National Teaching Fellow 2008
A lecturer for more than 30 years, Trevor Barker has been a principal lecturer and University Fellow in Teaching and Learning in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire for the last ten years. As a professional practitioner, he prides himself in his ability to employ a range of strategies in order to motivate and help learners to engage deeply in their own personal learning agendas. His research for the last 15 years has been related to the use of techniques to provide learners with individualised learning environments, which he believes has become increasingly important in recent times in the light of an increasingly diverse student body.
Based on his research, Trevor has led the development of computer adaptive assessment software, automated feedback systems and intelligent multimedia learning and teaching systems that have proven beneficial to his students on computer science degree courses at the university. These systems provide an individual environment for learners based on their own skills and need for support in their subject areas and also on their cognitive abilities.
Trevor believes the increased use of educational technology is a challenge, providing on the one hand an opportunity to place learners at the centre of their own learning and on the other, the potential threat of “mass produced” teaching delivered with little consideration for the diversity of learners’ needs.
However, at a time when attendance at lectures is falling Trevor’s are always full, evidence of his skills in blending traditional standards of high quality teaching with new methods to enhance learning wherever possible. As One BSc student remarked: “He can keep a captive audience by involving them and by giving visual demonstrations.”
In Trevor’s experience, students respond to and demand quality human interaction in their learning, whether in lectures, tutorials or by responding quickly to emails. A Blended Learning Associate attached to the university’s Blended Learning Unit and head of the Systems and Software Research Group, Trevor’s achievements can be summed up with the comment from one BSc student, who said: “…altogether he is the best tutor I've ever had."
Principal Lecturer/ Blended Learning Teacher
University of Hertfordshire