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National teaching award for University academic


Dr Paul Brett has received a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy.

Paul is the Head of the University’s Blended Learning Unit at the Institute for Learning Enhancement and is responsible for the successful integration of e-learning into the curriculum.

All the winners receive an award of £10,000, which may be used for Fellows’ professional development in teaching and learning.

Dr Brett said: “It is a great honour to have gained this award and I am absolutely delighted. It could not have been achieved though without the support of many, many colleagues at the University who have worked with me over the years.”

In the early part of his career, Paul taught English as a foreign language for the British Council in Venezuela and Dubai. He says this experience in a jungle-based classroom in 1984 kick-started his interest in developing learning with computers. His approach is characterised by aligning face-to-face learning with computer-based tasks which inspire and engage students.

His recent work has included the use of the text messaging to support module-based learning through the Mobiles Enhancing Learning and Support (MELaS) project, which looked at which approacheswork and which are not successful in the use of SMS with learners. Paul has had a major influence on the wider e-learning community through establishing the Heads of e-Learning Forum (HeLF).

His current research centres on the potential of student-led and controlled e-learning using free Web 2.0 applications, which allow users to interact as contributors to sites.

The National Teaching Fellowship scheme aims to raise the profile of learning and teaching, recognise and celebrate individuals who make an outstanding impact on the student learning experience, and provide a national focus for institutional teaching and learning excellence schemes.

50 award winners were chosen from nominations submitted by higher education institutions across England and Northern Ireland.

The awards will be presented to Fellows at a celebration event in London on Wednesday, September 29 2010.

The Blended Learning Unit recently won a platinum award for its achievements in enhancing learning and teaching through the ‘high impact’ use of technology. The Instructional Management Systems (IMS) Learning Impact award recognised the University’s work with PebblePad.


The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) is part of an overall Academy programme to raise the status of learning and teaching in higher education. It is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland (DELNI).

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