Teach and tech expo helps faculty engage students
The Second Annual William & Mary Teaching & Technology Expo was held on Friday, March 28 at Miller Hall. The event was an open house showcase focused on helping faculty explore technology as a tool to engage students in the classroom.
Brinkley Commons was packed from start to finish of the event. Faculty and technical staff were ready to share their knowledge of both familiar and new technology and learning strategies. The event was open to all W&M faculty and staff and was well attended by people from many areas of the university.
This year’s expo was co-sponsored by W&M’s E-learning Community, the provost’s E-learning Committee, the Mason School of Business, W&M Information Technology and Swem Library. W&M Information Technology was involved in all aspects of the expo, most specifically in organizing the event, providing technical expertise, coordinating with faculty and providing financial support. Additionally, IT staff members made up eight of the 10 members of the event organizing committee.
“I’m very pleased with the attendance," said Karen Conner, associate director of e-learning at the Mason School of Business and project leader for the event. "I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for people to share their experiences in using technology to improve student learning outcomes, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
The event included food, door prize giveaways and recognition of e-learning leaders. Gene Roche, director of university e-learning initiatives and academic information services, recognized Professor Michael Kelley, FEL (free-electron laser) applied research program manager at Jefferson Lab, with an award for being an “e-learning pioneer.” Kelley has been using distance-learning technology to teach physics for 27 semesters.
The expo included more than 25 table displays with exhibits on media management, WM blogs and wikis, screen capture, social media, design thinking and more. Participants were not just able to learn about new technology, but also try it for themselves. Demos included several videoconferencing tools, a virtual classroom in AvayaLive, and new electronic resources from Swem Library. A 3D printing demonstration was also a popular display.
Amy Wilkerson, laboratory and research manager at the Applied Research Center in Newport News, was just one staff member who came to the event to experience new technology. Wilkerson said she came to learn about mobile apps for classroom use but was particularly impressed by the virtual classroom in AvayaLive, which she thought would be a great tool to bring back to the Jefferson Lab location. This was her first time at the event, but she enjoyed it and plans to be back for next year.
The event is only in its second year, but has already sparked the interest of a large number of W&M faculty and staff. Roche said, “I think it’s pretty incredible that we can bring this many people together who are experimenting with e-learning at William & Mary. All of these tables are filled with people who have actually tried it and made it happen in their classrooms. If we had tried to hold this event three years ago, we wouldn’t have been able to fill up half of the room, and it really shows us how important e-learning is becoming. I think it’s a great activity and just the beginning of things to come.”