Oct 31 2006

Innovation in the Classroom Deserves to be Recognized and Honored

Innovation is flourishing when it comes to leveraging IT to support teaching and learning on campus.

If experience is the best teacher, students at Purdue University, Babson College and Dyersburg State Community College are very fortunate, indeed. All three institutions have IT leaders who have improved not only the computing environments at their institutions, but the learning milieu as well, by deploying technology that engages students and offers real-world examples of problem solving and innovation.

That's why CDW•G's Ed Tech is thrilled to announce the recipients of our first IT Leadership Awards in the Pedagogy & IT Practice category. (See “IT Innovators ” on page 19.) Last November, we asked our readers to nominate their institution and explain how their school is leveraging technology tools to improve student service and educational outcomes. Based on the large number of entries, it became apparent that innovation is alive and well on campus today. To accommodate all the entries, we divided them into three categories: public institution, private institution and community college.

Honoring Innovation

John Campbell, associate vice president, Department of IT Teaching and Learning Technologies at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., receives our public institution Pedagogy & IT Practice award. Purdue developed a unique system that empowers students to access applications anytime, from anywhere – on notebook PCs, from wireless-enabled computers on campus, from homes or from dorm rooms – without having to be on campus or wait in line at a computer lab. The remote access system has been a huge hit. During 2004, nearly a quarter of a million sessions were logged using the application.

The private institution Pedagogy & IT Practice award goes to Stephen Laster, director of the Curriculum Innovation and Technology Group at Babson College, in Babson Park, Mass. Babson created a blended learning model that includes distance learning and face-to-face instruction. One such program, the college's Fast Track MBA, is taught 60 percent online and 40 percent face to face. The curriculum incorporates case studies, in-person and Web-based discussions, and fieldwork to promote entrepreneurial leadership in a changing global environment.

Bob Phillips, dean of the Business & Technology Division at Dyersburg State Community College, in Dyersburg, Tenn., receives our award for community colleges. He developed a Web-based system for conducting tech prep articulation with 15 local high schools. The site provides a direct link on a 24 x 7 basis for students to earn college credit or advanced placement by completing competency exams in 21 subjects. Since its launch, the site has served more than 850 high school students.

All Pedagogy & IT Practice award entries were judged by a panel from Duke University. Without the assistance of the Duke University judges, these awards would not have been possible. They volunteered their time to review all the entries and chose the outstanding one in each category.

Ed Tech extends an immense thank you to judges Lynne O'Brien, Duke's director of Academic Technology & Instructional Services; Amy Kenyon Campbell, assistant director and head of Faculty Services; and Samantha Earp, head of Foreign Languages Instructional Technology Support.

Although the contributions of the award recipients to their higher education learning environments are immeasurable, CDW•G is pleased to recognize their efforts with a $2,000 CDW•G gift certificate for each institution. We hope this expresses our appreciation of their innovative spirit and creativity.

Congratulations to all, and thank you, readers, for your contributions. You have inspired us, and, more importantly, you've inspired your students. We look forward to sharing your stories in next year's contest.

Chris Rother is group vice president, CDW Government Inc., a leading technology provider to government and education based in Vernon Hills, Ill.