Centre for Academic Practice

Procedures and Schemes

Ritas 2016/17

Research-informed Teaching Awards

This prestigious annual award has been introduced by the University to recognise and celebrate Loughborough academics who have demonstrated excellence in research-informed teaching.

Research-Informed Teaching Award Recipients 2017/18

In 2017/18 four members of staff received Research-informed Teaching Awards. The recipients were:

Prof Katherine Gough (SSPGS) for her expertise in pedagogical research which demonstrated clear evidence of her expertise and the impact she has had over a sustained period of time as well as the positive impact on students’ learning.

 

Dr Hao Xia (AACME) also for his expertise in pedagogical research and the impact he has had on student learning.

 

Dr John Hillier (SSPGS) also for his expertise in pedagogical research and the impact he has had on student learning.

 

Dr Thomas Page (LDS) for his expertise in curriculum design which demonstrated how he has also made an impact on student learning over a sustained period of time.‌

Research-informed Teaching Award Recipients 2016/17

In 2016/17 three members of staff received Research-informed Teaching Awards. The recipients were:

Dr Line Nyhagen(Department of Social Sciences)

Line Nyhagen

Line was awarded a RiTA for among other things her expertise in curriculum design which forges links between her research and her teaching. 

Dr Cheryl Travers (School of Business and Economics)

Cheryl Travers

Cheryl is the Director of Executive Education and awarded a RiTA for her expertise in pedagogical research which has had significant impact on student learning over a sustained period of time.

Dr Heike Jons (Department of Geography)

Heike was awarded her RiTA for demonstrating expertise in curriculum design which enables her students to benefit directly from her research over a range of modules. 

 

Research-informed Teaching Award Recipients 2014/15

In 2014/15 four members of staff received Research-informed Teaching Awards. The recipients were:

Dr Jo Harris (Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)

Jo is recognised worldwide for her expertise in pedagogical research focusing on the teaching of health within school physical education. Alongside her contributions to academic journals and conferences Jo has authored evidence-based national guidelines on the teaching of health-related exercise (HRE) in schools and produced resources for National PE Professional Development programmes in England and Wales. She has used this expertise to develop Loughborough’s PGCE teacher training course into a Master’s degree programme. This transition required amendments to the content, delivery and assessment of the PGCE course in order to develop students’ Masters level skills and included a complete revision of the PGCEs core modules. Jo’s dedication and excellence in her teaching has most recently been recognised by the Higher Education Academy following her attainment of Principal Fellowship.

Dr Jonathan Millett (Social, Political and Geographical Sciences)

Jonathon has developed his taught Part C module ‘Forest Ecology’ into a research/consultancy project which mimics his own research process. Students are tasked with undertaking a carbon audit of a forest for which they must make measurements, analyse the data collected and make links to broader forest processes. Jonathan has endeavoured to develop students as researchers in other areas, both at degree level through his dissertation module and at A-level through participation in the Nuffield Foundation Summer Research Placement Scheme. The Nuffield Foundation Summer Research Placements is a scheme for students hoping to undertake a degree in STEM. Jonathan hosted two students for 5 weeks each in the summer of 2014 with both working closely with him on two projects. With Jonathan acting as a guide throughout the students planned studies, collected data and then communicated their findings by writing a final report and by producing a poster for an end of programme event similar to a research conference. 

Professor Memis Acar (Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering)

In 2012, Memis designed and initiated a new research module (Advanced Engineering Research) in the Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering with the aim of supporting Part D MEng students develop the skills necessary for further study at Doctoral level. Enrolled students are supervised throughout and afforded a number of seminars on research methods, technical report and journal paper writing to foster the knowledge and skills relevant to their research activities. Their final report is written in the form of a journal paper with the expectation being that the paper will be nearly ready to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. Memis also initiated the ENSURE Scheme which provides engineering undergraduates across the UK an opportunity to gain research experience at Loughborough University during the summer prior to their final year. Its success has led to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) establishing its own countrywide ‘Vacation Bursary Scheme’.

Dr Duncan Walker (Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering)

Duncan has used use his own research in applied aerodynamics to bring real world examples into the classroom environment. His 4th year Experimental Fluids Mechanics (EFM) module is constructively aligned to take the students through all phases of experimentation including planning and design, analysis and presentation of results and application of different measurement techniques. Duncan illustrates each stage of the process using relevant case studies taken from his own and colleague’s research and combines this with practical activities and assessments. Furthermore, students are provided hands-on experience of experimental techniques usually confined to postgraduate study. In one instance, students are given a tour and practical demonstration of Rolls-Royce UTC's complex test facility. This not only provides students a practical demonstration of material discussed in lectures but also generates the data they analyse in subsequent coursework assignments.

