WISE Excellence in Online Teaching Award Recipients
Best Practices – 2008

Linda Braun (repeat winner)
Simmons College
Website Development and Information Architecture, Fall 2008

Best Practices: "By providing multiple access points for students I am able to meet individual needs via audio, video, and text. All of the course content is organized on a wiki that makes it very easy to update and add content for myself and for students. Each week starts with an audio podcast in which I outline the theme of the week. This helps to orient students to what’s coming up during the week. Also, when concepts discussed in class require video demonstration, I use screencasts to help students understand the concept. We also talk regularly using VOIP. This gives me, and the students, a chance to discuss topics and ask and answer questions in real-time."

What Professor Braun’s students say: “Linda uses a wiki to co-ordinate our classes, and provides weekly podcasts explaining the theme for the week and clearly outlines the activities we will need to do and any assessments due. The screencasts used to explain how to create code for our websites have been invaluable. It's one thing to read about a concept or even have someone describe it, but to see how it works in a screencast with a voiceover explaining the steps makes so much more sense.”

Shirley Giggey
University of British Columbia
International Issues and Innovations, Summer 2008

Best Practices: "Fortunately, the course topic is slightly ‘out of the ordinary’ within the realm of LIS and therefore elicits substantial interest among students. Having said that, the topic is also boundless, borderless and ever changing and therefore, does not lend itself easily to ‘scaffold’ learning. It does lend itself, however, to examining innumerable fascinating subject areas and issues and the course utilizes several learning tools through which to do this, the most important of which is probably the threaded Discussion Board where I try to foster an understanding of historical, cultural and socio-political influences on LIS services and thinking beyond North American practices. In addition, there are personal anecdotal experiences provided via various media, learning games, and group projects. The students are encouraged throughout to share anything they discover that may be of interest. Underpinning all of these tools is an attempt to induce critical thinking, student participation and having as much fun as possible in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. I know I certainly enjoy developing and presenting the course."

What Professor Giggey’s students say: “Shirley clearly has a lot of international experience. Her expertise and insight into the field of international librarianship are excellent. The course was taught asynchronously but she was always available and always quick to respond to postings, e-mails or assignments.”

Ellen Detlefsen (repeat winner)
University of Pittsburgh
Health Sciences Resources and Services, Fall 2008

Best Practices: "I like to use "real world" assignments--book reviews, gold standard searches, "clipping of the week" discussions, certification activities, poster sessions, etc.--as a way to introduce students to the professional world that they will soon join.  The challenge is to do this with students whom I do not see, and who live in five different time zones, so I use online tools that require students to share their work with their peers instead of simply submitting it to me."

What Professor Detlefsen’s Students Say: “Professor Detlefsen is consistently well organized and clear in her lectures. She conveys information on complex topics with ease and encourages online discussion of these topics. She is always aware of those of us who are virtual students, both mentioning our "presence" to the class and including us with her style of lecturing. Professor Detlefsen is extremely responsive to student questions both on the discussion boards and via email.”

Bernadette Callery
University of Pittsburgh
Museum Archives, Summer 2008

Best Practices: "One practice that encouraged student participation in the course was the discussion board to which they could contribute notices of news items, events or publications relating to museum archives. Placing the class readings dealing with the documentation of circumstances of acquisition against the background of increasing public debate over the ownership of objects in museums really highlighted the value of museum archives. This use of the discussion board both demonstrated the immediacy of the subject and provided opportunities for students to initiate discussion on relevant topics."

What Professor Callery’s students say: “Bernadette's courses were extremely well designed, covering all aspects of the profession and presenting multiple points of view. The assignments were well rounded, the grading process fair and clear, and the marks distributed in a timely fashion.”

Meredith Farkas
San Jose State University
Web 2.0 and Social Networking Tools, Fall 2008

Best Practices: "I have a very constructivist view of teaching and learning, which is reflected in my assignments and use of social software tools (particularly Drupal) to put student discussion at the forefront of the class. The focus of the class isn't on me, but on my students' reflections about what they're learning and the conversations that come from sharing those reflections. While the class includes traditional elements like video lectures, readings and instructor announcements, the first thing students see when they enter the classroom is their own blog posts, because what they're learning and what they think about it is most important. I also ask them to find additional resources on the topics covered each week and share them with the class so that they develop good inquiry skills and recognize that the resources I have created or collected for the class are not the final word on any topic. I believe strongly that the more students own the conversation, guide the class, and come to their own conclusions about things, the better their learning experience will be."

What Professor Farkas’s students say: “I have to say that Meredith really thought out this course. From everything to providing us with all of the assignments in advance to participating in our blog discussions to providing articles and a textbook that I plan to keep on my bookshelf for many years. She also thought of the small details which made the class so much of a fantastic experience.”

Terrence Bennett
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Business Information, Fall 2008

Best Practices: "I believe that one of the best ways to foster real learning is to minimize my role as the subject expert, and to create an environment in which we can learn from one another as we all explore the complex and constantly changing subject of business information. One way to accomplish this is to include a component in our weekly assignments that requires meaningful participation in the online discussion forum. A typical example would be to have each student find a recent article about teaching financial literacy to a targeted population. By having everyone post a full citation, article summary, and search strategy – and then to comment on each other’s posting – we’ve created an excellent annotated bibliography, which inevitably includes information sources and search techniques that are a revelation to me. Our live synchronous class sessions also make it very easy to bring in experts in that week’s subject. We’ve had guests from such far-flung places as Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and Singapore – a feat that we’d be unlikely to accomplish in a traditional face-to-face classroom. This allows my students to gain multiple perspectives from actual practitioners in corporate and academic environments, rather than limiting our focus to only my experiences."

What Professor Bennett’s students say: “The 20 or so odd students enrolled in this course are all engaged -- and I think it's largely due to Terry, whether it's through polling the class through LEEP's voting tool to find out each student's competency with a database or through demonstrating how to navigate a difficult to navigate database through a Web Huddle section, he goes out of his way to share his expertise as a practicing business and economics librarian.”

Mary Kay Biagini
University of Pittsburgh
Resources for Young Adults, Spring 2008

What Professor Biagini’s students say: “Throughout the course, Dr. Biagini was very accessible, involved, positive, supportive, and full of helpful knowledge. With her strategies and style, Dr. Biagini has taken online education to a whole new level. I enjoyed her and the course very much and regretted seeing it end. I could not imagine a more fantastic professor than Dr. Mary Kay Biagini.”

“Her teaching style was to provide the curriculum and activities and point us in the right direction, but then to allow discussions to go where they may (as long as they were relevant to the class). She was always available and happy to answer questions. Her passion for working with young adults came across in many ways throughout the course, and it was clear that she keeps up with trends in the field.”