Good, Griffin cited for teaching technology efforts

Deborah Good, Veterinary and Animal Sciences, and Robert Griffin, Hospitality and Travel Management, were among five University system faculty recognized Sept. 23 for their cutting-edge work using technology to assess student learning.

The Leadership Award for Assessment of Student Leaning with Technology was presented to the five faculty during the Teaching and Learning with Electronic Portfolios Symposium in Shrewsbury. The symposium was sponsored by the President''s Office of Academic Affairs, UMassOnline and the Information Technology Council''s Subcommittee on Academic Technology.

Awards were given to faculty who demonstrated effective strategies for using technology in the several areas: innovative tools for the assessment of student learning; formative evaluations that facilitate student learning, such as e-portfolios, self-assessments, and practice tests; fostering and measuring improvement in student learning; providing students and faculty with prompt and meaningful feedback; engagement of students in their own learning by encouraging student self-assessment.

Good developed Flash animations using WebCT to enhance the laboratory exercises for the molecular genetics module of Biotechnology 385, an upper level undergraduate laboratory course with four different modules taught by different professors.

She then created an online assessment and evaluation tool to determine how students used the web site and whether student learning was improved through use of Web-enhanced teaching in this course. Use of WebCT with interactive Flash animations appeared to have a positive effect on learning outcomes by the students in the Biotech 385 course. This was measured by students’ own evaluations of the WebCT site and Flash animations, as well as the improved performance of the students in the laboratory and the time it took to complete the daily laboratory experiments The results of this analysis were published in December 2004 in the International Journal for Instructional Media.

Griffin developed technology for courses in the Hospitality and Tourism Management, Department, allowing him to teach complex material for large classes that previously had to be taught with smaller groups.

Initially an Excel spreadsheet technology was used to develop an environment that allowed students to practice scheduling assignments and submit a finished schedule assignment for evaluation and credit. The file was then graded using an automated process. A built-in report provided feedback to students during practice sessions and the same report provided feedback to both the professor and students after testing sessions. Further uses of the tool were developed for other management skills and revenue management. Some features of the tool are used to motivate, including bonus points for good forecasting and use of positive comments that appear during different stages of file completion.

"Today''s awardees have demonstrated their keen understanding of two principles,” said Marcellette Williams, senior vice president for Academic and Student Affairs and International Relations. “First, that a successful union of technology and pedagogy enhances quality teaching by enabling students to become more readily independent learners and more effective critics of their own learning; and second, that such a union also enables excellent teaching by demonstrating the inherent reciprocity of quality teaching and dynamic learning."

Awards also went to Brian White, Boston; Judith Davidson, Lowell and Jeannette Riley, Dartmouth. Leda Cooks, Communication, received honorable mention.