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7 March 2012

The winner of a competition to find examples of inspiring teaching at UCL has been announced and awarded an iPad.

Lorraine Dardis, winner of the CALT Inspire competition

Lorraine Dardis, who was until recently the teaching and learning development and administration manager at the Institute of Child Health (now working in the UCL Office for International Affairs), won the prize based on a simulated learning module she introduced in 2007.

The UCL Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching (CALT) held the competition at ‘Inspire’, an event designed to get people talking about teaching and learning with colleagues from other disciplines. To enter the competition, staff had to talk to camera about an inspiring teaching experience they had had (see the full footage at the bottom of the article).

Dardis won the competition after describing a module she introduced at the Centre for Health and Development in 2007. ‘Health District Management: planning and programme design’, which was initially developed in Australia, was an intensive, three-week module in which students planned a five-year health project in a rural, undeveloped setting named the Republic of Freedonia.

Working in teams of five or six, the students were each assigned a specialist role, from medical worker to community developer, and were able to consult with stakeholders played by teachers.

Though the country was fictional, its circumstances were based on those of actual places, and the teams had to deal with time pressures and limited resources as if they were in a real-life setting.

“It was a wonderful experience for the students to connect with a real-world setting but also apply their own skills while learning project management,” said Dardis in her video entry.

“The students would come in and say, ‘I dreamed about Freedonia last night!’ I think they left quite inspired about their own talents and skills but also felt that they were more grounded and that they could practise better in the field [as a result of the project].”

On hearing that she had been awarded first place, Dardis said, “I am surprised and delighted to have won this prize. I am glad it has given me the chance to share a bit of the history and experience of Freedonia at UCL. Thank you, CALT.”

Su Bryant, director of CALT and chair of the judging panel, said: “We chose Lorraine as the winner because we liked the fact that the module she introduced enabled people to operate in the kind of roles that they would find in the professional world while in the safety of a simulated environment.

“It offered a fantastic opportunity for students to develop transferable skills, both personal and professional, in the context of their discipline.”

Other entrants in the competition included Tim Causer, whose work transcribing the unpublished manuscripts of Jeremy Bentham is enabling students around the world to learn about historic handwriting; Stephanie Lazzaro, who helps her students learn about fear memory by throwing beanbags at them; Nick Grindle, who used objects from UCL Museums and Collections to inspire his History of Art students; and Richard Laughlin, who reminisced about a lecturer who had sent his class out to work in the community long before it was a commonplace teaching practice.

View the full footage from the competition below:

Page last modified on 07 mar 12 11:13

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