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College of Human Ecology

Spotlight: Ann Murray, a K-State champion of technology

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Ann Murray, associate professor in the School of Family Studies and Human Services, is a champion of learning using technology.

What technology tools do you use?

"I do all of my teaching online for both residential and distance students. I require students to log onto the K-State Online course website for two hours a week in the evening to connect with me and with other students in the chat room and on the message board. Work continues asynchronously throughout the week. For each class period, I give students a 'plan for the night' which gives them a series of learning activities. These activities vary each week and may include:

* individual web searches
* comments on other students' work
* small group discussions
* self-assessment quizzes over the assigned readings
* collaboration on group homework assignments
* question-and-answer sessions with a 'guest speaker' in the chat room, etc."

What are your objectives and impetus for using the technology?

"By teaching online, I can promote more active engagement among the students compared with what I was able to do in the campus classroom."

"My impetus for teaching this way really comes from my academic area, which is child development. The major theories of development and learning are called "constructivist" in that they argue that active engagement is necessary for learning to take place. Though we seem to recognize that children learn best this way, we seem to forget that adults also learn best when they have to use the material rather than just memorize it for a test."

What else would you like to share on how you use technology?

"Teaching online allows me to adopt a new pedagogy that greatly increases the interactions that students can have with me, with the course material, and with their peers in the course. This is because many interactions are occurring simultaneously in contrast to what happens in a traditional classroom where usually only one person holds the floor. It is really the pedagogy and not the technology per se that improves student learning. The technology simply allows me to design and facilitate learning experiences in a much more efficient manner than I could in the classroom."

By the editors of InfoTech Tuesday
For more information, go to: http://www.k-state.edu/infotech/news/tuesday

This article was posted on Wednesday, October 4, 2006, and is filed under College News, Family Studies & Human Services.