World beating technology

25 May 2010 15:12:00.000

PA 120/10

The University of Nottingham has scooped a major international award for its innovations in learning technology.

A suite of online learning tools — developed by the Learning Team — has won top prize at the IMS Global Learning Consortium’s Learning Impact Awards in Long Beach, California.

Against 27 finalists from around the world, Xerte Online Toolkits won one of four Platinum awards alongside the likes of the BBC.

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Xerte Online Toolkits is a free tool and available to anyone with internet access, to help people create rich, interactive content that is engaging and dynamic, developed by the University’s Information Services.

Traditional learning materials are text-reliant, which presents barriers to many learners. With Xerte Online Toolkits users can use video, audio and imagery to get the best out of their presentations. Xerte can also get the computer to read text and create audio files to lift barriers to blind and visually impaired learners, and those with reading difficulties.

Professor Wyn Morgan, Director of Teaching and Learning said: “This is a remarkable achievement and we are delighted with the result.

“The University is committed not just to helping our students get the best from their Nottingham experience, but also sharing that experience with people around the world, who can’t for whatever reason, attend the University.”

The key with Xerte Online Toolkits is simplicity and ease of use: “Anyone can use them,” explains Learning Team Leader Andy Beggan.

“They’re designed specifically so that even the least technically minded people can create absolutely stunning content.

“To date the Xerte Online Toolkits have been used by governments and NGOs in Africa, mainstream, further and higher education, in-house employer training, Adult community learning and — very pleasing to us — is the use of Xerte Online Toolkits in prisons to help offender education.”

The University of Nottingham has worked alongside JISC TechDis, the leading advisory service on inclusion, to ensure Xerte Online Toolkits provide a highly accessible and simple to use e-learning development tool. Throughout this time, JISC TechDis and the University’s Learning Team have collaborated closely to promote Xerte and support the creation of online communities around the toolkits.

JISC TechDis has promoted Xerte to a number of sectors and supported its use by producing a series of tutorial guides (www.techdis.ac.uk/getxerte), a free online ‘sandbox’ to enable users to experiment and test their learning objects (www.techdisplayxerte.info) and by running monthly online training sessions for teaching staff and developers (www.techdis.ac.uk/getxertefriday).

JISC TechDis has also forged key stakeholder partnerships, such as Higher Education Academy Subject Centres, JISC Regional Support Centre, National Institute of Adult and Continuing Education and Learning and Skills Improvement Service, that have helped drive Xerte developments forward by encouraging take up and use of the toolkits.


— Ends —


Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.

The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.

Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City

Story credits

More information is available from Andy Beggan on +44 (0)115 846 7707



Andrew Burden

Andrew Burden - Digital Communications Manager

Email: andrew.burden@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8313 Location: University Park

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