UCLan scoops national technology award as Edufuturists ‘University of the Year’

University honoured for its DigiLearn Sector initiative to promote the effective use of technology in teaching and learning

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has scooped a national award for an innovative project to share and promote the use of technology in teaching and learning amongst colleagues from across the education sector.

At a special online awards ceremony held by national education technology group Edufuturists, UCLan was chosen as ‘University of the Year’ for its DigiLearn Sector initiative which has already attracted members from over 300 universities, colleges and schools since it was first launched last April.

The internal DigiLearn initiative was first developed by UCLan’s Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching team in 2018, to enable teaching staff to share innovative practice with each other and help improve the learning experience for students at the university. 

Since then, the project has been expanded beyond the university to become available to other universities, colleges and schools across the country and now has 960 members signed up to its DigiLearn Sector community.

Its members look to share digital approaches with each other to help improve the way courses can be taught to students.

The new project has increased in popularity since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden move towards online teaching and learning. This has led to hundreds of additional colleagues from across the country signing up to the DigiLearn Sector, with the expectation that most online teaching will be online when universities reopen in September.

With the DigiLearn Sector, we have tried to provide an open space for people to connect, collaborate and share good practice and we are delighted with the response it has produced - not only at UCLan but also from other universities, colleges and schools.

The Edufuturists award was voted for by both staff across the education sector and members of the public for candidates who have made a real difference towards both educational technology and the future of education.

Chris Melia, Senior Learning Technologist at UCLan who received the award on behalf of the university said: “It was a real honour for the UCLan team to be shortlisted and then receive the ‘University of the Year’.

“With the DigiLearn Sector, we have tried to provide an open space for people to connect, collaborate and share good practice and we are delighted with the response it has produced - not only at UCLan but also from other universities, colleges and schools.”

James Crooks, Director of Learning and Information Services at UCLan said: “The progress we’ve made over the past few years on our digital journey has been incredible, and this award is testament to all of the outstanding collaboration and hard work from our technical and academic staff. I’m so proud what we’ve achieved as a team and excited to see how we can continue to build on this in future.”

Ben Whitaker, Director at Edufuturists, said: “The Edufuturists have a real passion to recognise, celebrate and champion future-focused educators. The work that Chris and the team at UCLan are doing in terms of innovation, building a digital community and working for authentic collaboration, really is exemplary. Up against some stiff competition in this category, we are pleased to present the university with this award.”

Chris Melia

Chris Melia, Senior Learning Technologist at UCLan

Tim Fernandez | 31 July 2020