Department of Computer Science

Congratulations to Yan Zhao - Winner of the AAU Pedagogy Prize 2023

Congratulations to Yan Zhao - Winner of the AAU Pedagogy Prize 2023

Yan Zhao, Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Science, has been awarded the AAU Pedagogy Prize 2023, which was presented to her by Prorector Anne Marie Kanstrup on the occasion of the AAU Learning Day on Friday, May 12.

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In the course of her participation in the University Pedagogy Program for assistant professors, Yan Zhao explored new approaches to teaching and supervision of (senior) bachelor students. Key to her approach is  to use research-focused PBL (Problem-Based Learning) to support the students’ learning engagement.

- I will typically suggest a topic from my own research area, when the students are to design their bachelor projects. I encourage them to propose a problem to solve within this research area, and then I encourage them to apply methods that I may only have a general knowledge about. So, in a sense they become experts within fields that I do not know that well, which is both a way to motivate students, and a way for me to learn more. This is what I call co-creation for mutual learning, which is a good way to encourage and engage students in their project work, Yan Zhao explains.

Yan Zhao practiced the research-focused PBL approach in her teaching and supervision throughout 2022. To document the effect specifically on the supervision part, she conducted a student evaluation at the end of the year.

- The evaluation showed that the students’ engagement had improved. It was also proof to me that it is a very good way of integrating the research of the supervisor in the supervision, or to put it in other words, a good way to put theory into practice, she says.    

In addition to the actual practice of research-focused PBL in her teaching and supervision and the student evaluation that she conducted, Yan Zhao developed her report ‘Using Research-focused PBL to Support Computer Engineering Students’ Learning Engagement in A Systemic PBL Environment’ into a paper that will be presented at the 9th International Research Symposium on Problem-Based Learning: Transforming Engineering Education 2023 at MIT in June 2023.

With the AAU Pedagogy Prize follows DKK 15,000. Half of the amount must be dedicated to professional development, while the other half is personal remuneration.

Once again, huge congrats to Yan Zhao!



  • Yan Zhao, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Aalborg University,
  • Stig Andersen, Communications Officer, Department of Computer Science, Aalborg University, / +45 4019 7682

Department of Computer Science, Aalborg University

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