This year’s Winner of the Gertrude Cox Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching and Learning with Technology is Carolyn Quarterman, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in CHASS. Carolyn’s American English Pronunciation (an English as a Second Language, or ESL, course) is rich in multimedia and interaction, and effectively leverages many of the capabilities of the Web for instructional purposes. She has assembled a panoply of visual and auditory tools to relay the complexities of English to non-native speakers. These include videos, Flash productions, Breeze productions, and many uses of audio materials. She includes several interactive components in the course. In sum, she has made outstanding and innovative use of a variety of tools to bring knowledge to distant learners on the Web.
Runner up this year for the Gertrude Cox Award is Kimberly Ange-van Heugten, Department of Animal Science. Her online course on Principles of Animal Science Nutrition is a well-organized set of materials centered on well-written text lectures and enhanced with many high-quality videos. The videos cover not only nutrition for domesticated animals, but also for zoo animals. Several of the videos were produced at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. The ANS 225 site also includes some useful tools for professor-student and student-student interactions. Overall this course constitutes a model instructional site.
Receiving the Special Merit award in the Cox Award competition is Martha Scotford of the College of Design for her course History of Graphic Design, GD 342. The online site for the distance education section is particularly pleasing in the way it is organized and in the visual presentation of the materials. Such choices as font, type color, and text layout make the site unusually fluid to navigate through. This site makes it eminently clear that graphics design professors have a leg up on the rest of us in making things visually appealing. This is a site for us non-design types to emulate.
The top Project Award for a major Web tool goes to all the team members who developed WebAssign. John Risley of the Department of Physics to accepted the award on the team’s behalf. WebAssign has been evolving and improving for at least a decade and has now reached a very high level of capability, flexibility, security, and visual appeal in the delivery of homework, testing, and exercises for students over the Web. For the many at NCSU who use it, WebAssign is an essential part of their courses. Through its immediate feedback and multiple submissions features, it encourages students to persist in learning to solve problems. Because it is fully Web-delivered, it provides tremendous interactive capability for online courses, and allows for assignments in large classes that might not otherwise be feasible. WebAssign serves not only NCSU but many other universities around the country, as well as secondary schools and foreign institutions. In recognition of its potential, WebAssign was spun off as a free-standing private firm several years ago and it now operates very successfully on Centennial Campus.
Honorable Mention: The Expertiza Platform
The Project award for Honorable Mention in the area of tool development goes to The Expertiza Platform, developed by Edward Gehringer of Computer Science. The Expertiza platform is a program that allows instructors to take full advantage of peer-to-peer student abilities and efforts as enhancements of the instructional process. It is a system, including software, for managing student evaluations of one another’s work. Through this system, a student benefits not only from comments from the instructor, but also from comments by other students in the class. Each student also has the chance to review the work of others and thereby become better able to discriminate between different qualities of work. This process clearly improves critical thinking. Professor Gehringer is to be commended for investing much time and effort in developing and improving the Expertiza system.