The Office of Open Learning has honoured two instructors for their commitment to enhancing student learning through excellent digital teaching.
The 2023 recipients of the Dr. Alan Wright Award for Exemplary Digital Teaching are:
- Gemma Smyth from the Faculty of Law and
- Tranum Kaur from the Faculty of Science.
Before the COVID-19-related online shifts, they began infusing digital tools and open educational approaches, and are continuing to develop their scholarly teaching. The award recognizes innovative and effective digitally-enabled teaching practices that engage students and promote equitable learning environments, and which emphasize the principles of open practice.
This year’s call for nominations saw the highest submission numbers since the 2017 inception of the awards, notes Nick Baker, director of the Office of Open Learning.
“With the experience of the last few years in our sights, we’re excited by the quality and variety of approaches to online, hyflex, and digitally-enabled teaching and learning at the University of Windsor,” Baker says.
Committee member Nobuko Fujita, a learning specialist in the Office of Open Learning, says she is impressed by the accomplishments of all the nominees.
“We could have awarded any of the applicants this year,” she says. “Dr. Smyth and Dr. Kaur, because of their sustained efforts and evidence infusing technology in their teaching to foster student learning, are truly inspiring.”
Smyth, associate professor and externship director in the Faculty of Law, is recognized for her innovative approaches in law education. To address the problem of scarcity of educational resources in the field of clinical and experiential education, Smyth hosts an open-licensed YouTube channel for instructors and students. She also recently published Learning in Place, an externship program open textbook, to create engaging and innovative learning experiences for her students. By incorporating intentional, incremental development of open pedagogies over time, Smyth has provided the atmosphere for her students to be inspired and accomplished.
Kaur, learning specialist and co-ordinator of the Master of Medical Biotechnology program in the Faculty of Science, is recognized for her commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion as well as open educational practices in her teaching. She has utilized digital engagement tools, open textbooks, and other online resources to provide all students with impactful learning opportunities, even when face-to-face instruction was not possible during the pandemic. Kaur’s commitment to reflective, student-centred teaching practices has encouraged her students to achieve even in the complexity of a new learning environment.