iKnow: Innovation at Work in the Classroom.

Finding New Ways to Integrate Technology in the Classroom by Facilitating Faculty Innovation

iKnow 2.0 is more than just MacBooks, iPads and software applications. It’s faculty and students using technology to collaborate, engage, and enhance the learning process, both in and outside the classroom. Faculty supported by instructional technologists from the Center for Instructional Innovation and iLearn help to facilitate innovation in teaching and learning.

The following are just a few of the faculty that are using technology to innovate in their classroom:

Mrs. Dwina Willis, Associate Professor of Biology and Bible

Innovation and Technology (IT) has been working to continue adding features and functions to Blackboard Learn to help faculty more easily communicate and collaborate with their students.

One feature that has been added is called CampusPack Fusion. CampusPack is an add-on to Blackboard that provides support to wikis, blogs, journals and podcasts - a powerful set of collaborative tools. CampusPack also enables faculty and students the ability to create and publish content within learning spaces, independent of Blackboard courses. This functionality provided Dwina Willis and the health sciences faculty with the tools they needed to implement Health Professional Account (myHPA) portfolios for students.

Dr. David Powell, Assistant Dean of the School of Biblical Studies

Training young preachers to go forth and preach the Gospel is a passion for Dr. David Powell. David teaches both graduate and undergraduate students in the School of Biblical Studies and faces the same challenges that other faculty face on a daily basis. The challenge of teaching a hybrid graduate course on Expository Preaching proved to be daunting. However, David approached the technical challenge with the same passion he exhibits for teaching. David considered how technology could help him meet the challenges of a hybrid class and integrated WebEx - a group collaboration tool - into his pedagogy.

Mrs. Jennifer Creecy, Instructor in the School of Education

In the fall of 2010, the School of Education welcomed Jennifer Creecy as a new instructor, and the University was introduced to her passion for education and technology. Preparing students to become teachers is a “life-calling” for Jennifer. She’s constantly looking for ways to improve her skills and those of her students. Jennifer believes that innovation and technology go “hand-in-hand” in the classroom. Discovering ways to use technology to improve learning gives her a sense of accomplishment.

Freed-Hardeman’s technology initiatives sparked Jennifer’s interests, and she soon became involved in various pilots. The first pilot that Jennifer participated in focused on lecture capture and its impact in the classroom. Jennifer helped pilot the use of Respondus LockDown Browser in her Tests and Measurements course during the Summer 2011 semester. Her hard work and insight helped to make these pilots a success.

Dr. Keith Smith, Dean of the School of Business

Dr. Keith Smith, Accounting Professor and Dean of the School of Business, was faced with two challenges as he prepared to teach his tax accounting course. First, to develop an online course in Blackboard Learn drawing upon course content taught in a traditional setting and to enhance that content with Web x.0 technologies. His second challenge was the fact that he claimed to be “technologically challenged!” Keith addressed these two roadblocks with the following steps: 1) Keith actively pursued group and individualized training in the use of Blackboard Learn, 2) He reviewed course content used in the traditional setting and converted it for use in an online environment, and 3) Keith explored new technologies to supplement or enhance the course content.

The use of Twitter by the IRS was one area researched since Keith was teaching a tax accounting course. To Keith’s amazement, the IRS was actively using Twitter as a gigantic news feed to deliver near real-time changes regarding tax law and rules to the public. The IRS Twitter feed was embedded in the online course to engage students. Keith also implemented Discussion Boards to facilitate conversation amongst the students regarding the content presented by the IRS. The integration of Twitter into the course proved to be a pedagogical success. Keith also explored the use of tax forms that allowed the user to type in information and save the data in the form itself. He developed several class projects that required the completion of IRS tax forms that utilized the above technology. These “paperless” forms were made available to the students via Blackboard.

Keith still considers himself to be a "rookie" in the use of technology. Regardless, he is confident that technology has its place in the classroom and considers his experience a success. His advice for faculty members who are considering integrating technology into their pedagogy is to "plan, train and to keep an open mind."