All posts by Claire Burnham

Winners announced: Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence awards 2021

Congratulations to the winners of the Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence Awards 2021. These awards reward individuals and teams who make a marked impact on enhancing the student learning experience. This year’s winners impressed the judging panel with their commitment to students, as well as the transformational impact of their work.

Professor Tom Ward, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Education congratulated the winners:

‘Since starting at the University in May, I’ve been impressed by the commitment of colleagues to work in partnership with students to enable the very best educational experience for our students.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence Awards recognise and celebrate outstanding work happening across the University. This year’s winners have demonstrated passion, creativity and impact and I’m sure that you will all join me in congratulating them on their achievements.’

Awards and Recipients

Individual Award Winners

Dr Vanessa Armstrong, School of Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Sciences

Recognised for: work as Academic Lead in Employability and the transformational impact within the School in this area. The development of the placement year within the School,  influence on the wider view of placements across the institution, and research in this area was commended.

Dr Vanessa Armstrong

‘I’m really honoured and grateful  to receive the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence in recognition for some of the initiatives and contributions I have made to teaching and learning since starting my role at Newcastle University in 2012. 

It is great to get recognition for the employability-related projects that I have worked on that have had a positive impact on our student cohorts and helped them to gain confidence and go on to graduate destinations.  Accessibility of opportunities for all is something that I am passionate about and hope to carry on working on and developing working alongside colleagues across the School, Careers Service and University.’

Dr Stacy Gillis, Senior Lecturer in Twentieth Century Literature & Culture, School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Recognised for: the scale of the transformational impact in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, across all levels. Numerous awards and positive feedback show how Stacy’s effective teaching is valued by students.  The panel found the work undertaken with children in care was moving and particularly noteworthy, showing positive value for both students and the children. 

Dr Stacy Gillis

‘In these days in which the humanities are under attack for a perceived lack of ‘value’, it is so heartening that the institution is recognising the work of those of us who teach in the humanities: the humanities is the study of what makes us human, and how we got to this point, how to respond to the challenges of today, and where we might go in the future.  This award really marks the tremendous work of all my students (past, present and future!) in grappling with these complex – but ultimately rewarding – challenges.’

Team Award Winners

Combined Honours Centre, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Recognised for: the passionate and supportive environment the Combined Honours Centre provides for their students. This is clearly demonstrated by the excellent student feedback and numerous nominations for TEAs. The panel felt that an inclusivity document produced by Combined Honours was commendable and noted that the Combined Honours Centre clearly has an innovative approach to teaching and learning with co-creation and student partnership at the forefront, and this gives real value to the students.  

Combined Honours Team and Students

‘The Combined Honours team wishes to dedicate this award to our strong and vibrant student community who have made such a vital contribution to the life of our centre and the university as a whole. We are truly humbled to have received such a prestigious award and delighted to have had the opportunity to share our passion for student engagement and student-staff partnership with the awarding panel.  We hope that this experience will create further opportunities to promote our supportive culture, and approaches to collaborative learning and teaching across the wider university, offering support to others that want to do the same.’ 

Patient Pathways, Graduate School, Faculty of Medical Sciences

Recognised for: The Patient Pathways Workshop event sees proactive roles for patients in the teaching of Clinical Scientists as they share personal experiences of their pathway from discovering the first signs of head and neck cancer through diagnosis, treatment and subsequent after care with small groups of trainee Clinical Scientists. The panel found the project very moving with an excellent ethos and transformational impact for all people involved. The student experience is enhanced significantly through experiencing the patient stories, with a clear impact on practice in the NHS. The panel thought the project to be very innovative, were impressed by the co-design of the workshop, and feel this work should be championed across the Faculty and wider institution. The resilience shown by the continuation of the workshop during the pandemic was commendable.  

Patient Pathways Team

Dr Chris Eggett, Degree Programme Director said:  

‘I’m delighted and honoured to receive this award on behalf of the delivery team for our Patient Pathway Workshop.  The success of this teaching session over the last five years has been due to the superb contributions from a broad team of enthusiasts.  Local patients are key members of the teaching team working alongside NHS and academic colleagues from Newcastle, London and Liverpool to give our MSc Clinical Science students insight into all aspects of a patient care pathway from diagnosis, through treatment to recovery.’

