Award nominations for teaching excellence and business engagement at Nottingham Trent University

Innovative teaching methods and a scheme to help businesses reduce their environmental impact have earned Nottingham Trent University three nominations in the Guardian University Awards 2015.

Innovative teaching methods and a scheme to help businesses reduce their environmental impact have earned Nottingham Trent University three nominations in the Guardian University Awards 2015 – two for Teaching Excellence and one for Business Partnership.

Nominated for Teaching Excellence is digital humanities project, Dawn of the Unread, which has transformed students' approach to learning about culture and the arts. Led by local writer, James Walker, students from the School of Arts and Humanities were involved in the conceptualisation, production, curation, marketing and dissemination of a professional quality, online interactive graphic novel about Nottingham's past.

The novel sees the city's famous historical literary figures rise from the grave to wreak revenge against the closures of libraries and low literacy in C21 Britain.

In its first year, 112 students engaged with the project, including undergraduates studying History, Media, Literature, Journalism and Philosophy, as well as peers in the School of Science and Technology and School of Art and Design.

Also shortlisted for Teaching Excellence is the university-wide SCALE-UP project, through which students learn by doing rather than by listening. Lectures are replaced by problem-solving activities carried out in groups and a specially designed learning environment encourages joint-working, with circular tables, shared networked laptops, whiteboards, and large screens on which to project and share student work. Students are required to watch and read material before the class and then develop ideas in the session.

Originally developed in the USA as an alternative to lecture-heavy teaching, Nottingham Trent University is the first UK university to offer full institutional support for the method. More than 30 modules from disciplines as diverse as Media, Sports Science, Marketing and Law now incorporate SCALE-UP, which has been shown to have many benefits for student learning, including enhanced problem-solving ability, increased conceptual understanding, and higher attendance and satisfaction rates.

Nominated for Business Partnership is Nottingham Business School, together with local partner, Nottingham Energy Partnership. As part of their core curriculum, students of the School act as consultants to local businesses, helping them to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and achieve Investor in the Environment (iiE) Accreditation. In autumn 2014, 25 organisations were supported towards gaining Environmental Management Systems (EMS) accreditation. Local businesses included the Castle Rock Brewery, Cloud Cars, Wego Couriers and sole traders such as Honest Inks toner recycling, alongside the four local Clinical Commissioning Groups and Broxtowe Borough Council.

The project has demonstrated the key role business schools and students can play in providing practical supporting in the shift to a low carbon economy, by helping businesses across all sectors work on reducing their environmental impacts and developing niche low carbon products and offers. The student participation fills the skills, funding and time gap that often prevent businesses from gaining accredited EMS.

Together with Nottingham Energy Partnership, Nottingham Business School also offers an international summer school where students from all over the world can help local business to get iiE Accreditation. The summer school in 2014 led to other universities worldwide implementing this innovative approach.

Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, Professor Edward Peck, said: "As a 21st-century university we are always looking for ways to energise and transform learning. These projects are perfect examples of how we're using real business engagement, new technologies and methods to engage our students."

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Helen Breese, Media Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8751, or via email.

    SCALE-UP: Student-Centred Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies

    Environmental Management System (EMS) is a framework that helps a company achieve its environmental goals through consistent control of its operations

Award nominations for teaching excellence and business engagement at Nottingham Trent University

Published on 9 March 2015
  • Category: Business; Press office; School of Art & Design; School of Arts and Humanities; Nottingham Business School; School of Science and Technology

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