Monday, June 29, 2009

Old English scholar wins award for pioneering use of technology

Dr Stuart Lee, an English lecturer at the University of Oxford, has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy for his work bringing medieval texts and other literature to life for students through modern technology.

Dr Lee, a member of the English faculty and also the Director of Computing Systems and Services for the University, teaches courses ranging from Old English literature to the poetry of the first world war to electronic publishing. He has been extremely successful in bringing IT and e-learning into his teaching, merging the online with Oxford’s traditional teaching systems.

He was one of 50 people to get the award from the Higher Education Academy, and will receive an award of £10,000 for professional development in teaching and learning.

Dr Lee has taught undergraduates and postgraduates, as well as adult and independent learners. Student feedback regularly lists his lectures as the most engaging and entertaining in the course. One English student said he had a ‘very engaging style, showing genuine enthusiasm and love for the subject.’

Dr Lee created the first web-based tutorial to teach English literature in 1994, and between 1996 and 1998 managed the award-winning online project which digitized the poetry manuscripts of Wilfred Owen. The project was expanded in 2007 and 2008 to include other major poets.

To assist his students, Dr Lee created an online Old English Coursepack, and has been pioneering in the use of podcasts at Oxford. His medieval lectures have been in the top ten higher education downloads in iTunes for the past three years, and he led Oxford’s engagement in iTunesU.

He has published widely on e-learning, with particular reference to teaching English, and has run several major projects. He is keen to support other teachers who may wish to use the new technologies in their own teaching or research. As recognition of this, he was presented with a Teaching Award by Oxford in 2008 for his outstanding contributions to teaching and learning, and in the same year was made Oxford’s first Reader in E-learning and Digital Libraries.

As well as teaching, Dr Lee has written textbooks on medieval literature, the works of JRR Tolkien, digital imaging, and electronic library development. However, he says that his first love is teaching, and conveying his enthusiasm for the subject of English literature to his students.

‘I am really honoured to receive this award in recognition of my use of e-learning to teach medieval literature,’ he said. ‘I'd like to thank all my colleagues for their generous help over the years, and I hope this award helps to show how supportive and forward thinking Oxford is in terms of teaching and learning.’

Click here to listen to Dr. Lee's Medieval English Lectures.