For further information about the awards, including the application process, please visit the VC’s Education Excellence Award section of the LTDS website. The 2022 awards will open next academic year.

Learning Analytics

Do you know how analytics might help you in your teaching? 

There are lots of definitions of learning analytics but the most widely cited definition that aligns with Newcastle University’s approach is what Siemens and Gašević’s describe as “the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about students and their contexts to help institutions understand and optimise educational processes, learning and the environments in which it occurs.” 

With this in mind, colleagues came together at the latest NUTELA session to explore analytics and share what worked for them. We’ve included videos and some key ideas from each of our presenters below: 

Using analytics to gain insights into students’ access. 

Rachelle Maddison, INTO  

Rachelle used analytics with a small group of international students during the lockdown to check if they could access resources on Canvas. Rachelle’s transparency about the purpose of using Canvas New Analytics promoted trust and partnership with students.  

In this video, Rachelle explains how this helped her to make changes to her course content early in the academic year. 

Using Canvas New Analytics for Course Review 

Danny Homer, LTDS 

Danny employed his analytics expertise using Canvas New Analytics reports with Power BI for in-depth analysis and visualisations of course participants’ online interactions. Danny explains how he was able to overcome the limitations of the available analytics interfaces using New Analytics reports. 

ReCap Analytics as an insight into the instructional and content redesign for Executive MBA at NUBS 

David Grundy, Newcastle University Business School 

David used ReCap analytics with a small group of 15 students and a larger group of 220 students. See how David worked around video parameters to review the content and format and make ReCap videos more digestible to students. 

How to use ReCap Analytics 

Carol Summerside, LTDS 

Carol introduces ReCap analytics which give insights into viewer interactions with recordings. She demonstrates how to access analytics and shares some practical tips for getting started.  

To find out more about analytics, visit the Digital Learning website or sign up for a Canvas Analytics webinar

Get involved in NUTELA  

NUTELA is a group of academics, professional service staff, and technicians who care about improving learning and teaching at Newcastle University. 

Our termly sessions focus on technology in and for teaching. They’ve been a bit different this year but usually involve some pizza, pop and a chance to practice. 

Microsoft Team 

Join the NUTELA Team to continue the conversation about using technology in your teaching.  The Team includes resources, upcoming events and the chance to connect with colleagues across the University. NUTELA advocates are also on hand to answer any NUTELA related questions you might have. 

Three Rivers Conference

Knowledge Exchange for Learning and Teaching in HE

25 June 2021

If you are interested in attending this Learning and Teaching conference, there’s only a few days left to book/register !

Register here by the end of the day on Wednesday 23 June.

This 15th regional conference builds upon the success of previous partnership events held by the region’s Universities (Sunderland, Northumbria, Durham, Newcastle, and Teesside).

The aims of the Conference are to:

  • Develop the regional understanding of key issues in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education
  • Share effective learning and teaching practices
  • Draw new people into our Learning & Teaching support networks and providing a networking opportunity

Through the conference we encourage all staff involved in teaching and/ or supporting learning in their institutions to explore opportunities to develop their teaching practice. This event also welcomes others involved in L&T related research projects in their institutions, such as postgraduate researchers and undergraduate students.

Find out more about the conference and view the full programme at

Booking information

Please book to ensure that there are no issues receiving the conference links by email. These links will be emailed to those who are registered on Eventbrite. 

And please remember that we are restricting bookings to the North East Institutions and co-presenters. Please register using your university email address. Please email if you have any questions about the conference.

Preparing students for their future, not our past:How the pandemic pushed us past the tipping point into education 4.0

The Art of the Possible keynote session

Monday 5 July, 11am-12 noon

Colleagues and PGR students can register here

Students can register here

We are pleased to welcome Professor Helen O’Sullivan, Chair, Association for Learning Technology, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Chester University who will be discussing the lessons we’ve learned during the pandemic and what we can take from the pandemic into the real world. Find out more about Professor O’Sullivan below.

