovative methods of incorporating technology into teaching. For example, replacing long-form video lectures with short interactive eLearning packages, gamifying quizzes and app-based assessments.

During the pandemic, my role expanded to include developing alternatives to in-person laboratories. This led to the development of fully interactive online versions of labs and experiments that students could use via the VLE.

Outside of these projects, I have been involved in the development of the Diabetes Clinic@Home web app. This app has been developed to support people with diabetes in the improvement of their insulin injection technique as well as foot care. During the pandemic in-person clinics were suspended and even now more are taking place online or on the phone, so the app is an important tool for people with diabetes to be aware of any health concerns they may need to raise with their specialist team.

Everything I have done as a Learning Technologist over the past 10 years has had a positive impact on the general public – from developing CPD modules for Pharmacists across Wales to the Clinic@Home app. Knowing that all my work plays a part in improving health outcomes across the UK and internationally is what drives me to innovate where I can.


Falmouth University – Award for Case Studies in Ethical EdTech Winner

Caragh King headshotCaragh King, Digital Intern at Falmouth University, identified lack of a specific framework in place for the measurement and reporting of GHG emissions for online events hosted by UK Universities. Seeing an opportunity, she conducted a sustainability audit and impact assessment with Digital Events at Falmouth University and has created a process to evaluate digital events with an ethical focus.

This project created a Sustainable Digital Events Management System (SDEMS) delivering a digital intelligence toolkit for online, virtual and hybrid Digital Events produced by Falmouth University. This new SDEMS and digital event audit framework provides the University with the opportunity to include its own in-house digital event audit and CO2 emissions accounting, with additional sustainability criteria, inclusive of current strategic policies for the University’s own sustainable future goals.

Key areas of focus included in the framework:

  • Sustainable ICT Practices for In-house/ Remote Event Production by UK Universities and HE Institutions
  • Digital Service carbon foot-printing
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of IT equipment
  • Enabling Net Zero Carbon digital events, looking at carbon neutrality and climate positive actions as mitigation to known digital event impacts
  • Embodied carbon assessment of IT equipment, cloud & internet services, and power consumption
  • Peer review and verification

This project provides a digital events toolkit that incorporates other strategic themes including web accessibility, sustainable and remote ICT digital production and best practice. It offers the opportunity for present and future mitigation actions for reducing carbon emissions and proactively works towards Falmouth University’s and UK Higher Education sustainability targets.


The University of Glasgow Learning Innovation Support Unit – Award for Teams/Institutions Winner

The Learning Innovation Support Unit (LISU) expanded in late 2021 from 3.5 FTE to 9 FTE, in response to the increased demands to aid the growth of staffs’ digital literacies across the university of Glasgow.

At the core of our approach is delivering on the Learning and Teaching Strategy. The LISU deliver on the L&T strategy via a variety of mechanisms, with the core of our work focused on underpinning staffs’ digital competencies. One way we achieve this is by running an institution-wide needs analysis to capture and respond to skills gaps, but also allow Colleges and Schools to report areas of strategic ambition. From this, we analysed and created a targeted Upskilling calendar. These fully online Upskilling sessions are offered throughout a one-month time frame, themed into areas and are 30minutes in duration. Previous Upskilling calendars have resulted in excess of 4,000+ online views, highlighting the reach and effectiveness of the approach.

Taking this approach one step further, the LISU have deployed targeted ‘We asked, you said’ information flyers based on the results of our needs analysis. To ensure this information is impactful, we’ve developed an Engage, Watch, Attend structural approach. This is where, in each flyer we supply, contains links for staff to engage with, contains a LISU Shorts video that provides a sub 30 second overview of the tool/approach, and finally ways for staff to attend live or previously recorded Upskilling sessions.

Finally, the LISU are tasked with growing our online portfolio, ranging from MOOCs to fully online degrees. We are extremely proud to be delivering on our civic duties by increasing the access of quality free education for over 800,000 learners across the world. Furthermore, we continue to provide various on-ramps to education through the deployment of Microcredentials.

Falmouth University Digital Learning Team – Award for Teams/Institutions Highly Commended

Falmouth University Digital Learning Team

During the pandemic, Falmouth University’s Digital Learning team have worked incredibly hard to support their on-campus students by translating their creative, practical and community-based curriculum into online and blended modes through implementing new approaches, digital tools and re-imagining delivery.Additionally, the team have also been engaged in a large-scale project to develop and launch a new fully in-house online course offer, Falmouth Online, to challenging timescales.This extensive project covered three areas; procurement and development of a learning environment customised for creative online learning. Design and creation of a course development process, where Digital Learning works in partnership with academics from inception to launch. Lastly, the development and launch of the first courses – 2 BA’s and 2 MA’s.Creating a truly accessible, inclusive, and fully supported online experience was critical, as well as ensuring the learning environment was truly representative of our creative learners and academic staff, so design and user experience were key, with these elements being at the heart of all design decisions.A project of this scale would usually take several years, however through dedicated effort and use of agile practices, the team were able to pull together and launch the new service within 18 months. The compressed timescales to complete the platform, in addition to formulating a development process, shows the commitment Digital Learning have for their work as learning technology professionals in advancing quality online education and already they are starting to see great student feedback highlighting their considered and creative curriculum.



