Interim Vice President for Instruction, Bill Abernethy, recently asked the academic deans and the Faculty Professional Development (FPD) Committee for a list of innovations in the classroom of which they were aware.
“Quite a number of impressive things came back to me,” Abernethy said.
From engaging in cross-department collaborations, to incorporating technology in the classroom, to experimenting with new pedagogical approaches and more, there is a great deal of faculty innovation taking place at WCC.
“The general feeling was that there were probably many more innovative instructional practices taking place which the college is not aware of,” Abernethy continued.
One of the goals of the college and the FPD Committee is to make these innovations more widely known across the campus.
Many WCC faculty have been innovative by using a variety of technological tools—including iPads, mobile apps, social media, and other online products—to support and advance teaching and learning in their classrooms.
Lisa Rombes, faculty member in the Math department, has been piloting LearnSmart Achieve, an upcoming product from McGraw Hill, and using it in her Foundations of Algebra class.
The learning tool has helped her students study more effectively by pinpointing the areas in which they need more practice. It also directs each student to specific learning resources that he or she needs to better understand the material. Rombes is very happy with the results so far.
“It teaches good study habits and models college-level learning,” she said. “I can print reports that show exactly what objectives students are struggling with, which helps me prepare for each class and make the most of class time.”
Other examples of innovations include a number of cross-department collaborations, including courses that combine math and academic skills, math and nursing, biology and animation, radiology and anthropology, as well as others.
Faculty in Welding, Construction Technology, Graphic Design, and Animation collaborated to form the newly approved Engineering Design Technology program. The program will prepare students to create and design products using the latest engineering software and production methods.
“We got together and realized there was a student need and lot of excitement around creating a new program that involved all our areas,” said Coley McLean, faculty member in the Welding department.
“I’m really excited about all the cross-department faculty collaboration taking place at WCC,” said Mary Mullalond, faculty member in the English department. “It can be challenging to collaborate, across disciplines especially, but there is so much potential in these collaborations for faculty and students.”
These are just a few of many instructional innovations taking place at WCC.
As a way to help make instructional innovations more widely known across the college, Water Cooler will begin to feature one or two in each e-issue.
The FPD Committee also has plans to feature faculty innovations on their blog at www.wccfpd.wordpress.com.
Mullalond, also a member of the FPD committee remarked, “We’re excited to help highlight and promote innovations that are happening on campus.”
If you know of an instructional innovation that you think should be featured, please contact Water Cooler at firstname.lastname@example.org and the FPD Committee at email@example.com.