Three BGSU faculty members recognized for their innovation

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Bowling Green State University dominated the list of 2010 Faculty Innovator Award winners. Given by the Ohio Board of Regents, the award recognizes college, university, and adult career center faculty who leverage technology and employ alternative learning materials in their courses.

Three of the ten honorees are from BGSU. They are Bonnie Mitchell, an associate professor in the School of Art and Drs. Seth Oyer, an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism and Public Relations, and Rachel Vannatta Reinhart, a professor in the Department of Leadership and Policy Studies. The winners were honored May 25 at the Ohio Board of Regents in Columbus by first lady Frances Strickland and OBOR chancellor Eric Fingerhut and then recognized on the floor of the General Assembly.

In an effort to provide relevant and up-to-date information for the students in her Digital Arts classes, Mitchell creates numerous online resources each semester that eliminate the need for textbooks. She develops websites containing detailed technical information, which walk students step by step through material for each lecture. These notes mimic technical/concept-driven textbooks, but directly relate to the learning objectives of the course. The website includes screen-snapshots of software interfaces, conceptual overviews, illustrated examples, videos, links to relevant information, connections to class blogs and YouTube channels. Depending on their courses, she has helped nearly 200 students save from $100 to $600 each.

Mitchell also helps her colleagues integrate digital material into their classes. Using grant money, she purchased a web server and created a way for other instructors in Digital Arts to host websites for their classes. She also set-up and maintains a listserv for her division to communicate with all the students and a dynamic website for all Digital Arts students to post their portfolios.

Oyer has been utilizing innovative technology since he started his career at BGSU in 2008. His website http://www.docoyer.com provides students with links to much of his course material as well as links to websites important to developing practitioners. He also uses BGSU’s Blackboard program to provide additional online content to his students for free.

His classes often require students follow him on a special public-relations class account he manages on Twitter. His tweets often contain current events stories that are typically content for in-class discussions. The account is also used as a pseudo-newswire that provides students with variations on stories for their assigned public relations clients.

For each of his classes, Oyer provides several copies of required texts to BGSU’s library reserves so that students can choose to do their readings from the library without having to purchase the texts themselves. This currently saves his students anywhere from $50 to $120 per class.

Reinhart has created a variety of digital resources for students in her graduate course, Statistics in Education. A free electronic text, written by Reinhart, presents all the content, learning activities and practice problems for the course. Students then use this text to guide them through 12 videos.  Each video typically presents a lecture covering important concepts, demonstration of problem solving, class activities to reinforce concepts and practice problems.

In the last five years, Reinhart has taught over 800 students in this course. Since the cost of a traditional textbook for statistics in social sciences ranges from $80 to $125, the student savings across the last five years is $74,000. In addition, Reinhart’s course materials have increased course efficiency. While most online courses have a maximum enrollment of 20 students per section, the videos have significantly decreased student confusion and questions to the point that she typically enrolls 35-42 students per section, saving BGSU nearly $70,000.

University System of Ohio faculty members were nominated by colleagues or students aware of each professor’s course materials and the impact they had on student savings.

 

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(Posted June 04, 2010 )