Second prize in Royal Historical Society awards
Jess Van Horssen, Senior lecturer in History at LBU, claimed second prize in this year’s Royal Historical Society annual awards for ‘Innovation in Teaching’.
She was recognised for inspiring students through approaches ranging from the use of music to explore controversial and societal issues, to pedagogies which develop digital literacy through the study of history.
Since joining The School of Cultural Studies and Humanities at LBU in 2017, Jess has been a pioneer for digital delivery in her teaching of American History.
Jess has also developed two new modules for history students – a Digital History module and a Civil Rights module.
She said: “These modules provide an opportunity for students not just to learn but to create, and to gain the essential digital skills needed to succeed in their careers after graduation.
“It’s an honour to be recognised in these awards, and it’s incredible to teach in such a progressive school within Leeds Beckett University, which supports the reframing of how teaching is delivered to students.”
Commenting on the Digital History module, current history student Sophia Lambert said: “For me, the module struck the perfect balance between academia and creativity by allowing me during lab sessions, to experiment with the different forms of technology that are used within the field of historical research, such as photogrammetry.
“The other students and I who took the Digital History module feel that it enhanced our digital literacy, but we also strongly believe that it broadened our perspectives about the employment opportunities available for History graduates.”
Dean of The School of Cultural Studies and Humanities, Andrew Cooper, said: “I am delighted the ground-breaking work Jess does with students has been recognized by the Royal Historical Society.
“It exemplifies how students of the Humanities at Leeds Beckett University graduate with a potent blend of academic knowledge and digital skills that will enable them to make a valuable contribution to society.”
Pushing the boundaries of digital delivery, Jess has previously been successful in an application for some university funding for Google Cardboards to facilitate virtual and augmented realities.
Using the Cardboards, students experienced their own Google Expeditions, from visiting Mayan Temples to travelling virtually to Memphis to see the hotel where Martin Luther King was shot.
In the Digital History module, students are taught a range of new skills such as data mining and how to produce video games and 3D models for reconstructing historical sites.
And the Civil Rights module explores the rights of women, LGBTQ+, indigenous and African American people in North America.
The reading list for this final year module is a playlist on Spotify, where students investigate the political messaging positioned within the songs.
Further details can be found here: http://blog.royalhistsoc.org/2020/07/22/2020-rhs-award-winners/