Posted on 13/09/2013
Royal Holloway has been shortlisted for two awards in the Times Higher Education Awards 2013. Professor David Cohen from the Department of Computer Science has been shortlisted in the ‘Most Innovative Teacher of the Year’ category, while Royal Holloway has also been nominated for having the ‘Most Improved Student Experience.’
“It is a real honour to be nominated,” said Professor Cohen. “I believe that the key for success in teaching is identifying and applying teaching methods that encourage self-learning. This then enables students with different learning styles to succeed.”
Professor Cohen introduced SCRUM-based agile program development, the industry standard, into Software Engineering courses. He restructured teaching of this core material, by using a problem-based approach, which has really helped students when they move into industry. Indeed, feedback has been excellent and graduates have found they can immediately apply professional skills and their practical knowledge of state-of-the-art tooling.
Professor Cohen was also the first in the UK to design and deliver a course on programming Lego robots in support of first-year teaching of Java programming. “Working in groups, students develop key professional skills and discover that programming is both necessary, and a fun activity,” he said.
Royal Holloway’s nomination for the ‘Most Improved Student Experience’ Award follows a number of initiatives and improvements, including extending student study spaces in the library, improving IT facilities and the quality of teaching rooms, refurbishing the Students’ Union and extending the graduate employability schemes.
These continuous improvements have also led to success in the National Student Survey (NSS) over the last five years, culminating in an impressive 89% for overall student satisfaction this year. This puts Royal Holloway in the top 25 of universities in the UK and above the national average.
“I am delighted that our determination to deliver an outstanding student experience has been recognised,” said Professor Paul Layzell, Principal of Royal Holloway.
“We are committed to ensuring every student gets the most out of their university education and this year we will continue to implement new initiatives such as growing the Royal Holloway Passport initiative to build employability skills, finalising plans for a new library and innovation in the way we teach and assess.”
The winners will be announced in November.