When I started my appointment as Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence in 2012, I wanted CTE to be an active partner in innovating teaching and learning at SIU. I’ve been here almost two years now, and I am very proud of our collaborations with faculty from each of the colleges. I know that we play an important role in advancing state-of-the-art instruction, one of the goals listed in SIU’s strategic plan.
One objective listed under this goal is to work with faculty “who want to incorporate more technological tools into classroom instruction.” Over the last year, CTE partnered with faculty who sought to improve student success in courses with high DFW rates. With Jon Schoonover in the College of Agricultural Sciences, we created interactive learning modules for his class, Tree Identification. Have you noticed QR codes on trees around campus? Click on the code with your smart device, and youcan review images and text that will help you learn to identify the particular tree. We believe learning improved in Fall 2013, because we tracked weekly usage, and we can point to fewer DFW grades in Tree Identification that semester.
We also worked with Audrey Wagner in the College of Liberal Arts. In her class, Weather and Climate, students struggled with topics such as air pressure, warm and cold fronts, equinoxes, and more. Wagner now includes animated sequences created by CTE in her lecture presentations. CTE collaborators included instructional designers who consulted on the syllabus and teaching strategies, and a creative team who illustrated and animated concepts and examples. We believe the collaboration was successful. The success rate in Weather and Climate also improved in Fall 2013.
You can still drop off your tests for scanning. And you can request digital scans of your analog course materials. You can sign up for classroom technology training sessions, or for SIUonline (Desire2Learn) workshops. We happily provide these services for faculty and graduate student instructors. I hope you also will come to CTE with your big ideas for making learning more relevant and meaningful in the 21st Century. We’re looking for more collaborators.
– Karla Berry