Each year, ASSETT awards the Excellence in Teaching with Technology Award to a faculty member who has been nominated by their peers and students for their commitment to teaching with technology. The 2018 recipient, Dr. Janet Casagrand (IPHY), was recognized for her ongoing pursuit of incorporating technology into the classroom and for her tireless work to improve student learning.
Janet has participated in a number of professional development opportunities including ASSETT’s Hybrid Course Design workshops and Flipped Classroom workshop, and she presented her work at the Teaching with Technology Symposium. She applies the knowledge gained through these professional development activities at the department level and at the campus level. She is the Education Specialist for the Department of Integrated Physiology, where she promotes digital learning through applications like D2L, Canvas, and screencasting. She also serves on a number of campus committees where she advocates for the use of academic technologies.
Janet’s approach to teaching is “very much student-centered” and reflects her desire to continually improve. Through her involvement with a variety of faculty development groups, she “learned that there are better ways to teach and that focusing more on student learning as opposed to teaching, per se, is a much more effective way to help students learn.” She realizes that with teaching, one size does not fit all. She says that her approach to choosing any particular tool “depends on the level of the course and what the need is... what can best assist me in getting students to where I’d like them to get.”The first technology that she adopted was iClickers. From there, she says her interest in trying new technologies “sort of snowballed.” Janet doesn't believe in using technology for the sake of simply using it. She credits her scientific background with assessing the efficacy of each tool by doing a pre- and post-assessment. She says that, if she determines that the technology “is not accomplishing the goal then [she] would either rethink it, or try something else.”
All of this work takes a lot of time, but it is definitely worth the effort. Janet says she is willing to do whatever she can to be the most effective teacher that she can be, which and that “sometimes means going above and beyond what might be expected.” Her enthusiasm is infectious, as reflected in her nomination letter: “[Janet’s] dedication and leadership in the use of teaching technologies has enriched not only her own classes, but also those of many others.” Her innovative practices, and leadership have inspired others to pursue student success through the incorporation of technology. If you have the pleasure of talking to Janet, please join us in congratulating her for all of her hard work and effort and for receiving the 2018 ASSETT Excellence in Teaching with Technology Award!