Pedagogical Award for software that helps with students' learning
Professor of Physics Stellan Östlund and Hampus Linander, a systems developer at the Department of Physics, have been named the recipients of the Faculty of Science’s Pedagogical Award 2019. They are receiving the award for developing software that supports students’ understanding and provides rapid feedback in their learning process.
How does it feel to be given the Faculty’s Pedagogical Award 2019?
“It feels wonderful to receive recognition for all the work that has gone into the project,” says Stellan Östlund.
Hampus Linander agrees:
“Yes, we’re very proud to have our work on creating tools to improve teaching recognised in this way.”
What made you decide to develop a piece of pedagogical software?
“I felt there was a lack of effective computer-based tools to deal with questions that arise in university mathematics and physics. I thought that, with my background as a theoretical physicist and lecturer with an interest in computers, I could come up with something useful,” says Stellan.
What has it been like working together?
“We’re both keen to improve the teaching that goes on in physics and mathematics, so our collaboration has worked very well. It has been a pleasure to build on Stellan’s ideas and the potential that he saw,” says Hampus.
Stellan agrees that the collaboration has been a success.
“For my part, I’ve enjoyed learning more about programming and modern web development – this kind of programming is very different to the programming techniques used in research.”
“It has also been a significant benefit that course directors and students have been willing to let us test and develop the software on their courses,” adds Hampus.
What are you working on at the moment and do you have any future plans regarding pedagogical development?
“There are several things about the software that we want to improve, such as making it more user-friendly. We also hope that lecturers can incorporate the software more widely into standard courses.”
In awarding Stellan Östlund and Hampus Linander the Faculty of Science’s Pedagogical Award 2019, the jury commented:
”Taking a pedagogical perspective, Stellan Östlund and Hampus Linander have developed software that supports students’ understanding and provides rapid feedback that drives the learning process forward. The software prompts the students to become learning resources for each other, as discussions and troubleshooting are part of what the program offers. It also encourages the students to adopt a more active way of working. Furthermore, it supports lecturers so that they can give rapid feedback on assignments and more clearly measure the progress of students as the course continues. The software has been developed in open-source code to allow both university lecturers and upper secondary school teachers to use, modify and disseminate the program. It has been used very successfully on a number of courses, including the Physics Programme, the Medical Physics Programme and in Teacher Education Programmes at the University of Gothenburg, and Engineering Physics at Chalmers University of Technology. The course directors, calculation exercise instructors and students who have worked with the software feel that it has made a very positive contribution to learning and understanding the course material.”