Peter Westley named finalist for 2022 edX prize

Peter Westley holds a salmon briefly just above the water of a river in Alaska.
Peter Westley

Nov. 21, 2022

Peter Westley, an associate professor at UAF’s College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, is among 10 finalists for the 2022 edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions in Online Teaching and Learning. The award, now in its seventh year, recognizes educators who have demonstrated a commitment to the open and online education community and have taught courses and programs that continue to inspire and engage edX learners everywhere.

EdX offers thousands of Massive Open Online Courses that can be audited for free. Westley’s course, Salmon, People and Place, explores the relationships between salmon and people, with an emphasis on the special ties between salmon and Indigenous peoples.

With 23 courses on edX, UAF continues to increase access to Arctic research and education. UAF eCampus partners with faculty to develop courses for edX learners.

"Working with eCampus to launch Salmon, People, and Place on edX has been the highlight of my teaching career thus far. This platform is the ideal way to share the power of people's relationships with salmon to the world," Westley said.

The course design relies on videos shot on location across Alaska, peer learning and role-playing activities, virtual field trips, and applied assignments that hold local relevance for learners. It also features curated content used in partnership with University of Alaska Press, and local filmmakers across the Pacific Northwest. Salmon, People, and Place is currently being offered for the fourth time, and with exemption to the course time limit in the free audit track, in order to make it an accessible and useful resource for stakeholders and learners across Alaska and the world.

UAF, known as AlaskaX on the platform, has 40,000 enrollments from 193 countries across the globe, elevating the visibility of the university’s world-class faculty. All edX courses are four to eight weeks long and are available for free, or learners can choose to pay for a certificate that verifies course completion. 

The edX Prize is an annual award that “celebrates the contributions and innovations of educators in the edX community and amplifies the powerful role that online learning plays in the transformation of education today.” The 2022 finalists for the international prize include educators from seven countries.

For more information, contact Sean Holland or Karina Gonzales-Smith.