Focusing on Faculty Excellence
Learn how Professor Reid Brewer delivers Fish Tech courses to his students.
In order to reach out students across the state of Alaska and beyond, Reid Brewer and the UAS Fisheries Technology program has started recording and loading 3-credit classes on Apple iPads. Each of the seven classes available in this format can be taken from anywhere in the state, or nation for that matter, on a UAS supplied iPad. All of the lectures, reading assignments, writing assignments, videos and exams are stored on the iPad so that no internet access is required. Each class is broken up into 8 to 12 student learning outcomes that are taught in 10 to 15 minute mini-lectures and end with self-check quizzes to make sure students are keeping pace with the information. Each class has a PDF reading assignment in the iBooks application and a writing assignment in the Pages application. Exams are accessed through the ExamSoft application and guided access locks down the iPad while students take exams. All classes have pre and post course exams to evaluate student learning, and once iPads are connected to the internet, exams are downloaded to instructors. In spring 2017, 73 students signed up for 219 Fish Tech credits on Apple iPads. Based upon end of course surveys, students enjoy the flexibility of taking classes with student led learning, the engaging self-check quizzes and at least 75% of surveyed students said that they couldn't have taken traditional face to face or semester-long distance classes.
Free and/or low-cost textbook alternatives can have a big impact on student success.
The Alt-Textbook Project, a collaborative initiative of the Egan Library and CELT, provides faculty development and advocacy to increase awareness of Open Educational Resources (OER) and the innovative teaching and learning opportunities these tools can facilitate. Students spend an average of $1,200 per year on texts, and according to a 2014 PIRG report, 7 out of 10 students have forgone purchasing college textbooks due to cost. Faculty use of OER signal an awareness of rising textbook prices and an effort to select course materials with student costs in mind.
Library faculty Jonas Lamb spearheaded the pilot Alt-Textbook Workshop series in 2015-2016, supported by Academic Innovation Funding. Five UAS faculty members (4 from Juneau, 1 from Ketchikan) from English, Education, Economics and Construction Technology completed the workshop. Each provided positive comments on the opportunity to collaborate with faculty outside of their departments, the dedicated time to explore and discover high quality and relevant open educational resources (OER) and discuss among peers the potential for adopting these resources as alternatives to traditional textbooks in their courses. Participants identified and reviewed 15 OER while also reading and providing annotations for 5 scholarly articles exploring OER in the context of pedagogy, efficacy, student engagement and scholarly communication. At least one participant indicated intent to adopt an open textbook for Fall 2016. Over the project’s first year, these efforts have saved students an estimated $20,000-30,000 on textbooks.
Project details, a resource list of OER reviewed by UAS faculty, and information about how to participate are available on the Alt-Textbook webpage: http://www.uas.alaska.edu/library/alt-textbook.html.
ScholarWorks@UA provides a platform for completed projects from UAS' URECA program.
ScholarWorks@UA is our institutional repository (IR), a partnership between UA system universities and the Arctic Supercomputing Center aimed at collecting, preserving, and disseminating the intellectual output of UA faculty, staff, and students. ScholarWorks@UA enables UAS users to highlight their best scholarly and creative work, reach a worldwide audience, facilitate collaboration, and attract faculty, staff, and students to UAS, and materials deposited in the IR are discoverable by OneSearch as well as Google Scholar. In addition to including work such as master's theses, ScholarWorks@UA provides a platform for UAS’ Undergraduate Research, Experiential & Creative Activities (URECA) program, which provides funding for students to engage in extra-curricular research and creative activities and opportunities for faculty to mentor students on projects that complement and expand upon traditional teaching and learning. Completed projects are uploaded to ScholarWorks@UA upon completion each spring.