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Release: Immediate

UI Council on Teaching honors 12 with Instructional Improvement Awards

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Twelve University of Iowa faculty members will receive 1997-98 Instructional Improvement Awards to support projects designed to improve classroom teaching. The awards, which range in value from $500 to $5,000, are presented each year by the UI Council on Teaching.

This year's recipients and their projects are:

Wendy Adamek, religion, will develop a Web site to help students, particularly those in her "Introduction to Buddhism" course, understand the construction and uses of medieval Buddhist temple caves in Dunhuang, China. She will travel to China in the summer of 1998 to take photos of the caves, whose interiors are covered with paintings and have statues set into the walls. The photos will be converted into three-dimensional images on the Web site, giving the students a sense of what it is like to enter the caves.

Amy Dunbar, accounting, will develop a cutting-edge tax research course for the tax track of the master of accountancy program. The new course is designed to respond to outside advisors, who said that UI accounting graduates need to improve both international expertise and tax research skills. Students will acquire international tax expertise by using electronic databases on CD-ROM and the Web. The project will also develop an audiovisual Web-based tutorial for teaching research skills.

James Enloe, anthropology, will use computer software and a color digital camera to provide students with maps of an archaeological excavation site in northern France. The site was used by prehistoric hunters some 12,000 years ago during reindeer migration seasons. Having information on the location of reindeer skeletons, especially their distribution around the campfires, will be used to investigate butchering practices and food sharing among campsite occupants. The mapping software will also provide simultaneous views of different strata of the excavation. In addition, the photo maps will be used to document finds during the excavation by students on the field school.

Diana Gannett, music, is setting up a digital keyboard and rhythmic support practice room in the double bass studio at the School of Music. The new equipment provides students with accompaniments that are on disc and can be played back on the keyboard at any tempo. The setup "is like having an extremely patient piano coach/accompanist willing to work with the student at any time, for as long as they want, repeating as much as necessary, at any tempo," Gannett notes. This kind of digital support accelerates the learning of music fundamentals and performance objectives and may soon become as standard as having a metronome.

Tim Hagle, political science, will develop a set of interactive, Web-based sample tests for his course on American Constitutional Law and Politics. "For most students, this is their first look at opinions written by Supreme Court justices," Hagle says. "These cases can often turn on a single word or phrase, and distinctions are often buried within pages of legal jargon. Because of the difficulty in learning how to read court opinions, students are often dismayed at their performance on the first test." The sample tests will give students an opportunity to gauge their understanding of each section of the course by providing immediate feedback on their answers, including explanations for incorrect answers.

Lynn Johnson, oral pathology, and Derrick Williamson, prosthodontics, are developing a new form of clinical evaluation for dental students. Under the new system, faculty members will use hand-held computers to immediately record information on student performance. That information will be downloaded to a central database that will generate daily reports for students and weekly reports for faculty. The proposed evaluation procedure will be tested in a pilot phase before the entire project is implemented into the curriculum.

Susan Lawrence, history, won funding for a state-of-the-art computer system for the department's Teaching and Writing Resource Center. The computer equipment will provide center staff and graduate instructors with access to e-mail, the Internet and CD-ROMs for finding new resources and Web-based course information and materials. The improvements to the center's resources will help graduate instructors improve their instruction, which will improve the education of undergraduates in general education history courses.

Thomas Loew, pediatrics, will purchase a computer software program called the "Peripheral Blood Tutor" to provide instruction about normal and abnormal red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The self-directed program, which takes one to two hours to complete, will be used with third- and fourth-year medical students as well as resident physicians training in pediatrics. "Most students and residents get very little exposure to this material after their second year of medical school," Loew explains. "The computer tutorial gives them a quick review and provides a built-in exam that determines if they need additional review."

Jerald Moon, speech pathology and audiology, will develop an interactive, three-dimensional computer-based tutorial to help students learn the anatomy of the human skull. The project will be conducted in collaboration with the staff of the UI Information Commons. The instructional software will allow students to observe and manipulate the skull and each of its 22 bones. The program will feature both tutorial sections and computerized testing. The software will be made to run on both Windows and Macintosh platforms, and a Web-based version will also be created.

James Throgmorton, urban and regional planning, won funding for a two-part project. The first part of the project will include taking students to St. Louis and Minneapolis/St. Paul to meet with key planning-related organizations, to learn the "lay of the land" with regard to planning issues, and to obtain primary documents pertaining to planning and development in those cities. The second part of the project will be to construct an innovative Web site for urban and regional planning in the major cities of the Upper Midwest.

Judith Voelkl, sport, health, leisure and physical studies, is acquiring computer equipment and developing learning modules for both undergraduate and graduate students in therapeutic recreation classes. Therapeutic recreation is an allied health profession that delivers recreation services to individuals with disabilities. Voelkl will incorporate applied learning experiences into the curriculum to provide students with knowledge about the use of computers to assess clients' leisure functioning, develop treatment protocols, and track client progress.