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Centre for Online and Distance Education

Roger Mills prize winners 2020


We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2020 Roger Mills prize for Innovation in Learning and Teaching.By narrow margins, mainly to do with scale and transferability, the Careers Group and the CDE team who developed and oversee the University of London PGC Learning and Teaching in Higher Education submissions were both judged to merit the Roger Mills Award. The LSHTM and Goldsmiths schemes were both highly commended.

The prize, sponsored by University of London, is named in memory of Roger Mills, longstanding and well-loved former Fellow of the Centre for Distance Education and Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Open University. Roger made a major contribution to the support of innovation in learning and teaching in the University of London through his contribution to projects and academic policy development. This prize commemorates his contribution.

Four applications

Online careers support, submitted by Laura Brammar for The Careers Group described an original, multi-stranded scheme to help students to identify and develop career-appropriate skills and qualities. The scheme has already been widely used, and has received very positive feedback from users.     

Development, evaluation and transfer of an innovative alumni-peer mentorship scheme for MSc students undertaking a research project via distance learning, submitted by Anna Foss for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) used alumni to mentor subsequent cohorts of students undertaking research projects as part of their Masters-level studies. The process was clearly beneficial to both mentors and mentees.

Sleuth, a gamified assessment platform for learning computer programming, submitted by Simon Katan and Edward Anstead for Goldsmiths Department of Computing, teaches students to programme and debug code through participation in an online detective game where they solve computing problems. Sleuth,  generated a very high level of student engagement in learning activities, and excellent student assessment results..

Postgraduate Certificate  in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, submitted  by Gwyneth Hughes for the Centre for Distance Education is attracting growing numbers of participants from around the world, including teachers in the University of London Teaching Centres. Research shows a positive impact on participants' educational thinking and practice.

The panel

Panel members were very impressed by the quality of each of the applications. Each project takes a scholarly and rigorous approach to enhancing student learning on University of London distance learning programmes. Members of the judging panel were Prof Mary Stiasny OBE, PVC (International), Chair, with Prof Alan Tait and Dr David Baume (CODE Fellows). (Members recused themselves from consideration of projects in which they had been involved.)

Awards ceremony

We are delighted to confirm that the University of London Vice Chancellor, Prof Wendy Thomson, and members of Roger Mill’s family will present the Prize straight after lunch at the Research in Distance Education conference on Friday 13 March 2020.