BISO, represented by their National President Marius Clem and their Director of Academics & Politics, Siri Andrine Bakken, praised the Bergen-based lecturer for his efforts after a year of digital teaching.
“According to his students, Mads is truly committed to really see everyone and find new creative ways to organize his digital lectures. Students commend his ability to make classes engaging, fun and, most of all, rewarding”, says Clem.
Arnestad, who is no stranger to winning awards for his teaching, says he is both thankful and surprised to receive this year’s award.
“Having to teach digitally has been a challenge for all of us. I am therefore truly honored to receive this award and really welcome this positive affirmation for my efforts”, says Arnestad.
The associate professor is known for going the extra mile to make his lectures more engaging and fun for his students, often through using different pedagogical tools. However, after one year of Zoom lectures, Arnestad wants to disclose something.
“I must confess that I do not think I have succeeded in creating a lasting engagement with my digital lectures. So far, I have not had a single round of breakout rooms (in Zoom) work as I intended them to”, says Arnestad.
He says he shared this award with every colleague who have done their best yet been unsuccessful in their attempts to engage students on digital platforms.
“I can only interpret this award as the students telling me they appreciate me for trying”, says Arnestad.
Help from a tech-enthused 70-year-old colleague
When asked to describe his own teaching philosophy, Arnestad says he is reluctant to answer, as he worries that doing so “would implicitly endorse the idea that these awards are fair” and that other lecturers would have an equal chance of winning if they simply copied him.
“I am an extroverted Norwegian male, and the courses I teach are fairly ‘sexy’”, says Arnestad.
He believes teaching is more difficult for lecturers who are female, from an ethnic minority or uncomfortable with being the center of attention. Teaching math is also way harder than teaching motivation, he adds.
“That being said, the use of digital presentation tools with engagement built in, like Menti, have been a real eye-opener for me. Now that I have begun using it, PowerPoint feels completely outdated. I am deeply grateful that my tech-enthused 70-year-old colleague Erik Wilberg showed me Menti, and gave me the necessary push to try to use it”.