UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s Teaching and Learning with Technology has welcomed six instructors across two campuses and four colleges into its Faculty Fellows cohort for 2022-24 and begun collaborating on a new slate of projects.
Faculty selected for the Faculty Fellows program partner with TLT on innovative projects, which over the course of the program's existence have encompassed everything from data empowered learning to robotics.
Projects undertaken by the new cohort — Anna Divinsky, Cookie Redding, Zena Tredinnick-Kirby, Jacqueline Bortiatynski, Gregory R. Pierce and Jeanne Marie Rose — will focus on at least one of the following themes:
- Affordability and Inclusion — Utilizing instructional technologies to increase accessibility and affordability, supporting a more equitable experience for students
- Physi-digital Space — Innovations to help students be successful and prepare them to work in dynamic, hybrid workplaces
- Radical Creativity — Incorporating instructional technology tools to cultivate creativity and collaboration in the classroom
The Fellows will work with a team of TLT staff on their projects, which are influenced by each instructor's discipline and background.
“Welcoming a new group of innovative faculty to be Fellows is important for TLT and for the teaching and learning community at Penn State. Their innovative spirits, passion for their unique ideas, and focus on impactful topics create potential for profound impact,” said Dr. John Hoh, interim associate vice president for TLT.
The following are the projects that the new Faculty Fellows will undertake.
Anna Divinsky, Cookie Redding, and Zena Tredinnick-Kirby — Exploring 3D Virtual Spaces: Engaging Student Communities Through Feedback and Exhibitions
Imagine creating a digital avatar and then visiting a virtual art museum and interacting with other visitors in real time. Divinsky, an assistant professor of Art in the Office of Digital Learning; Redding, a lecturer in the School of Visual Arts; and Tredinnick-Kirby, a lecturer in the School of Visual Arts, intend to integrate 3D Virtual Space into art courses to be able to do just that.
The goal is to utilize 3D Virtual Spaces to strengthen students’ comprehension of the language of art criticism, help them become more constructive thinkers and collaborative team members, and allow them to experiment with cutting-edge technology applicable to their field.
The faculty members said one of their goals is to transform their students' educational experience by expanding how feedback and iteration sessions are delivered through a variety of courses, while leveraging enhanced and emerging digital learning options.
Students will place their final artwork in the course’s virtual gallery space to create an exhibit, provide constructive feedback to one another, and integrate the feedback as they develop their ideas and skills.
Jacqueline Bortiatynski — Capturing Classroom Engagement Data for Instructor Reflection, or CCEDIR
Bortiatynski, an associate teaching professor in the Eberly College of Science, will use her project to empower faculty by providing valuable feedback and opportunity for reflection.
The CCEDIR observation protocol allows human observers to capture a snapshot of active learning during a class session. The class observation and data collection will focus on either the students or the faculty and the activities they engage in during the session. After the observation, the instructor will be able to review the data visualizations and participate in a reflective discussion with the observer.
The end goal is to turn the application into a scalable platform to inform instruction.
"Self-reflection is a critical part of personal growth. In teaching, it is extremely difficult to step back after leading a learning experience and reflect on your performance,” said Bortiatynski. “CCEDIR is a protocol that will provide instructors with that snapshot of execution of their pedagogical approaches and actions taken by the students in that moment. This data can be invaluable in providing insight for fine tuning of pedagogical approaches and goals for teaching professional development.”
Gregory R. Pierce — Using Smart Board Collaboration Tools to Revolutionize Student Learning in the Large-Format Classroom
Pierce, an associate teaching professor in finance, will use his project to reimagine teaching and learning in large classrooms by integrating smart board technology to enhance student collaboration and engagement. His project is influenced and inspired by David Kellerman’s use of the Microsoft Surface Hub 2S at the University of New South Wales.
“This project will improve course pedagogy by offering all students the opportunity to contribute to the board during daily discussions and the chance to participate in a dynamic, high-technology workspace,” said Pierce. “This emerging technology allows students to work in a space that is state-of-the art. It is a revolutionary breakthrough in the large format (up to 700 students) classroom educational space.”
In implementing this plan, TLT will create documentation to enable any faculty member to learn about these new teaching methods.
Jeanne Marie Rose — Creating Accessible Texts With Adaptive Technologies, or CATWAT
Rose, associate professor of English at Penn State Berks, aims to design a writing pedagogy that uses inclusive composition processes for students to produce accessible products that accommodate visually impaired readers. These tools include composing with voice-to-text software, developing texts for screen-readers and crafting images and figures that enhance comprehension.
The goal is to enhance student learning by providing an introduction to practical skills for inclusive composition and enhancing student engagement by expanding students’ notions of writing, design, and textuality.
“CATWAT aims to make accessibility a core value of Penn State’s writing courses. Just as staff and faculty are encouraged to produce publications and course materials in a range of media, students stand to learn from composing with parallel priorities,” says Rose. “These methods cultivate critical and ethical thinking that students can carry into the workplace and beyond. Accessible composition will enhance the University’s institutional ethos as well, demonstrating its commitment to community members having diverse abilities.”
Rose will work to create a resource that can be integrated into writing courses across the curriculum, which may come in the form of Canvas modules or a new website. These tools would enable writing instructors to incorporate accessibility considerations into existing writing assignments.
To learn more about the TLT Faculty Fellows program, please email [email protected].