In her March 2016 President’s Address, Professor Alice Gast highlighted the importance of excellence in teaching and research.  She dedicated £1 million per year to reward excellence while promoting courageous and innovative ideas in research and teaching. This is part of Imperial’s strategic commitment to invest new funds to pursue new and risky ideas.

The Excellence Fund for Learning and Teaching Innovation is an outcome of this strategic aim, and is being announced alongside the Excellence Fund for Frontier Research.

These kinds of teaching innovations and evidence-based approaches are going to become central to what we do at the College.

– Professor Simone Buitendijk

Vice-Provost (Education)

This year’s funding is being given to projects with a primary focus on innovation in the use of technology enhanced learning and innovation in assessment and feedback.

Professor Buitendijk, Vice-Provost (Education) said: “This scheme is an excellent example of the College’s commitment to providing the very best educational experience possible. This funding will give our most innovative teachers the time and space to be bold, to test new methods and to learn together with students.

“As we develop and start to implement our new Learning and Teaching Strategy over the coming months and years these kinds of teaching innovations and evidence-based approaches are going to become central to what we do at the College.”

The six successful projects will each receive up to £50,000 a year for the next two years.

Imperial College Concept Collaboratory (ICCC)

The team aims to establish the Imperial College Concept Collaboratory (ICCC), which will act as a repository for concept-based education at Imperial.

The ICCC will utilise inquiry based activities, interactive virtual labs and innovative learning materials such as comics and games that can be accessed by staff and students across a range of courses and disciplines.

Students will be able to monitor their development and achievements through the ‘Concept Passport’ which will collect marks as they work their way through different levels of activity within the platform.

This project is co-led by Professor Klaus Hellgardt, Dr Bradley Ladewig, Dr Clemens Brechtelsbauer, Dr Umang Shah and Dr Andreas Kogelbauer all from the Department of Chemical Engineering.

CHEMTRACK – Personalised journeys through chemistry

The aim of CHEMTRACK is to create a programme of chemistry education, placing students at the centre of the design and implementation of the laboratory activities.

CHEMTRACK will ultilise a series of practical challenges to enable students to realise their potential as scientists and inventors during their undergraduate studies.

The programme will run in partnership with the Imperial College Advanced Hackspace and from 2018 will utilise the College’s Molecular Sciences Research Hub and Invention Rooms at the White City Campus.

This project is co-led by Dr Laura Patel, Professor Oscar Ces, Dr Joao Pedro Malhado and Dr David Mountford from the Department of Chemistry.

IMPLEMnT

IMPLEMnT is a digital platform incorporating a toolkit to empower teachers to create original resources that support blended learning. The project will build on existing technological infrastructure developed by the Faculty of Medicine.

Incorporating tools that support development of pre-recorded content, case and team based learning, IMPLEMnT will democratise access and promote the independence of teaching staff.

The platform will also use in-built staff tutorials to highlight the pedagogical benefits of each tool and promote evidence-informed practice and increase tutor awareness of relevant educational literature.

This project is co-led by Katie Stripe and Dr James Moss from the National Heart and Lung Institute and Alex Compton, President of Imperial College School of Medicine Students’ Union.

Data analysis of online learning

This project will bring together existing data analysis expertise and technologies in Mathematics and Chemistry with data created through the Business School’s online learning platforms.

The aim is to generate knowledge and techniques that enable teachers to enhance students’ experience of online courses and specifically identify approaches that lead to increased student performance and satisfaction.

This project is co-led by Professor Mauricio Barahona, Department of Mathematics; Professor Sophia Yaliraki, Department of Chemistry and Dr David Lefevre, Imperial College Business School.

Making tomorrow’s doctors today’s teachers

This project will use third year medical students in the process of course and curriculum design, utilising students’ educational experience and use it as a driver for learning and teaching innovation.

Utilising the principles of the College’s Centre for Engagement and Simulation Science led by Professor Roger Kneebone, students will use high realism simulation, realistic prosthetic materials and professional actors to simulate learning scenarios.

This project is led by Dr Ged Murtagh from the Department of Surgery & Cancer.

Online interactive visualisation

The team will create a suite of online interactive visualisations for explaining key concepts within Physics and other STEM subjects.

Tackling key concepts which students struggle to gain a deep conceptual understanding such as vector algebra or calculus, the visualisations will be used in lectures and tutorials as well as allowing students to explore concepts in advance of flipped lecture format teaching.

The project will also create a library of tools to develop visualisations which can be used by other staff who will be able to design further visualisations on other topics.

This project is co-led by Dr Caroline Clewley, Professor Dimitri Vvedensky, Professor Peter Török, and Dr Jonathan Eastwood from the Department of Physics.

Source: Innovative projects receive funding thanks to new Excellence Fund