Face-to-face lesson:

FIRST PLACE: Tony McGill, COM 382: Small Group Communication; C.H.U.D. Survival Exercise.

A field exercise loosely based on the 1984 Horror classic "C.H.U.D" (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers) that takes the students out of the classroom and requires them to make on-the-spot decisions as a team - they are competing to "win" and must present their experience in a Powerpoint presentation and also submit a paper on the group dynamics during the exercise, applying theory to practice. This project exhibits originality in the discipline, demonstrated effect on student learning, and sustainability of practice; also it is imaginative, incorporates a unique research approach in the classroom, motivates students to higher-level communication skills and stimulates their self-regulation of learning.

SECOND PLACE: Hiba Wehbe-Alamah, NUR 369: Transcultural Health Care: Breaking Geographical Boundaries with Innovative Transcultural Education Through the Use of Transatlantic Video-Conferencing.

The activity is a Skype conference between students from UMF and nursing students from Zefat School of Nursing, Israel or Young Ming University in Taiwan. Students from both groups ask questions regarding "cultural beliefs, values, practices, political, social, kinship factors, folk remedies, health care and educational systems" among other topics. Students can apply skills and principles of cross-cultural communication and cultural assessment of others during and after this activity. This is a novel activity in the department of nursing (but used in multiple other venues) and is very powerful in its effect on learning, promoting critical thinking and effective communication skills. It is a good and deliberate use of Skype technology and also stimulates student self-regulation of learning. Hiba has begun to use this lesson in mixed mode and online courses too.

THIRD PLACE: Christine Kenney, ECE 200: Child Development and Learning; Using Text Connections as a Strategy for Active Learning in the University Classroom.

The innovation is to "explore text connections as a strategy to assist students in utilizing the time they spend learning outside of the classroom in order to best prepare them to contribute to their own and others' learning in the classroom". Students are asked to make text connections (associations, thoughts, questions, wonderings, arguments, summaries, links to other media etc.) as they read and use these connections as the basis of their contribution to classroom discussions. The effect of this strategy is felt outside of Dr. Kenney's classroom as other instructors have noticed the benefits of text connections and how the students class participation has become more focused and their understanding has deepened. This lesson has impacted the students' learning, their understanding and retention of material, and motivated students by broadening their interpersonal communication skills.

 

Online lesson:

FIRST PLACE: Jeffrey Kupperman, EDT 420: Mentor Seminar for Educational Programs; Place Out Of Time.

This lesson is a “simulation of a trial, where students play guests who come from a range of places/times throughout history to discuss great issues of humankind…is a writing intensive project…meant to draw upon their sense of play and the hook of having an audience for their ideas to engage them in putting a twist on the study of history.” The student develops a “deeper understanding of the beliefs and motivations of the people they are studying” and “interconnections of history”. This lesson exhibits originality, great impact on learning and retention not only by UMF student participants, but by high school, middle school students and their audiences as well, and has demonstrated sustainability through use of different eras, characters, topics etc. The interaction between student actors/writers online poses some risks but the energy established through this innovative exercise lifts and sustains student engagement. The students must develop their character and interact with other student-developed characters and this very imaginative and motivational.  Because the students are assigned a character and are responsible for the development and actualization of that character for the trial, the students must develop or enhance their self-regulation to accomplish the task.

 

SECOND PLACE: Brian DiBlassio, MUS 100: An Introduction to Music: Teaching the Musical Elements Online.

This lesson brings the “basic building blocks of music to life with real-life examples…and a fun sampling of video material. Brian makes connections between abstract concepts and concrete examples like tying the sound of a lawn mower to the pitch on an instrument in performing “Amazing Grace”. The videos include graphs, diagrams, and animations to accompany the audio performance. This project requires a lot of front-loading by the instructor (finding the material, performing and recording the music, syncing music to graphics, adding transitional elements etc.). It exhibits originality and sustainability. Its effect on student learning is of high caliber – it is a good use of technology, it makes the conceptualization of music elements easier by allowing students to make connections/find relevance to their everyday lives and provides students with a good study tool since the videos are always available to them online.

 

THIRD PLACE: Jennifer Blackwood, PTP 770: Assistive Technology to Enhance Accessibility, and PTP 783: Geriatrics in Practice (the lesson was used in both courses): Students serving as lead discussant to facilitate ownership of content and learning in an online course. 

In this lesson, students are assigned discussion leader roles for 2-week periods within the semester. They must create a podcast that shares any challenges or knowledge expansion that occurred from them reading the assigned text. Other students would view the podcast and then the lead student would promote discussion by posing questions, suggesting readings, etc. All student discussants were required to post a reflection for the group to review. This lesson is novel in assigning discussion leadership roles in an online environment as well as the podcast as a precursor to the online discussion. Students must take ownership of their learning and communicate their learning to their classmates. While the use of podcasts is not novel in higher education, they are novel in the design and execution of this lesson and improve the students’ presentation and interpersonal communication skills, and should also promote self-regulated learning.