Echo 360 Awardees

Don Lowe
Course: COM 249: Mass Media & Culture
Award: $2,000.00
Start Date: 9/1/2013
End Date: 8/31/2014

COM 249 provides an examination of the interplay between the technology and content of the mass communication media and culture. The course audience is primarily first and second year pre-Communication students and serves many students from other Colleges as an elective. Mr. Lowe's courses enrolls approximately 250 students over the course of the year; each term there is one 'smaller' section that serves as the experimental 'flipped' classroom. Currently, Mr. Lowe is developing content for online delivery, including: 1) voice-over powerpoint lectures, 2) printable powerpoint slides and high-quality HD lecture videos, 3) online quizzes, worksheets and learning assessments. This online content in "flipped" form allows students to gain first exposure and to assess their learning prior to classroom learning; in turn, Mr. Lowe will use these formative assessments to tailor classroom instruction and enhance the in-class instructional experience. Following the vision by Lage, Platt, and Treglia (2000) and Mazur (2009), Mr. Lowe will experiment with student discussion of conceptual "clicker" questions and media problems focused on communication principles. In other contexts, students may spend time in class engaged in debates or synthesis activities. The goal of the flipped classroom is to allow students to use class time to deepen their understanding and increase their skills while gaining new insights into these media phenomena.

The COM 249 course is an ideal, innovative course to experiment with the flipped classroom because of its regular integration of online media exemplars, problems, and historical artifacts that are available on the Web. For example, students outside the classroom can be given historical context reading assignments, self-guided quizzes, and a short video lecture and the assignment to view a classic documentary such as "The Battle over Citizen Kane." Online modules provide a mechanism to assess student understanding while classroom lectures "go digital" (Fitzpatrick, 20 12) and leverage the potential of a multimodal education environment. Then, when students can concentrate class time on discussion, student-centered projects and presentation, and other engaged, active learning opportunities with Mr. Lowe. This allows for in-class activities to focus on higher level cognitive assignments, to deepen their understanding and effectively use classroom time.

Finally, Mr. Lowe is a seasoned faculty member in the Senior Lecturer title, and he has won teaching awards for his instructional excellence. As a former media producer and news director, he has developed and produced a media course for online consumption.

Jeremy Crampton
Course: GEO 109: Digital Mapping
Award: $2,000.00
Start Date: 1/1/2014
End Date: 12/31/2014

GEO109 is a UK Core class that meets the Arts and Creativity requirement. At present it is being offered to about 200 students per semester and is taught twice a year. The learning outcomes of the class are to prepare students for the realities of the 21st century work place, to enable students to navigate critically through the realities of “big data,” and to empower them to creatively acquire, represent and disseminate geospatial data and geolocational services (including those manifested in the “cloud”).

These learning outcomes are met with a wide diversity of activities that make this class especially suitable for “flipped” instruction and active learning, because it is designed to give the students as much practical experience as possible. Each week focuses on particular concepts, currently summarized in class notes (PowerPoint), coupled with active engagement and doing activities. For example, in data collection, students download an iPhone or Android app to measure sound levels. These measurements are taken under varying conditions, both inside the classroom and outside (the quietest place, or a challenge to make the most noise, etc.). This involves leaving the classroom, something the students (and instructors) prefer. Structured activities “outside” have been built into the class from the beginning. Digital mapping is especially suitable for this since so many activities can be recorded as taking place somewhere, and hence mappable.

Another example lies in our innovative use of unusual experiences such as collecting imagery from the sky using helium balloons with camera attachment, or flying our small “drone” (quadcopter) overhead. The photographs and video from the balloon and drone can be downloaded and “stitched” together to make a comprehensive map of an area such as campus.

Dr. Crampton was unsatisfied with the delivery of conceptual content (“ideas”) via slides. Although these are posted to Blackboard, he sought a more interactive and engaging way to handle this material. He feels students need better ways to access lectures. There is too much of a divide between “conceptual” and “practical” material, but the realities of having 200 people in a room mean that it is not easy to go outside to demonstrate a point, and come back inside for more “conceptual” instruction, go back outside, etc. It would work better if students could access “lectures” outside of class time, leaving the class period itself for active learning. This is not to downplay conceptual material, but to interleave conceptual and applied activities throughout. Active learning equally needs to be thought of as an integral part of ideational material. Dr. Lowe feels we already employ mobile devices (in real life and in this class) so frequently, and he would like to explore engaging students (in part) in this way. Would it work to have students perform activities, and access instruction outside the class on mobile devices/laptops? He would also like to explore interactive video rooms, which I have used in GIS classes to run labs in a “hybrid” setting.

859-218-HELP (859-218-4357)