2016 TLTR Pilot Projects

The Teaching, Learning, and Technology Roundtable (TLTR) congratulates the winners of Technology for Innovative Learning & Teaching Pilot Project Grants for 2016. These grants fund faculty who wish to pursue innovative and technologically-sophisticated teaching. All proposals are evaluated by the TLTR Grants Selection sub-committee, comprised of at least 3 faculty members, 1 instructional technology staff member, and the TLTR co-chairs. The winning projects for 2016 are:

Purchase Ecological Field Research Technologies for Use in MSEM Field Course in Costa Rica and Applied Research in Austin

Peter Beck, Associate Professor of Environmental Science, and Michael Wasserman, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science, School of Behavioral and Social Sciences

This grant will fund the purchase of technology and equipment (including iPads, mobile field guides, ecological monitoring equipment, and a mobile projector) for use during the MSEM summer field course in Costa Rica and Applied Research in Austin. Preparing students to conduct field research requires the use of specific equipment and technologies which will be essential to run the course as well as give students valuable experience using technologies that will be useful to them in their later careers. In addition to the MSEM courses, these technologies will also be useful for undergraduate courses in ENSP and research at Wild Basin. Impacts on teaching field courses using these technologies will be assessed and presented to the SEU community through a Center for Teaching Excellence and/or Teaching Showcase presentation.

ALEKS Mathematics Placement for Incoming SEU Students

Carol Gee, Associate Professor of Mathematics, School of Natural Sciences

The School of Natural Sciences proposes to adopt an online, adaptive, mathematics placement service for incoming students. The ALEKS service is widely used and has established effectiveness at accurately placing students into courses ranging from developmental math through first-semester calculus. ALEKS also provides each student with an individualized study plan to relearn forgotten knowledge and six-month access to targeted learning modules. Students can then retake the assessment in order to place into a higher-level course, saving students time and tuition money. Furthermore, the combination of accurate placement and individualized learning modules has been demonstrated to improve both mathematics and overall retention rates. This grant will help fund licensing of the ALEKS platform.

Race for the CURE – A collaborative approach to a course-based research experience for undergraduates in hormones and behavior

Dr. Katherine Goldey, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, School of Behavioral and Social Sciences Dr. Raelynn Deaton Haynes, Assistant Professor of Biology, School of Natural Sciences

The purpose of this project is to provide a transformative and interdisciplinary course for St. Edward’s undergraduates. Through the collaboration of Drs. Katherine Goldey (Behavioral Neuroscience) and Raelynn Deaton Haynes (Biology), the aim is to develop a curriculum-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) in an integrative course titled “Hormones and Behavior”. The grant will fund purchasing equipment and supplies necessary to run hormone assays for the CURE lab component of this course. The lab will complement the lecture by providing hands-on research experience in the classroom. Many students need to do research but do not have the opportunity to do so outside of their courses. This collaboration provides a mechanism for all students taking this course to gain experiences in research and exposure to the entire scientific process, from developing a research question to scientific communication via presentations and publications. This opportunity is different and exciting for our students because of its multidisciplinary and collaborative nature in bringing students and professors from two schools with diverse backgrounds into the same classroom to share this collaboration. Students will work closely with one another and be mentored by professors from different, but complimentary fields. This opportunity will benefit many students and have far-reaching effects on their abilities to think critically, and on their overall knowledge and understanding of the scientific method.

Recording Videos for Flipping Intermediate Accounting I

Katherine Lopez, Assistant Professor of Accounting, The Munday School of Business

The project is to record the videos needed to flip Intermediate Accounting I. The grant will fund specialized software (Camtasia) and equipment for creating these videos of the instructor working through accounting problems. It will require recording a multitude of lectures that will include discussions of concepts and working through detailed problems. Traditionally, Intermediate Accounting courses are taught in a lecture style and have a low grade average. In order to cover the vast amount of material in the course, a lecture-based format is fast-paced and leaves no time for in-class activities. This combination does not allow time for students to reflect on the course material. Typically, students cram for the exams and do not retain the material past the current semester. The course is also harder for foreign students who often need more time to translate the lectures. Taking the current Intermediate Accounting I class taught in the lecture-based format and flipping it will allow students to cover the lecture material at their own pace, replaying lectures on subject areas they find more difficult. It will also allow for the incorporation of in-class assignments and group work that will aid the students in making more-in-depth connections for the material, resulting in increased student critical thinking and leading to more longer-term retention of the subject matter. This technique can be applied more broadly to the other heavily fact-based, problem oriented classes allowing for added application of the concepts during class time. With the rise of online courses, the valued added during the in-class meetings will be a means of distinguishing the course.

COMM 2399: Special Topics in Communication: Listening and Wicked Problems in Austin, Texas: Learn, Listen & Positively Communicate

Teri L. Varner, Associate Professor of Communication, School of Humanities

This TLTR proposal coincides with development of a course, “COMM 2399: Special Topics in Communication: Listening and Wicked Problems in Austin, Texas: Learn, Listen & Positively Communicate,” for the Fall 2016 “Wicked Problems” Living Learning Community (LLC). This course exposes undergraduates to new research tools, such as NVivo for qualitative research, and teaches them metacognitive listening strategies to gain insight into the complexities of wicked problems in Austin, Texas. This proposal requests licenses and online training for NVIVO for faculty and students. Listening is an important part of the communication process, yet there is a tremendous lack of skill and training in this area. This course provides a comprehensive approach to listening strategies and depending upon the context teaches students different ways to listen in the 21st century. Students will learn to improve their listening skills through exposure to a wide range of listening materials, such as instructional videos, taped conversations, practice application activities and through continuous self-monitoring. Students should expect to demonstrate a higher level of listening competency inside the classroom, in personal and social situations and larger communities. Students will identify wicked problems in Austin, Texas so that they can learn what the major problems are by actively listening as they interview people and communicate possible solutions. Students need to “learn to listen” so that they can better “listen to learn.” (Vandergrift, 2004).