The crowd in the Houston Room of the University Center is teeming with activity. Faculty members are gathered around tables placed around the room. Each table is a center for information—on new technology for the classroom, on creative assignments for students, on campus resources to support teacher and student efforts. It’s all part of the UH Effective Teaching Practices Showcase, a biannual event that pools in-house expertise and strategies to benefit faculty and students.
“We wanted to provide a venue where those faculty as well as others could share their best practices,” said Veronique Tran, director of Undergraduate Discovery Program and organizer of the event. “We’re trying to bring all that into one place, providing an environment where faculty can really learn from each other.”
Veteran professors sit next to new faculty. Kelli Gifford is an adjunct professor in the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication.
“I really wanted to get the experience from people who do this fulltime, get a broader perspective and see how I can relate it to my class,” she said.
The classroom has new tools like iPads, digital storytelling and response systems called “clickers” that allow students to convey their understanding of material on the spot in the classroom. Lisa Alastuey is an assistant professor in the department of health and human performance. She shared her successes using the virtual world of Second Life.
“We implemented a huge project called VITAL where students worked together, either as a team leader or team member, and they ended up presenting their findings and proposals in Second Life, in the virtual world,” she said.
Tier One faculty learn from each other to bring students a Tier One education.
“Our faculty bring such enriching experiences from their training as well as their research and how their research informs their teaching,” Tran said. “That’s something that we want to encourage.”
Best Practices are part of what’s happening at the University of Houston. I’m Marisa Ramirez.
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