The Aarhus University Anniversary Foundation Prize of Honour for Pedagogics is awarded in recognition of outstanding and groundbreaking teaching at Aarhus University and is accompanied by a DKK 100,000 monetary award.
A master of virtual learning
Since August 2011, Associate Professor Kristina Risom Jespersen has been part of the management team at the Department of Economics and Business Economics at Aarhus BSS as head of education.
In October 2012, Kristina Risom Jespersen developed a virtual learning strategy for the Department of Economics and Business Economics, and in 2013 and 2014, she launched a number of pilot projects on the use of IT for teaching purposes. The use of virtual learning platforms on the first-semester foundation courses in the introductory method courses has been particularly instrumental in improving students' learning outcome and increasing the number of students who pass their exams. The courses are now a permanent part of the curriculum and are constantly being developed.
The increasing use of IT-based teaching methods created a need to learn more about the efficacy of the various tools for enhancing student motivation, which was what prompted Kristina Risom Jespersen to develop a series of evaluation tools for this purpose. Her aim was to assess the suitability of the tools being used in relation to the subject matter being taught, in order to support the further development and use of virtual learning tools at the department. The evaluation tool has subsequently been used in various other contexts at Aarhus BSS and at the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CUL).
Kristina Risom Jespersen emphasises the importance of varied teaching methods:
"A lecture can be given in the traditional way, but if it is combined with other media which are flexible and which support learning both during and in between lectures, the results are even better. The virtual learning space is extremely important as it provides scope for individualised learning, while at the same time helping to identify topics which students find difficult and which thus require extra focus on the part of the lecturers. The virtual learning space also means that lectures can be held at a more advanced level," she says.
Over the years, Kristina Risom Jespersen has been responsible for several teaching seminars, and concurrently with these pedagogical initiatives, she has as also focused on developing her own teaching skills. In 2009, she was named e-learning lecturer of the year at Aarhus University.
Kristina Risom Jespersen holds an MSc in Economics and Business Administration (Quality Management) from the former Aarhus School of Business (now Aarhus BSS). Moreover, she holds a PhD and has previous experience as a researcher and assistant professor at the Department of Marketing, Informatics and Statistics, also at the former Aarhus School of Business.