To innovate is to introduce something new or change something that is established. Not all new things are good, but when educators innovate to increase student engagement, facilitate the accomplishment of learning objectives, and improve student learning, these are innovations to celebrate!
Sara Pisarchick - Assitant Professor/Integrative Media
Sara’s innovations came in the form of revised assignments based on her review of the Wilkes Mission, Vision, and Values. She feels that if each faculty member tweaks just one lesson to meet one of the objectives found in our mission, vision, and values, we can ensure the individualized educational experience Wilkes strives to provide; Sara believes that by closely aligning course objectives with the mission, vision, and values of the university, we can make a real difference in individual student lives.
In IM 201, Integrative Media Foundations II, Sara changed an assignment that used to ask students to represent a historical event using expressive typography to an assignment to create an expressive typography poster based on “The History of You.” This assignment encourages students to research and embrace the diverse backgrounds of their family linage and appreciate those of the other students in the class. This change provides students with a more personal learning experience and underscores Wilkes University’s celebration of and openness to cultural diversity. Students in IM 201 also serve the Wilkes community each semester by designing Public Service Announcement posters that hang in the halls of Breiseth upon completion. Topics include: STD awareness, recycling, bone health, drinking and driving, and obesity. Visit Breiseth Hall to check them out in November when they’ll be hanging outside labs 020 and 018, as well as all along the first floor hallways.
In IM 302, Principles of Interactivity, Sara turned a hypothetical service project into a reality. In the fall of 2009, she searched for real non-profit organizations that needed new web sites. Students were paired into design teams and worked with clients in the community to create live web sites. Some of the organizations included: The Women’s center of Bloomsburg, The Children’s Museum of Bloomsburg, and Back Mountain Recreation. To see an example of the wonderful work our students have done, visit: www.backmountainrec.com/
Though Sara enhances every one of her courses with a companion website where students have in-depth online discussions and complete writing assignments, she recognizes that not all great innovations require technology.
Help Pick Your Peer
Each month a faculty member will be featured on the Teaching Commons website. So please check back each month to keep up with the innovations of your peers. If you would like to be featured, or would like to recommend a colleague, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org