Professor Tammi Redd, faculty member in the Anisfield School of Business and Director of the Faculty Resource Center, leverages technology to enhance student engagement, confidence, and access to content. As the instructor of several online courses, Professor Redd uses the full range of available technologies to bring the content to life and build connections with the students. Moreover, Professor Redd has experienced the transition of moving a face-to-face course, in her case Social Entrepreneurship, to an online format. One of the biggest challenges she faced was figuring out how certain assignments from the traditional course translate to an online setting. However, challenges also provide opportunities. She says, “Online discussion boards, if set up properly, can lead to much more meaningful conversations than on the spot questions in the classroom.” Because students have time to think about and craft their ideas in an online forum, their responses tend to be more thoughtful, according to Professor Redd. Also, through these platforms Professor Redd is able to elicit participation from students who are too shy to raise their hands in class.
Professor Redd is an early adopter of Canvas, having used it as her course LMS during the Winter session and now in this Spring semester. Her Canvas pages are full of embedded videos, case studies, web links, and other multimedia elements. She is very excited about the usability, organization, and features of our new LMS. To help students become familiar with the platform, one of her first assignments is to ask students to create their profile in Canvas and download the mobile app. She appreciates how students can not only respond to each other in the Discussions section but also click “like” for an entry. She is also an active user of Announcements in Canvas, which help students stay aware of upcoming assignments and important class events. In preparation for the Winter semester, Professor Redd built her courses in Canvas from scratch in order to experience all the possibilities of the platform.
Professor Redd has some good advice for faculty members who are ready to incorporate more technology into their teaching. She says, “Don’t be intimidated by a new technology. Just go ahead and try it. With something like Canvas, sit down and literally click on every button and see what it does. If you make a mistake, it can always be fixed.”