Anne-Marie Scott – Award for Leadership in Digital Education Winner

Anne-Marie Scott

I am currently Deputy Provost of Athabasca University, Canada’s equivalent to the UK Open University and before that I was Deputy Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services at the University of Edinburgh. I’m the Board Chair of the Apereo Foundation – the largest open-source software foundation in higher education – and because I’m still not busy enough, I am also a member of the After Surveillance network, a global group of scholars and practitioners concerned with surveillance practices in HE, and on the leadership team of the OpenETC, a shared set of open technologies for post-secondary within British Columbia, run along platform cooperative principles.

This mixture of roles across countries has given me a unique blend of strong technical skills, wide practical experience, and deep scholarly engagement, and reflects how important I think open education and ethical edtech are. As a practitioner and leader I am committed to sharing openly via my blog, presentation and publications. I believe it is particularly important as a leader to share when things are not going so well, or when I feel like I am failing, as well as examples of effective practice. Imposter syndrome is very real and being an authentic leader and a whole person is important.

I advocate strongly for the role that learning technologists can play in institutions, particularly in areas we might see as more peripheral, such as procurement. Technology and pedagogy are intimately connected and it is important that our expertise and frameworks like FELT are part of bringing edtech into our institutions.


Louise Drumm – Award for Leadership in Digital Education Highly Commended

Louise Drumm

Leading the Digital Support Partnership Project at Edinburgh Napier University

This project ran from June 2020 to July 2021 and was set up to create and role-model a vision of care-based online learning and teaching. The project had workstreams to engage students, train staff in curriculum design, and provide just-in-time resources for colleagues. The title of the project reflects that experience existed in all parts of the institution, and that partnership was key. Over 80 colleagues volunteered their time and expertise to provide multiple means for staff to engage with resources, training and an online institutional community. I drew on the principles of critical digital pedagogy and a scholarly evidence-base for online learning and teaching which prioritised equity, wellbeing and multiple perspectives over technology-driven solutions.

The initiatives included:

  • Regular community building webinars on online teaching
  • A lively Moodle Community for staff
  • A confidential ‘buddy’ system of peer support
  • Peer-sourced database of online teaching practices
  •  ‘12 Principles for Online Learning and Teaching’ guide
  • Curriculum design workshops
  • Peer-led ‘show and tell’ webinars to share success and failure
  • Online teaching Q&A drop-in webinars

The DSP not only impacted the practices of learning and teaching across Edinburgh Napier University during 2020-21 but has instilled an institutional culture of developing pedagogy through partnership and dialogue. Staff reported feeling more confident and empowered in their online teaching and students have reported feeling cared for by staff. The partnership approach, whether between staff and students, or academic and professional services colleagues, has become a model for enhancing practices throughout the university.


University of Leeds Minerva Upgrade Project Team – Award for Digital Transformation Winner

 Dr Steven Montagu-Cairns (Academic Lead), Paul Cave (Programme Manager).

The University of Leeds’ Minerva Upgrade Project was initiated in 2018 to upgrade the institution’s Blackboard virtual learning environment (VLE), known as Minerva. Substantial improvements to service reliability, accessibility, functionality and security were delivered during this major internal transformation project, with a thorough review of digital pedagogy being undertaken by the Minerva Migration Project Team to enable sustainable delivery of a more consistent and intuitive learning experience for students in the VLE.

An extensive programme of staff and student consultation and feedback gathering, including a one-year pilot of the new Ultra Course View module teaching space design, were used to inform project decision making. Feedback was passed to Blackboard, and the partnership between the project team and the company resulted in enhancements, new features and fixes being delivered to the core Blackboard product, benefitting users from across the world.

Training and guidance initiatives were provided to empower staff and students and enable them to harness the full potential of improvements, along with a suite of timely communications to raise awareness and to encourage engagement throughout the institution.

The Project both informed, and was informed by, the University’s Digital Transformation Strategy, which commits Leeds to an ambitious programme of innovation to ensure continuous provision of a sector-leading digitally enhanced learning and teaching experience. The Digital Transformation Strategy has an explicit focus on the interplay between technology and learning, and the evaluation and adoption of new technologies.

Interested in being a judge for next year’s awards? Express an interest via our call to get involved with ALT. Entries for the 2023 ALT Awards will open in the first half of 2023. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed to find out more.