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Dr Mark Childs

Dr Mark Childs, our Digital Learning Designer in the Durham Centre for Academic Development (DCAD) has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship.

The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme celebrates and recognises individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession in higher education.

These awards are the highest honour that Advance HE bestows to those working in Learning and Teaching at Universities, recognising significant input at departmental, institutional and national level.

Dr Childs talks about the background to the Fellowship and its benefits:

The work

I've been working in online learning since 1997, both researching how people learn and working alongside teachers in a wide range of disciplines to enable their online teaching to be as effective as possible. My specialism has been exploring how to connect students together online. In the 1990s this was seeing how text chat can support peer learning and I'm now leading Durham’s VR Education Lab Special Interest Group.


Until now students in my institutions have benefited directly from me being around to add my expertise to how their courses are put together. More widely, the books and papers I’ve written enable more people to draw on this expertise. The Fellowship means not only that more people will be led to read my research, but also more people at Durham will hear that both my colleagues and I are here to support their teaching.

What’s next?

I’d like to do more to promote the need for a specific pedagogy of online and blended learning. I’ve found that at all of the institutions I’ve worked at, the move to online is seen by many as just the translation of their current practice to being on the internet. Online practice actually needs a rethink from first principles to be effective, which is difficult to embed. I’m going to use this Fellowship as a platform for encouraging this rethink.

Professor Alan Houston, Vice-Provost (Education) was delighted to hear about the award, “Mark's playful approach to learning and teaching, coupled with his enthusiasm and innovation, and underpinned by his academic rigour, is a huge asset within his home department (DCAD), the wider university, and the sector as a whole.”


Find out more

Durham Centre for Academic Development (DCAD)

National Teaching Fellowship Scheme