The following award winners will be recognized for their achievements in teaching innovation at an upcoming reception, will receive a $1,000 cash award and be invited to share their work in a dedicated session at the 2023 Celebration of Teaching and Learning.
Natalie Christian, PhD; Rachel Pigg, PhD; Mikus Abolins-Abols, PhD and Jeffery Masters, PhD
Department of Biology
College of Arts and Sciences
Teaching Innovation: Redesigning the Introductory Biology Laboratory Experience with Course-based Undergraduates Research Experiences (CUREs)
Research shows that Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) are an excellent way to expose a greater number and diversity of students to authentic, inquiry-based research. These experiences lead to higher student retention in STEM, increased pursuit of careers in STEM, and higher academic self-efficacy. However, many CUREs are designed for upper-level courses, leaving out most students and failing to intervene when students are most at-risk for dropping a course or major.
The core purpose of their innovation was to redesign the introductory biology laboratory experience at the University of Louisville as a two-semester, sequential CURE. Students now conduct authentic research in molecular biology in their first semester and then connect their work to biodiversity and landscape ecology in their second semester.
Their teaching innovation models how authentic inquiry and research can be incorporated into the curriculum, even in large introductory courses. CUREs are typically part of specialized upper-level classes and scaling them to hundreds of students may be seen as a barrier in various disciplines – particularly in introductory-level STEM courses. These winners show that students can conduct authentic research if you scaffold their experience appropriately. Additionally, the tools that help scaffold the student experience in their CURE, such as improving group work with peer evaluation, or building rubrics and training students on how to use them to write better reports, can be widely implemented across many academic disciplines to build community and increase the class expectations’ clarity.
Danielle Franco, PhD
Department of Chemistry
College of Arts and Sciences
Teaching Innovation: Using Online Simulations and Virtual Reality to Teach Chemistry
Dr. Franco used online simulations and Virtual Reality (VR) to teach Introduction to Chemistry and General Chemistry courses in spring 2021, fall 2021 and spring 2022. VR is a powerful tool to help students to visualize and assimilate concepts, such as atomic structure, hybridized orbitals, and covalent bonds, in an innovative and engaging way. She recorded course content for asynchronous classes using 3D models in VR to explain chemistry concepts. In addition to the recordings, she created her own virtual content and workshops online, where collaborative learning assessments offered students a hands-on experience and practice by teaching each other the course content. Students signed up for groups according to the topics that they wanted to cover, and they collaborated at their own pace on the project.
Online students are unable to participate personally in class discussions when courses are asynchronous. Dr. Franco’s strategy is innovative because it uses a new technology (VR) not only to deliver content, but also to create a learning environment where the students are motivated to explore the available resources and teach each other.
Importantly, Dr. Franco used applications where students are not required to have an HMD (head mounted device, aka headset.) The app is available on smartphones and mobile devices, allowing interaction with the class even without a headset. Students can move objects, virtually walk around the classroom, communicate, and upload content. Her use of VR serves as a model for how instructors across content areas can embrace virtual and augmented reality tools.
David Johnson, PhD
Department of Health Management and Systems Sciences
School of Public Health and Information Sciences
Teaching Innovation: Operationalizing the Paul-Elder Model: Assessment and Evaluation Design to Develop Critical Thinking
Dr. Johnson created the Intellectual Standards Rubric for Critical Thinking (ISRCT) from the principles of the Paul-Elder model for critical thinking. The rubric provides students with descriptions of behaviors that correlate with critical thinking and with examples of how those behaviors are demonstrated when completing an assignment. Once an assignment has been graded, students can click a link in their gradebook and review how they scored against each standard, all within a matter of seconds. When students are working on the next assignment, the record of their performance on prior assignments remains available to them through the Blackboard gradebook. This ensures that students remember which standards they demonstrated well and where they need to improve.
Because the ISRCT has been built into the digital structure of the course within Blackboard, a rubric evaluation report can be pulled to provide information about how well groups of students are performing against the standards measured by the ISRCT. The rubric evaluation report includes a frequency distribution, outlining the distribution of scores across each level of achievement. The ease of pulling the report in Blackboard means that the report can be run multiple times throughout the course allowing the instructor to track student progress. Progress can be tracked within a single course or across groups of students between sections and terms of the course.
This innovation is not discipline-specific and can be deployed within minutes in any course across the university, regardless of modality, discipline, or assignment design. Dr. Johnson has published and presented it nationally.
Daniela Terson de Paleville, PhD
Department of Health and Sport Sciences
College of Education and Human Development
Teaching Innovation: Flipped classroom, team-based active learning with immediate feedback
Dr. Terson de Paleville uses team-based active learning to teach her anatomy and physiology course using a 4-step model including (1)preparation, (2) in-class readiness, (3) assurance testing and (4) application-focused exercises. While she has too many innovative assignments to describe in this short time, one example is an assignment on glucose metabolism. Each team was provided with a box comprised of Lego bricks, coins, small toys, magnets, and laminated labels to identify different stages and enzymes involved in glucose metabolism. After building a model of glucose metabolism, the students created a short video or podcast of approximately five minutes. Teams worked on the video during class and finished the following class. This work was actually done here in the Teaching Innovation Learning Lab and she has published it in the peer-reviewed journal Exercise Physiology. Other activities used in this class include interactive pre-recorded lectures, warm-up quizzing games using Quizlet Live and Poll Everywhere, Visible Body Anatomy Atlas, and the Visible Body Anatomy and Physiology.
A colleague who observed Dr. Terson de Paleville’s class had this to say about her teaching:
“During her team-based learning activities, Dr. Terson de Paleville continuously walked around the classroom as students worked in teams to apply the difficult concepts to practical situations. If a majority of the students/teams struggled with a particular concept, she said, “WE need to work on this.” She took the time to explain it in a different way that might be more helpful to the class. What stuck out to me most during my visit to her class was how engaged the students were. From the beginning of class until the end, students asked questions, actively participated, and genuinely seemed interested in the course material. When I left Dr. Terson de Paleville’s class, I was energized and excited about her methods and strategically thinking about how I could incorporate them into my own courses.”