[Press and Publications] Talent for Teaching Nets National Recognition

February 2001

No 16

A University of Leicester scientist has become the first winner of a national prize in recognition of his teaching talents.

Dr Alan Cann is the first recipient of the Peter Wildy Prize for Microbiology Education, awarded in recognition of his distinguished contribution to microbiology teaching.

In particular it is his talent with IT that impressed others, students in particular. Alan can demonstrate how to deliver a lecture live from the surface of Mars and to how to develop a paperless course!

The website he has helped to create at the University of Leicester is one of the most popular in the world in its particular field. It is linked to as a source of expert information by a number of prestigious websites including Access Excellence (Genentech); the American Society for Microbiology and BBC News.

Dr Cann will deliver a prize lecture at a meeting of the Society for General Microbiology. The lecture Microbiology and the Web: a Nerd's Eye View is based on eight years’ experience of using the World Wide Web for teaching at the University of Leicester.

Dr Cann said: “The talk will consider the past and future of microbiology and the internet. Along the way, I will describe how to present a lecture live from the surface of Mars (and why you shouldn't), how to deliver a paperless course (nearly), and the revenge of the nerds.

Starting with the birth of the WWW in 1989 and moving into the age of linked online bioinformatics and bibliographic databases, genomics and post-genomics, I will consider the balance between teaching and research in microbiology.

Looking to the future, I will try to guess where microbiology may be headed in an era of learning machines, peripatetic electronic teachers, life-long learning and global mega-universities.”

The Prize is named after Peter Wildy, former Professor of Virology at Cambridge University and a leading member of the Society for General Microbiology. The Society awards a range of prizes in recognition of significant contributions to microbiology.

Dr Cann said: “I am honoured and delighted to have been chosen as the first recipient of this prize. I had the privilege of knowing Peter Wildy briefly at the beginning of my career, mostly through activities such as SGM meetings. It is most encouraging to know that his influence is still continuing to support microbiology through this new initiative from the Society. The prize money will be used to continue the development of our well-known Departmental website at the University of Leicester and for further research into innovative teaching methods."

  • The presentation and prize lecture will be made at the 148th Ordinary Meeting of the Society for General Microbiology at Heriot-Watt University on Wednesday 28 March – 5.45 pm.

    NOTE TO NEWSDESK: For more information, please contact Dr Alan Cann on 0116 252 2954 or email alan.cann@leicester.ac.uk

    The Department of Microbiology and Immunology website address at the University of Leicester is: http://www-micro.msb.le.ac.uk/

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