Research-informed Teaching Award Recipients 2013/14

In 2013/14 three members of staff received Research-informed Teaching Awards. The recipients were:

Dr Marcus Collins (Social, Political and Geographical Sciences)

Through application of his own pedagogic research Marcus has looked to develop both his teaching practice and his students as engaged researchers. He has taken a leading role in the development of the newly established single honours History programme in collaboration with two student researchers. Within E-learning Marcus has innovated the use lecture capture, pre-recorded lectures, automated attendance, exam hotlines, audio feedback and electronic voting. His final-year module on The Beatles and the 1960s sees students conducting their own research and ultimately contributing to the literature through online publication. Marcus is widely published and a frequent contributor to national teaching conferences and workshops.

Professor Jo Bullard (Social, Political and Geographical Sciences)

Jo has applied the techniques used in her own research to engage students in the area of aeolian geomorphology. Students are asked to examine sand samples from aeolian deposits collected by Jo before describing and classifying them. They are then exposed to videos of particles of different sizes and shapes moving under the influence of the wind (filmed by Jo and colleagues for research purposes) to better understand the influence of small-scale changes on larger scale processes. Additionally, drawing on her research on the impact of dust in the Earth’s system, Jo has innovated use of the web-based NASA tool ‘Giovanni’. This tool allows students to download satellite data, identify dust concentration in the atmosphere and produce animations to show how a dust storm develops. By redesigning her module in such a way Jo has enabled students to become active partners in their learning.

Professor Malcolm Cook (Civil and Building Engineering)

Having developed the programmes curriculum Malcolm is currently Programme Director for the MSc in Low Carbon Building Design and Modelling (LCBDM). Malcom has created a programme thoroughly informed by research, from its conception to its intended learning outcomes. For example, one important aspect of the course relates to commissioning. To demonstrate the process of developing and testing a commissioning strategy Malcolm undertook a research project in partnership with architects Short and Associates. Alongside the published papers the project produced DVDs were created to demonstrate the commissioning process, providing students the best possible insight into the challenges and methods of commissioning innovative, low energy buildings. Another key aspect of the LCBDM programme is the requirement that students prepare a conference paper providing them experience of presenting their work in front of other MSc students and industry.

Research-informed Teaching Award Recipients 2012/13

In 2012/13 four members of staff received the first-ever Research-informed Teaching Awards. The inaugural recipients were:

Professor Jonathan Chambers (Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering)

Jonathan restructured the teaching of digital signal processing (DSP) within the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in 2007. He then introduced a new MSc programme entitled Signal Processing in Digital Communication Systems and obtained support from Texas Instruments, the foremost manufacturer of signal processing devices, to open a dedicated Real-Time DSP Lab within the School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering in 2011. 

These state-of-the-art signal processing development tools have allowed him to enhance his teaching by generating assignments to develop programming and evaluation skills, and he has used industrially-informed research problems to engage his students. 

Professor Barbara Jaworski (Maths Education Centre)

Most of Barbara’s research has focused on the teaching of mathematics and its development at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Teaching at the University has provided her with the opportunity to extend these studies to her own teaching and that of her colleagues 

Design of mathematical tasks, teaching approaches and research methodology is central, with Barbara applying and extending theoretical perspectives used at other levels.  She works particularly with inquiry approaches in three layers: students’ learning of mathematics, teachers’ teaching of mathematics and the developmental research process. For example, a research project, Engineering Students Understanding Mathematics studied an innovation into mathematics teaching for first year engineers involving inquiry approaches and computer-based learning environments.

This research promoted developmental practice, fed back to the teaching team and created new knowledge in the field of university mathematics teaching.

Dr Carol Robinson (Maths Education Centre)

Carol has taught at Loughborough University since 2003 and specialises in mathematics for engineering students.

Many Loughborough students have a passion for sport and Carol has utilised research into Mathematics in Sport to motive and enthuse students. First year students encountered topics such as the Duckworth-Lewis model for one-day cricket, modelling of the pulse-rate of long-distance runners and downhill skiing. 

Carol has pioneered the use of electronic voting systems at the University and undertaken research demonstrating the much improved in-class engagement of students. She formed and led an electronic voting systems staff interest group, with over 40 staff members. 

Dr Adrian Spencer (Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering).

Adrian led the development of several laboratories to reinforce applied thermodynamics modules and enhance undergraduate teaching and learning. This was largely done by final year project students working on applied scale facilities rather than bench top demonstrators. It provides two facets: engaging project work for final year project students while also delivering improved teaching facilities and learning experiences.

The development of two Masters modules has also demonstrated the use of inquiry-based learning in terms of developing students as researchers. This is particularly true for ‘Propulsion Design for the Environment’ where students must lead their research and learning for a successful outcome.

RiTA selection process

Each school is invited to submit nominations for the Research-informed Teaching Awards to a University selection process. School Management Teams (or a sub-set thereof) review applications and submit their nominations to the Secretary of the University Selection Panel.

Up to four Awards are available each year.  

Dates for 2017 applications are available in the guidance document.

For any additional information contact Nick Allsopp in the Centre for Academic Practice.