Posted by: Apurva Mehta | June 1, 2011

New Faculty Awards for Teaching with Technology!

Two new awards were presented at the CIT/Educational Technology Conference to recognize faculty for their outstanding work in teaching with technology.  We hope to make these awards an annual tradition.

The Teaching with Technology Award for Innovation and Creativity was awarded to Prof. Tara Devi S. Ashok, Ph.D. who teaches in the departments of Anthropology and Biology, for her creative use of technology in engaging students.

Professor Tara Ashok does everything with passion.  She devotes herself to her teaching, scientific esearch, and technology (Instructional Support Staff)

Tara Ashok teaches multiple courses, including Biological Anthropology, Basis of Life, and Developmental Biology in two departments: Biology and Anthropology.  She is also a member of the CIT advisory board, and a frequent presenter at CIT conferences and forums.

After attending her first Blackboard Training workshop back in the summer of 2009, Tara  immediately started using the learning management system in her teaching.  From there, she went on to spend time with every staff member in the Digital Learning Studio and received training in Camtasia, Adobe Presenter, iClickers, Wimba, iMovie, Voice Tools, and more, integrating everything she learned into her teaching.  As a result, she has found, – student attendance, retention and academic performance have improved dramatically.  To quote a student in Anthropology 105 – “I was amazed how fun she made this class!  She is one of the best teachers at UMass Boston.  I want to take another class with her.” 

Tara is now developing a new online Anthropology course “Human Origins” which will be offered in the summer of 2011.  She presented a session at the conference on “Why is it Important to Teach about Race, Class, and Gender?  An Anthropologist’s Viewpoint.”

The Teaching with Technology Award for Leadership in Application of a Technology was awarded to Steve Ackerman Associate Professor of Biology and Director of the Biochemistry Program, College of Science and Mathematics, for his application of class capture software to enhance student learning.

Steve Ackerman has demonstrated ingenuity, adaptability and resiliency in using technology in his teaching and has become a leader in the use of Camtasia Relay classroom capture software, since he began using it to record his lectures.  Over the last two years,  hundreds of his students in Biology 372 and 675 have been able to view his recorded lectures via Blackboard andiTunesU. Steve was one of the first faculty to use Camtasia Relay that since 2009 has grown to 95 users. Steve has worked closely with technical support staff to help troubleshoot problems and make suggestions for improving faculty support.  He has been a strong advocate for the use of lecture capture on behalf of his students who have benefited from the opportunity to review course lectures outside of class, as well as catch up on missed lectures because of inclement weather. He has also given frequent presentations to other faculty on the use of Camtasia and is undertaking a new effort to allow the conversion of audio to text so that students can also have access to the text of lectures for their studies.  Steve’s conference presentation, “Camtasia and Beyond:  The Next Challenge”  focused on this effort.


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