Paul Denny

Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching

 Senior Tutor, Department of Computer Science, The University of Auckland

"I believe that involving students in community oriented activities, in which they are responsible for creating and sharing learning resources, is an effective way to promote deep learning."

Students say that Paul brings to his classroom “unparalleled enthusiasm, confidence, and charisma”. Paul has been teaching computer programming since 1999, and his teaching is characterised by its creativity and innovation plus genuine empathy for students. One of his students comments, “I’m sure that one day during a lecture we’ll see a sequin-clad assistant and several white rabbits leap from his computer, such is his magic”.

Paul describes his teaching as being motivated by “identifying barriers to student learning, and designing approaches and innovations to break these down”. His range of strategies and tools to help students engage in new ways of learning is truly remarkable and includes: voluntary programming competitions, on-line peer assessment forums (for which Paul has gained international recognition), an interactive on-line instruction tool, and the use of wiki reports as a form of assessment. He uses this diverse range of approaches to encourage student autonomy in very large classes and at the same time creating opportunities for him to give individual attention where needed.