Biography – Professor Helen O’Sullivan


As Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor O’Sullivan is responsible for providing strategic leadership of the academic function of the University, including the development of the academic portfolio, enhancement of the teaching and learning experience and leadership of the Deans of Faculty. She joined Chester on 1st April 2021 and before that was Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) at Keele University.

Helen graduated in molecular biology at the University of Liverpool before taking a PhD in bacterial genetics. After a postdoctoral fellowship, she moved to a lectureship in biological sciences at what is now Liverpool Hope University. She became interested in the psychology of learning and undertook a range of leadership roles including Dean of Sciences and Social Sciences.

Helen moved to the University of Liverpool in 2006 to lead the HEFCE-funded Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. The work of the centre helped to shape how medical professionalism is taught across medical schools in the UK. Her research focuses on the role of emotional intelligence in developing professionalism and leadership in doctors, and she was promoted to a Personal Chair in Medical Education in 2013. Her subsequent interested in how developments in digital education can support social learning as well as developing flexible, online and transnational education led to her appointment as Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor for Online Learning at Liverpool.

Helen is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Association for Leaning Technology (ALT). She is a member of UUK International’s Transnational Education Advisory Board, a member of the Advance HE Board and is Co-Convener of Advance HE’s DVC/PVC Network.

The Art of the Possible

Taking place 5-9 July, the Art of the Possible is a week of online events and activities including presentations, workshops, case studies, and the launch of the Newcastle University Learning and Teaching Podcast. Find out how you can get involved.

Online External Examiner Training

Starting this September, Newcastle University is working with Advance HE to offer online External Examiner Training. The training will run over two months and is aimed at aspiring, new, or experienced examiners. It will support you to:

  • understand the role of the external examiner as articulated in the UK Quality Code for Higher Education, and be confident to undertake it; 
  • develop a deeper understanding of the nature of academic standards and professional judgement, and explore the implications for external examining; 
  • use evidence-informed approaches to contribute to impartial, transparent judgements on academic standards and the enhancement of student learning. 

Participation in the course can be used as evidence towards gaining (Senior or Principal) Fellowship of the HEA. 

The course begins on Monday 13 September 2021. You will be guided to complete five units over two months. Each unit takes 2-3 hours to complete, and on the whole there are 4 hours of online contact with the team.

More information can be found in the External Examiner Training Poster.

Colleagues should register by Friday 16 July by completing this form.

Should you have any queries, do not hesitate to contact

Technology in Teaching: Reflect, Rethink, Repurpose

As the 2021 academic year is coming to an end, Newcastle University Technology Enhanced Learning Advocates (NUTELA) brought together a panel of colleagues to share:

  • Reflections on moving so swiftly to online teaching
  • Rethinking delivery with some examples
  • Re-purposing digital content for a blended approach

From practical tips on encouraging student participation to wider discussions around creating student connections, here are the highlights from the session.

How would you approach a flipped classroom?

Dr Ahmed Kharrufa, School of Computing describes how he successfully incorporated videos, reading materials, live sessions and practical activities into a relaxed weekly timeline.

Director of Digital Education Dr David Grundy gives an overview of the Canvas features he used to help students navigate through their course and shares some of the innovative new digital projects recently funded in the Business School.

As a guest lecturer on over 40 different modules, librarian Emily Dott brought a different perspective to the panel discussion. Sharing how a non-synchronous approach works for the library team, Emily reflects on what worked as well as the elements of synchronous sessions that aren’t as easy to replicate.

Integrating digital skills into courses can be challenging but is now more important than ever. Dr James Stanfield from the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, shares how the new module ‘Adventures in Digital Learning’ successfully addresses aspects of digital literacy. He also details how blogging can be a useful tool for reflective practice and shares ideas for increasing student connections next year.

If students could tell their lecturers one thing what would it be?

Dr Brook Galna shares some insights from Sport and Exercise Science students. From positive feedback about short, interactive lecture content to issues around access to technology, student reflections will have a real impact on next year’s teaching.

Find out more about NUTELA

NUTELA are group of academics, professional service staff and technicians, who care about improving learning and teaching at Newcastle University.

We have termly sessions focussing on technology in teaching. They’ve been a bit different this year but usually involve some pizza, pop and a chance to practice.

