Honorary Life Membership of the Association for Learning Technology awarded to Seb Schmoller for his outstanding and sustained contribution to the development of learning technology
Creation of the highly-regarded peer-based professional Certified Membership (CMALT) accreditation scheme would be sufficient to warrant awarding Honorary Life Membership of ALT to most people.
But Seb Schmoller’s work with the steering group to create the award is just one of a wide range of achievements acknowledged in the honour. The accreditation scheme denotes excellence and professionalism among learning technology practitioners, teachers, researchers and others throughout the educational and commercial worlds.
From the outset in his educational career, the former ALT Chief Executive made outstanding and sustained contributions to the advancement of all those he works and, latterly, to ALT’s widest aims. As Learning Technology Development Manager at The Sheffield College in the late 90s, he recognised the power of ICLT to expand access to education and lead in its early deployment within the college. He went on to develop successful online initiatives including GCSE English Online and much content for the then burgeoning Ufi learndirect.
During this period, as Chair of South Yorkshire Further Education Colleges' Strategy Group he generated funding for the ICLT infrastructure across a consortium of eight colleges and created the team that developed the Learning to Teach OnLine (LeTTOL) distance education programme. This helped teachers, lecturers, content developers and others to extend their existing skills to an online environment and has been influential both in the UK and internationally.
In 2003, he became Chief Executive of ALT and, for nine years, provided the leadership and advice the trustees needed to grow ALT from a higher education-focused body to a multi-sector organisation at the forefront of thinking in learning technology nationally and internationally.
With an acute eye for media developments, he took the ALT research journal from traditional publication to open access, had considerable influence as a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Further and Higher Education and became a regular columnist for FE News.
Seb is well known and respected across the sector including JISC, Department for Education, BIS and the Scottish Education Department. He has played a major role in policy development, promoting ALT’s objectives on influential committees of JISC, the Institute of IT Standards Review Panel, Advisory Panel of the Institute for Learning, and ESRC Peer Review College among others.
The influence of ALT has been enhanced by his work bidding for and managing large projects on behalf of the organisation, for example, EMERGE which created a sustainable community of practice for JISC, and What Research Has To Say For Practice.
Maren Deepwell, Chief Executive of the ALT, said: "One of Seb's major strengths is his passion for new technologies and new practices. His interest in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Open Access publishing exemplifies his willingness to engage with new models and adjust his own approach accordingly. His career-long commitment to encouraging participation from across all sectors has had a real impact on establishing learning technology as a discipline in its own right. "
Dame Wendy Hall,Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton, said: “I am pleased to see this excellent honour go to Seb Schmoller. It is a worthy award and reflects the dedication he has shown throughout his working life in pursuit of excellence on behalf of those he has worked with, served and taught.”
Terry Mayes, Emeritus Professor at Glasgow Caledonian University and an Honorary Life Member of ALT, said: “The idea of leadership is often too loosely applied to individuals as a personal quality. Whatever it is, though, Seb Schmoller has it in spades. Seb has led ALT over many years with a decisive and forthright vision, always tempered by his integrity and respect for others. He is held in enormously high esteem and no little affection in our field and there will be unanimous acclaim for this honour.”
Jane Williams, formerExecutive Director ofBECTA, said: “Having worked closely with Seb in his work to enhance learning experience across the Further Education sector I have seen at first hand the impact of his scholarly approach and practical insight in colleges and national policy circles. He is highly respected at the front line and in government departments - an unusual combination. This award is richly deserved.”
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Notes to Editors
1) ALT (the Association for Learning Technology) is a professional and scholarly association which brings together those with an interest in the use of learning technology. As the UK’s leading membership organisation in the learning technology field, we work to improve practice, promote research, and influence policy.
2) Over 1000 individuals belong to ALT, as do over 220 universities, colleges, other learning providers, Government Agencies, and businesses.
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