Nomination for Dr. James Harper
Name: Dr. James Harper
Personal home page: http://courses.ncsu.edu/ent495/common/in...
Project: ENT 207: Insects and Human Disease
Brief Description and Purpose of project
ENT 207 is an introduction to the many interactions between insects, other arthropods and humans that result in disease, ranging from simple anxiety, phobias, discomfort and pain, to transmission of pathogenic organisms causing sickness and even death. In 2010, Dr. Harper began working with DELTA on an IDEA Grant to design and develop this new distance education course. His primary goals were to create a course that:
1. Presents the content in an engaging format, using images and videos where appropriate
2. Makes it easy to give students low stakes assessments or self-assessments
3. Includes spaces for students to interact and discuss topics relating to insects and human disease
Some of the key features of the course include:
* Course Structure: The course is structured around 30 topics, each consisting of content pages (created using Moodle books), an assignments page including links out to various readings and videos, a discussion board, and a Moodle quiz.
* Narrated Presentations and Interactions: The course contains approximately 150 narrated presentations created with Articulate Presenter. Some of these presentations also include Articulate Engage Interactions where students must interact with the slides instead of simply listening and watching.
* Flashcards: The instructor created flashcards with images for each unit of the course using the DELTA Flashcards Tool.
* Google Forms: A questionnaire was created for the first unit to initiate a discussion of students’ attitudes towards insects coming into the course.
* Video Interviews: For this course, it was important to pull in local experts to highlight some of the research and work being done on the NCSU campus. Dr. Harper collaborated with Video Communication Services and other groups in DELTA to capture three video interviews with Entomology experts.
* Films: Dr. Harper worked closely with NCSU Library to obtain streaming rights on several films for the course including the full length feature film, “Under Our Skin”.
In addition to the above activities, students are also asked to complete two projects that creatively make use of instructional technologies. The first project is a “Scrapbook Project” where students are asked to collect current events news articles that relate to insects and human disease and post them to an online, interactive timeline using the tool, Dipity. The purpose of the assignment is to help students become aware of the degree to which insect-associated health problems are prevalent in the world today. Students not only have the ability to link out to articles, but they also have the ability to include relevant images and videos and to comment on their classmates’ posts. The same timeline is used across semesters so students can see posts from previous semesters and know that they are contributing to a growing database of information around insects and human disease. The second project is a “Research Project” where students are given the opportunity to explore a course topic more in-depth and then present their findings back to the class. This can be in the format of a paper or a narrated presentation using the free tool, Jing. Students are then expected to provide feedback to their fellow classmates via a Moodle discussion forum.
Ruth Smith, Instructional Designer, Project Manager
David Tredwell, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Developer
John Gordon, Videographer
Mike Cuales, Videographer
Mack Garrison, Graphic Designer
Evidence of Project Impact at NC State
ENT 207 has been taught both in the traditional classroom and DE formats since 2010. In Fall 2011, it was accepted as a GEP credit course in both Natural Sciences and in Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Enrollment has grown with each offering of the course and has attracted place bound students from within North Carolina and as far away as Taiwan. These have included degree and certificate seeking students and life-long learners working to improve employment security and options, as well as learning about insects and health for the sake of learning. A new certificate program titled Fundamentals of Entomology was also approved during Fall 2011, and the availability of this course insured that the certificate can be earned totally via DE. The course also provides an added elective for the Minor in Entomology. Some students taking this course enrolled after taking other entomology courses and/or have expressed interest in taking more after having taken this one.
Evidence of Project Impact beyond NC State
Colleagues at other entomology departments around the U.S. were aware that this course was being developed and is being offered through interactions between Dr. Harper and colleagues at numerous scientific meetings over the past three years. As a result, he was asked to present a symposium lecture at the annual meetings of the Southeastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America held in San Juan, Puerto Rico in the Spring of 2011. His talk, titled “Online Education for College Students”, was part of a symposium titled “Entomologists as Educators—Using Traditional and Non-traditional Tools to Reach Young and Old Audiences”. In preparation for the presentation, Dr. Harper conducted a national survey of entomology departments to determine the extent of use of DE in their entomology graduate, undergraduate and certificate programs. His presentation shared the results from this survey, outlined some of the steps necessary for developing DE courses, and presented some of the special tools available to instructors, using ENT 207 as an example. Many participants have since commented to Dr. Harper that they are now initiating DE courses, working to stimulate faculty interest in doing so, and adding to the few DE entomology courses currently being taught nationwide