A pioneering Edge Hill teaching and learning scheme has been officially launched at an exclusive event attended by governors, academics and students.

Earlier this year, the institution was awarded the status of Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) by the Higher Education Funding Council for England to develop its supported online and blended learning initiative SOLSTICE.

As a Centre for Excellence, Edge Hill has developed a specialist hi-tech facility, including a new flexible ‘classroom of the future?, where teaching and support staff can work together in developing online materials and courses. Funding will be also be used to extend existing expertise in curriculum design and research, as well as progressing developments with new technologies to support learning, and rewarding and developing excellence in teaching and learning support.

SOLSTICE director Sue Roberts said: “Our five-strong team of committed staff are now in place and we are really looking forward to appointing fellows who specialise in developing and using technology for teaching and learning over the coming months.

“For the project to be successful it is imperative that we focus on the students rather than the technology, as our developments have to enhance their studies. While this flexible and blended approach to learning is not a replacement for traditional practice, I do see it to be an important aspect of the future of education.”

Edge Hill chief executive John Cater welcomed guests who then embarked on a tour of the SOLSTICE Centre and met the team.

He added: “I am delighted for both Edge Hill and the higher education sector that projects like SOLSTICE are being introduced. It is particularly pleasing that we have been recognised in this highly innovative area of teaching and learning.”

Edge Hill?s bid was one of 259 applications from universities, higher education and specialist colleges that were assessed by a peer-based panel and it is now one of 74 institutions to host a CETL.