President’s technology initiative funds three projects

After a call from President John Haeger for faculty to use technology to deliver redesigned courses, three projects are being funded by his office. They will be pilot tested in the fall and refined for the next academic year.

The President’s Technology Fund, introduced in April, is funding proposals to create blended learning designs for the following courses at Northern Arizona University:

  • CINE 101, Introduction to Cinema and Visual Culture (lead faculty: Astrid Klocke and Judith Costello)
  • EE 188, Electrical Engineering I (lead faculty: Elizabeth Brauer)
  • HS 200, Healthy Lifestyles (lead faculty: Ellen Larson)

Haeger’s call for proposals targeted large 100- and 200-level courses, and included the incentive that departments could retain the savings if the implemented courses saved time and money. The initiative is intended to steer the university toward innovative use of technologies to be more strategic about how faculty invest time in teaching large-enrollment, multi-section courses.

“These are all solid proposals that employ technology to engage students with content and learning activities outside of class time,” said Karen Pugliesi, vice provost for academic affairs and dean of University College. That leaves class time, she explained, for problem solving and interaction.

Pugliesi said the “inverted pedagogy” approach has worked well in other courses and is part of an ongoing strategy at NAU to increase student success and the university’s capacity to serve more students.

“This represents a shift,” Pugliesi said. “Faculty can spend more of their time interacting with students as opposed to preparing lectures and working with content.”

Blended versions of the three courses are currently being designed and will be piloted in the fall. Faculty will “assess and adjust” in the spring, Pugliesi said, with full implementation expected in fall 2013.

The ongoing initiative, Pugliesi said, will be the focus of a series of events during the fall 2012 term to support faculty teams developing plans for transforming select courses with technology and intentional learning design.