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UK Top Three Accolade For Academic

12 October 2010

A University of Ulster academic has been named as one of the top three teachers of biosciences in the UK.

Dr Stephen McClean from Ulster’s, School of Biomedical Sciences was recently selected as finalist for ‘Ed Wood Teaching Award’ from the Higher Education Academy’s UK Centre for Bioscience.

Thanks to his pioneering introduction of an innovative teaching method, Dr McClean was in the top three for the award, now called the Bioscience Teacher of the Year Award.

The award recognises top-class work of lecturers in the large and diverse bioscience field from universities across the UK.

The UK Centre for Bioscience visited the short listed candidates to observe interactive teaching sessions, gather feedback from Dr McClean’s students and capture the key aspects of his good practice to build a case study.

A University of Ulster graduate, Dr McClean has developed innovative approaches to enhance the student experience over many years and his latest inventive technique propelled him to the shortlist for the award.

His new teaching method involved students making videos about their practical chemistry laboratory classes which are subsequently disseminated through a custom-made internal website.

This intranet website accessible to all students in the year group, is created and managed by Dr McClean, and is called, which follows a similar format to YouTube, but in this case, students from Biomedical Sciences Ulster upload, view, rate, and comment on each other’s videos, helping develop cognitive, reflective, communication, and other key transferable skills.

Commenting on his nomination to the shortlist, Dr McClean said: “I was delighted and honoured to reach the final shortlist for this very prestigious national award that recognizes the best teaching in bioscience throughout the UK. Of the innovations I have been working on over the years, I have been particularly encouraged by how much the students gain through engaging in the project, which represents a novel use of the internet to further enhance student skills and the excellent learning experience at Ulster.”