The CRDC is committed to being on the cutting edge of educational research and development. We utilize our teaching development staff, our technical professionals and our creative skills to research and develop promising practices in teaching and the utilization of educational technology.
We encourage faculty to work with us to help develop best practices and pedagogical strategies that will enhance teaching and learning in our classrooms. Our professional staff will help develop a pilot project designed to explore all pedagogical effects of a particular technology or teaching technique. Ultimately this will further excellence in teaching and learning at the University of Lethbridge, and throughout the global teaching community.
Action research projects are important to higher education institutions because how students learn, how the knowledge is transferred, and how students will have to apply knowledge is constantly in flux. Action research projects allow the university to adapt and expand, while providing our students with 21st century skills.
Audience Response Systems
Engaging students can sometimes be a big challenge, especially in larger class sizes. Audience response systems use hand held electronic technology to allow students to answer without waiting to be addressed by the instructors.
When the project was first initialized, the CRDC chose to support Interwrite PRS clickers. They had the greatest functionality that met the various demands of instructors. Since choosing to support this product, the technology has declined in reliability. Re-engineering of the infra red receiver boxes occurred, and software glitches became apparent.
We had to find a different solution. Many faculty on campus had chose to use iClicker instead of the PRS clickers, and as such we felt it necessary and viable to support iClickers. However, having students purchase clickers as well as text books was not ideal. The answer lied in mobile technologies such as laptops and cell phones.
Polleverywhere.com is a subscription service that utilizes SMS and web technologies to allow students to be surveyed in real time. The website displays the question as well as the results graph. Students can answer via a web link or by texting their choice to a number displayed on the website. To date, we have had no technical glitches with this technology while running it in a class. In one class students were provided with laptops to answer the questions, but many still chose to try texting their answer in. We believe that this technology is the future of audience repsonse technologies. It works out to be cheaper than a clicker, and the students are not left with a technology that is only used for answering surveys.
If you would like to try out this technology please contact Brad Reamsbottom. Ph. 403.380.1856
Podcasting at the University of Lethbridge: The use and perceptions of podcasting
In 2008 the Curriculum Re-Development Centre(CRDC) began a pilot project focusing on podcasting at the University of Lethbridge. The project was initiated after interest emerged from a CRDC conducted literature review, that contained findings suggesting that podcasts could help students achieve higher marks. The CRDC wanted to build on these findings. A refined research focus led to the investigation of the type and quality of the podcast. Would the quality of the podcast and the format play a role in the effectiveness of the podcast? We further narrowed our study to focus on faculty and student perceptions of podcasting.
For more information regarding this project please contact Brad Reamsbottom
Currently Blackboard is the the supported Learning Management System on campus, but the CRDC felt that Moodle an open-source LMS was worth exploring. Many faculty had showed interest in this project, and there are currently a handful of faculty who experiment with teaching using the Moodle LMS. If you are interested in this project, please contact John Kometz. Ph. 403.382.7146.
Canadian Space Agency
The CRDC is working with different faculty on campus as well as other faculty from cooperating campuses to study the effectiveness of delivering space related science learning across a videoconference system. The project involves detailed qualitative and quantitative analysis. The CRDC is working with the other researchers to develop a video paper that will detail the results of this project.
After much research in the area of Videoconferencing, the site VCAlberta.com was constructed. VCAlberta is a community where technical details, pedagogical effects, and proper VC etiquette can be found. For more information about VCAlberta.com please contact David Hinger. Ph. 403.380.1856.
Since utilizing WebCT/Blackboard regularly as an institutional LMS, the CRDC has also kept up to date data on the success of the Learning Managment System. For the the most recent results, please contact Alyssa Di Rocco. Ph. 403.380.1856.