Microsoft Team

Join the NUTELA Team to continue the conversation about using technology in your teaching.  The Team includes resources, upcoming events and the chance to connect with colleagues across the University. NUTELA advocates are also on hand to answer any NUTELA related questions you might have.

All are welcome to join us.

Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2021

We’re keen to make sure our postgraduate taught students have the best possible experience while studying with us.  To do this, we need to know what they think works well and what we could do better.

The Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) is the student’s chance to tell us about their experience as a taught postgraduate student at Newcastle University.

The PTES launched in April and students will have already received an invitation from JISC to take part in the survey and also a further email on behalf of with a personal link to the survey.  To date, 13% of taught postgraduate students at Newcastle University have taken part in the survey.

The survey will close on 17 June, 2021, and is anonymous and will only take around 15 minutes to complete.

Find out more about PTES on the LTDS website and if you have any queries please get in touch at   

Learning Design Bootcamp Success

A team of academic and professional services colleagues have successfully applied to take part in this year’s Learning Design Bootcamp. 

Introduced in 2019, the bootcamp is a fantastic opportunity for teams to work with experienced colleagues from other institutions to design and develop modules of their choice.  

The successful Newcastle University team are based in the School of Modern Languages and the Learning and Teaching Development Service, bringing lots of ideas and expertise to the process. The team will benefit from a range of workshops, the chance to connect with a community of practitioners and access to their own mentor and coach.  

The bootcamp will support teams with the implementation of online/blended learning covering 4 key aspects of learning design: 

  • Student journey 
  • Learning Design 
  • Evaluation  
  • Quality  

Nuala Davis, Learning Enhancement and Technology Projects Adviser is part of the successful team and has shared how it is going so far: 

“Even though we are now less than half-way through the Bootcamp we already have lots to reflect on and bring forward into our practice. It’s giving us the opportunity to learn more about module design in the context of a real project.” 

An educational experience supported and enhanced by technology is a key theme in our Education Strategy  and taking part in the programme offers a unique opportunity to develop confidence in broadening the choice of learning design approaches adopted by academic and professional services colleagues. 

Following the bootcamp, the team will have lots of knowledge to share, so look out for some case studies, events and our own internal bootcamp.  If you are interested in finding out more, get in touch with  

NUTELA events

Join us for our next NUTELA (Newcastle University Technology Enhanced Learning Advocates) events . Sessions run on May 10 and 11 – please sign up for any you like below.

Learning Analytics

Monday 10 May, 10:00-11:00

Do you know how analytics might help you in your teaching?

In this session you will find how you might use analytics in your course to support your practice. We will cover:

  • ReCap Analytics
  • Canvas New Analytics

You will also hear practical examples from colleagues who have already started using analytics.

Sign up to Learning Analytics

Technology in Teaching 2021: Reflect, Rethink, Re-purpose

Tuesday 11 May, 11:00-12:00

Hear from our top panel of academic colleagues and NUTELA advocates as they share their plans for teaching next year. They’ll share:

  • Reflections on moving so swiftly to online
  • Rethinking delivery with some practical examples
  • Re-purposing digital content for a blended approach

As always there will be lots of time for your questions and discussion. We look forward to seeing you there.

Sign up to Technology in Teaching 2021

Microsoft Team

Join the NUTELA Team to continue the conversation about using technology in your teaching.  The Team includes resources, upcoming events and the chance to connect with colleagues across the University. NUTELA advocates are also on hand to answer any NUTELA related questions you might have.

All are welcome to join us.

Advance HE: in Partnership

April Newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest news from AdvanceHE in the latest newsletter which includes:

  • Connect Benefit Series: Sustainability for everyone
  • Student Partnerships in Assessment Programme
  • Education for Sustainable Development
  • Advance HE Member Survey
  • Teaching and Learning: Senior Fellow Month
  • New network for women in senior leadership roles
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Governance: Advance HE invites applications to join its Board of Directors
  • International Spotlight
  • New Content and Publications
  • Conferences and Events Development Programmes

Find out more about AdvanceHE on their website and if any Newcastle University colleagues have any questions please get in touch at