In conjunction with the university’s focus on innovation, IIT’s College of Science and Letters’ Distinguished Teaching Fellows have launched two projects to support teaching innovation and excellence.
One of these projects is new-teacher orientations. Around 25 adjunct professors participated in this semester’s orientation, which aimed to explain the technical systems and processes that IIT faculty use while delivering class such as myIIT, Blackboard, and Google Apps. A topic that came up in these discussions was the idea of “flipping” the classroom. In this model, students view instruction online before class and then do “homework” in class. The Fellows suggested that professors create their own videos which can be viewed online by students before class. The videos serve as supplemental tools, aiding in the preparation of students for each class meeting.
Additionally, the Fellows offer optional mid-term course evaluations for all first-year computer science, applied mathematics, and science teachers. This mid-term student survey allows teachers to get feedback while there is still time to implement students’ comments for the current term. In fall 2012, more than half of the first-year computer science, applied mathematics, and science teachers participated in the evaluations.
Some of the major benefits that the teachers who participated in the evaluations reported were that they were able to change to dates of weekly assignments to allow students more time to meet with the teacher before the due date; they improved the clarity of instruction; and they improved the “flipped” classroom technique by getting early feedback on the new approach.