6 grants awarded to promote teaching innovation

innovation grant composite(L-R) Chris Eidson, Maria Hopkins, Peter Jones, Jeff Morris, Claire Mowling, Jenelle Hodges, Alan Sprague and Raquel Diaz-SpragueProfessors from six disciplines were awarded Teaching Innovation and Development Awards to support new approaches to instruction and learning in a team environment. In total, faculty received $22,850 for the execution of their proposals.

“These awards are very important in the development, implementation and validation of new educational tools and approaches to measuring and growing success when students learn in a team environment,” said Dale Dickinson, Ph.D., director of the university Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).

The Center for Teaching and Learning and the Office of the Vice Provost for Student and Faculty Success select the recipients based on proposals that fit the theme of the QEP, improve an aspect of student learning and enhance the quality of higher education. This is the third year of UAB’s five-year plan for "Learning in a Team Environment."

These are the recipients for the coming academic year and their funded projects:

  • Chris Eidson, assistant professor of occupational therapy, will work to develop and validate an instrument to assess the perception of learning outcomes among college students who have participated in team-based learning.
  • Maria Hopkins, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, will compare an online course that includes a team component to the traditional section without a team component. “There is a need to develop methods and strategies to facilitate collaboration and cooperation among peers in online courses just as we have in face-to-face courses,” Hopkins said in her submission.
  • Peter Jones, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of government, will develop simulations to engage and challenge student teams with the financial administration in government and in non-profits.
  • Jeff Morris, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, and his doctoral student Sarah Adkins will enhance the Petri Dish Art (#petridishartUAB) project used in the department's introductory microbiology lab course and demonstrate the learning outcomes from these team activities.
  • Claire Mowling, Ed.D., assistant professor of kinesiology, and Jenelle Hodges, Ph.D., instructional design specialist, will investigate the ways quality course design affects students’ perceived effectiveness of team dynamics in an online learning environment.
  • Alan Sprague, Ph.D., professor of computer science, and visiting scholar Raquel Diaz-Sprague, PharmD, will be investigating what training and activities work best to teach team skills to computer scientists as measured by progress in the VALUE rubrics. Their goal is to decrease apprehension, potential conflict and misconduct among students working in group projects.

Each fall, UAB's Center for Teaching and Learning accepts competitive proposals to support teaching innovation and development of new approaches to improve instruction and learning. The principal investigator must be a full-time faculty member, and approval of the department chair is required. Awards may range from $2,000-$5,000 per investigator.