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Bristol Italian language tutors win international award for innovation in technology-enhanced learning

Miss Marcella Oliviero and Mr Andrea Zhok

Miss Marcella Oliviero and Mr Andrea Zhok from the Department of Italian

5 May 2016

Two tutors in the University’s School of Modern Languages have been recognised for their work to involve students in technology-enhanced learning.

Miss Marcella Oliviero and Mr Andrea Zhok won first prize in the 2016 Apereo Teaching & Learning Awards (ATLAS) for a project that helped first-year students in the Department of Italian teach elements of grammar to their peers. With support from University staff, students were encouraged to develop their own tutorials using Xerte, an open-source software package for the creation of interactive teaching and learning materials. As a result, students gained a greater stake in their own learning, improved their subject knowledge and acquired new IT skills.

Apereo is a network that develops and maintains e-learning software used in thousands of educational institutions worldwide. Packages like Xerte permit the use of a wide range of functions and media to make the learning experience richer and more diverse than is possible with traditional methods. The tutors’ success was announced at the 2016 Xerte Conference in Nottingham and involves an invitation to present their work at the Open Apereo conference in New York later this month.

Mr Zhok said: ‘Technology-enhanced learning has been an important driver of teaching innovation over the last decade. There has been a lot of talk about student-centred learning and we believe that our approach really does this by pushing students out of their comfort zone, while providing a lot of guidance and support and facilitating the achievement of important results. We believe that this also constitutes a real progression from secondary to higher education, where students are more responsible for their own choices.’

‘We did not expect that our small-scale project would receive international recognition in such a strong and diverse field, but we are obviously delighted, especially as this award highlights the continual commitment to excellence in teaching in our Department and the School of Modern Languages.’

Further information

More details about the awards and a full list of winners is available on the ATLAS website.

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