2014–15 Teaching Circle Mini-Grant Award Winners

  • Immersive Education with the Oculus Rift

    Awarded to: John Chrispell, Francisco Alarcón, Tim Flowers, Charles Lamb, Dan Radelet, and Ed Donley

    The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset that allows the wearer to experience a virtual world through the use of head-tracking and stereoscopic 3D. Using the Rift headset purchased through the RP-mini grant we have begun to explore its potential when teaching, and sharing mathematics. A primitive web-interface has been created allowing users to start developing content for classroom demonstrations of mathematical concepts. This semester a group of four students is using the device for a course modeling project.

    Using Undergraduate Student Actors as Standardized Patients in Clinical Labs: Applying Theory into Practice

    Awarded to: Michele Crytzer, Theresa Calderone, April Daras

    To implement a new strategy to synergize procedural training by nurse educators with behavioral training by theater educators. Nursing students were afforded the opportunity to interact with real “patients” in order to foster assessment and communication skills. Student actors performed as Standardized Patients in simulation scenarios in the specialties of Community Health and Psychiatric Nursing. Faculty from the Theater and Nursing departments collaborated to write simulation scenarios which aligned with the student learning objectives for each course. Outcomes included: Increased satisfaction with simulation experiences for nursing students; Broadened range of acting skills for Theater students; and Professional development for faculty.

    Evaluation of Ear Training Software for Theory Skills Courses

    Awarded to: John Levey, Christine Clewell, Linda Jennings, Therese Wacker, and Jason Worzbyt

    Faculty from the theory pedagogy teaching circle used mini-grant funds to purchase three ear training software applications in order to evaluate their potential for inclusion in undergraduate courses. There is consensus that the applications represent an excellent way for faculty to structure and evaluate out-of-class practice, but only with considerable configuration. The review process will continue into the summer, but Auralia 4 is the current frontrunner.

    Creation of a Resource Library for Digital History & Online Teaching

    Awarded to: Paul Arpaia, Christine Baker, Alan Baumler, Lynn Botelho, Erin Conlin, Soo Lu, Jeanine Mazak-Kahne, Scott Moore, Elizabeth Ricketts, Wang Xi

    The purchase of a collection of books to create a small departmental library to support the teaching circle members as they implement curricular changes. The purchase of these books has been very beneficial. The books have circulated among the members and sparked several discussions. This has led directly to the creation of two new online courses and the revamping of several others.

    Teaching with Mobile Devices: Cross-disciplinary Exploration at IUP

    Shijuan "Laurel" Liu, Crystal Machado, Robert Sweeney, David Loomis, Yongtaek Kim, Daniel Wissinger, Huachuan Wen, Kelli Jo Kerry-Moran

    The purpose of this project is twofold: (1) to facilitate further discussions among IUP faculty members across disciplines regarding the use of mobile devices for teaching and learning in the college classroom, and (2) to disseminate the results of Circle members’ pedagogical exploration at local and regional events and scholarly journals. The Circle explored more mobile technologies including the cutting-edge iPad classroom newly built in the library. Circle members provided feedback to related IT and library staff on how to make the classrooms further support faculty’s teaching needs. Some key members also shared their expertise at the Reflective Practice’s large group meeting in March, and worked together on an interdisciplinary journal article.

    Active Learning Strategies for Safety and Health Educators

    Awarded to: Tracey Cekada, Wanda Minnick (Facilitator), Eric Nelson, Helmut Paschold, Laura Rhodes, Jeremy Slagley, Jan Wachter, and Majed Zreiqat

    The Safety Sciences Teaching Circle was awarded a mini-grant to help fulfill our vision of publishing a book on active learning strategies specific to safety and health topics. The award was used to purchase educational materials on active learning strategies. Teaching circle meetings were used as a platform to identify a publisher, create a chapter list and to develop a book writing sample. We are currently under contract with National Safety Council to write this book. Since being awarded the grant, our teaching circle membership has grown and is interdisciplinary. Additional members and authors include: Drs John Engler, Justin Fair, Lon Ferguson, Julia Greenawalt, and Christopher Janicak.

    Material Resources in Teaching Liberal Studies English

    Awarded to: Bryna Siegel Finer, Lynn Shelly, Maha Alawdat, Rachael Warmington, and Oriana Gatta

    Our teaching circle asked for support to purchase materials that we experimented with in teaching Composition I, Composition II, and Humanities Literature. These materials included items like large post-it paper, small post-it notes, crayons, and index cards. Rather than assuming that nowadays, all writing takes place on computers and other hi-tech media, we wanted to see how these low-fi technologies, these tactile, kinetic, and tangible technologies, could be used in our own classrooms. We created a wiki space in which we shared our experiences using the materials, and we are currently drafting an article for submission to a refereed journal.