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Health awards EDU IT funding to new digitisation projects

Earlier this month, five new projects received funding from the faculty's EDU IT pool for 2021. The projects include video recordings of medical students’ final exams, the production of animated teaching videos and new methods for activating and motivating students during online teaching.

2021.01.28 | Simon Byrial Fischel

Five new projects received funding from the faculty's EDU IT pool for 2021. Photo: Lars Kruse, AU Photo.

The digitisation of teaching has hardly been as topical as it is right now. Although the process of digital conversion at Health has been going on for a long time – also prior to the corona shutdown in March last year.

In 2018, a pool of DKK two million was earmarked to strengthen the digitisation of teaching activities at Health over a five year period. Each year, teaching staff can apply for funding from the EDU IT pool to try out specific ideas for the use of digital media in the courses they are teaching. The goal is to increase the students’ learning outcome by finding new ways of teaching.

Five projects got through the eye of the needle

The applications are primarily assessed based on the idea’s pedagogical and didactic quality. In addition, the committee assesses the number of students and courses or ECTS that are covered by the project, while the faculty also wishes to consider as many different study programmes as possible. This year, a total of five projects made it through the eye of the needle. 

"It's fantastic to see that so many of our teaching staff want to work on developing new digital teaching methods. among the many exciting applications, we’ve particularly focused on projects that can activate the content of the physical teaching. It’s the interplay between digital tools and, for example, lectures and classroom instruction, which we need to strengthen most of all," says Vice-dean for Education Lise Wogensen Bach, who takes part in allocating the funds.

Short videos complement long lectures

Among those who have applied for and received EDI IT funding this time around is Professor Jens Leipziger from the Department of Biomedicine. In his project, he takes a new approach to the production of teaching videos for subjects that have a particularly large syllabus. Initially with focus on physiology teaching for third and fourth year medical students. The concept is simply to break the teaching up into what he calls small knowledge elements, i.e. short videos of less than five minutes duration, each of which covers a specific and delimited subject area. 

He got the idea when he started converting his teaching.

"As a Skou fellow, I’ve been exempted from teaching for a year. So I first began converting my teaching while my colleagues were already busy teaching digitally. I was spared the time constraints and that allowed me to see everything from a distance," says Jens Leipziger.

He had the impression that the students primarily lacked a comprehensive overview of the digital teaching.

 "The lecture format already has some didactic weaknesses, and we as lecturers can have a tendency to add too much information when we e.g. put together a slide show. That can have negative consequences for the learning outcome of the students, as there is a risk of information overload. And things only get worse when you move the lecture format to a digital platform where contact with the audience is weaker," he explains.

Jens Leipziger therefore borrowed a video camera and began filming himself while he taught and explained one topic at a time. 

And it really needn’t be harder than that, as long as the purpose and content are adapted to the student’s needs regarding preparations and teaching. 

Great potential at little cost

According to Lise Wogensen Bach, large sums of money are not necessarily needed to make progress on the digitisation front.

"Often, it's simply about someone spotting a need and having an idea about how to solve it. Several of the EDU IT projects are relatively inexpensive to initiate, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot of potential," she says.

This is the case for Jens Leipziger's videos, which have quickly proved to be popular among the students. Each video has on average been viewed four times per student on the course in question. 

"I've received a grant of DKK 16,000. That might not sound like much, but it's enough for me to be able to buy the necessary hardware in the form of an iPad Pro and an Apple pen and supplement it with a range of graphical elements from, for example, BioRender. So now I can continue my video production and even animate images and icons live, giving me the opportunity to illustrate the points much better," he says.

By placing some of the complicated material in the video format, Jens Leipziger hopes that there will be more time to also touch on the theoretical perspective when the physical lectures are resumed – that is to say, not only talk about what we know, but also about how we know it.

The other recipients of EDU IT funding are:

  • Postdoc Jan Asad from the Department of Biomedicine, who receives DKK 115,500.
  • Clinical Associate Professor Kristian Høy from the Department of Clinical Medicine, who receives DKK 75,000.
  • Special Consultant Dorte Lindelof from the Department of Dentistry and Oral Health, who receives DKK 31,700.
  • Assistant Professor Knud Ryom from the Department of Public Health, who receives DKK 15,000.

Do you want to get started with EDU IT?

At AU Educate, you can find guides on how to get started on your own.


Vice-dean for Education Lise Wogensen Bach
Aarhus University, Health
Mobile: (+45) 2548 8522
Email: lwb@au.dk

Education, Administration (Academic), Academic staff, Health, Health, Grants and awards, Technical / administrative staff