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Bush Faculty Development Committee

Augustana College
Sioux Falls, SD

Bush Faculty Development Grant
March 1999 - 2002

Abstracts of Projects Awarded in April 2000


Dr. Mary Brendtro


The focus of this project is to incorporate a web-based instructional component into a graduate course in nursing - NURS 630: Economics and Policy in Health Care. Spring semester, 2001 will be only the second time this graduate course has been offered and the first time it will be offered to students at a distant site. Distance education in the Master's in Nursing program to date has been accomplished largely through the use of PictureTel (video conferencing) technology. The intent of this project is to create a web-based course enhancement that will complement the teaching/learning process that occurs through use of PictureTel.

This project targets Vector 3: Teaching and Technology. The course - Economics and Policy in Health Care - examines health policy from both a process and content perspective and explores the impact of economics on health policy development. Policy frameworks are examined and critiqued, the stages of the policy process explored, and specific health policy issues analyzed. A field experience provides the opportunity to develop basic skill in health policy analysis. Guidelines for this course component suggest that, in addition to seeking information about a selected health policy issue from key informants and print materials, students are also expected to use the Internet as a key resource for current policy information.

The first time NURS 630 was taught a rudimentary course enhancement, using Nicenet's Internet Classroom Assistant (ICA), was developed and an in-class orientation session provided. The Link Sharing feature (links to policy sites) proved especially useful to students as they sought information about a selected health policy issue. Other features of ICA used in the course included Conferencing (for asynchronous threaded discussions concerning policy issues) and Personal Messaging (an e-mail system). Course evaluations indicated that, even though this software has its limitations, students found it to be a helpful tool to facilitate their learning and gained increased confidence in their ability to use the Internet as a resource for learning. Additionally, student responses in the conferencing component provided evidence of critical thinking concerning health policy. Therefore, the intent is to retain the web-based component of the course, but to redesign it using more sophisticated courseware (such as Web CT or another program) which has the capability for uploading files and real-time conferencing in addition to the features available in ICA.

The expected outcomes of the project are:

    • A courseware package which has the desired capabilities for web-based course enhancement will be selected.

    • Sufficient expertise in using the courseware to redesign the web-based course enhancement component NURS 630 will be acquired.

    • The course syllabus and other course components will be redesigned and placed on the Internet using the courseware selected.

    • A module to assist students to effectively locate, evaluate and use information from the Internet will be designed.

    • The course - with a newly-designed web-based course enhancement component - will be taught spring semester 2001.

    • Evaluation of the web-based course enhancement component will provide evidence of its effectiveness in facilitating student learning.

The Writing Center Bush Mini-grant Summer 2000

Nancy Dickinson and Joan Benz


The collaborators on this grant, Joan Benz, social work/sociology/psychology major and writing tutor, and Nancy Dickinson, director of the Writing Center are currently testing the possibilities for distance tutoring. The Bush Grant allows for modification and revision of the process during summer 2000 in order to expand distance tutoring in Fall 2000. The designated distance tutor, Joan will coordinate future tutor training sessions and refine and revise the technical aspects of delivery. Nancy will serve as advisor and will coordinate all administrative aspects of the project.

This project targets Vector 3, Teaching and Technology, Vector 4, Open Windows. By means of electronic mail, fax, and/or teleconference, the Writing Center will provide opportunities for tutees that cannot make use of the on-campus open hours. Students geographically isolated at the distance learning center (Aberdeen), those who commute, or who for any number of reasons cannot be on campus will have the opportunity to receive a tutoring service available to residential students. To our knowledge, this will be the first distance tutoring project on our campus. Additionally, a fax machine dedicated for distance tutoring will be purchased and installed.

The project's outcome will be an improved process for distance tutoring from the Writing Center and a training session, "Technology and Tutoring," for writing tutors to practice sending, receiving and commenting on drafts delivered electronically.

Bush Course Enhancement Project Grant Proposal for Chemistry 120 (general chemistry)

Jetty Duffy-Matzner and Ann Smith

Once a student can be convinced that material has relevance to their lives, the learning process can begin. However, the rate at which our knowledge and understanding of the world increases means it is impossible for students to learn everything they need to know during their school years. In addition to generating enthusiasm for chemistry, we hope to help students learn how they can keep learning throughout their lives. This proposal targets two vectors of the original Bush grant: Vector 1 –diversified teaching methods and Vector 3 – development of new ways to use technology in teaching. Chemistry 120 is traditionally taught as a 3 hour lecture course with 2 hours of one laboratory exercise every week. This proposal exchanges some of these laboratory experiences with deliberate exercises using available literature resources and more advanced technology. Laboratory experiences are vital to the instruction of a basic science course; these out-of-lab exercises will be designed to enhance and promote the student's understanding of laboratory work that will be performed. If these activities achieve the desired outcomes, they may be incorporated into the standard Chem 120 curriculum. It is expected that four out-of-lab exercises will be developed jointly between Ann Smith and Jetty Duffy-Matzner with Sharon Gray assisting as needed. The exercises will be developed during Spring and Summer 2000. The exercises will be implemented during the Fall 2000 semester starting in mid October. The exercises will be:

    Exercise 1 – An Introduction to Literature Searches and Chemical History Timelines.
    Exercise 2 – Chemistry in the News
    Exercise 3 – Chemistry as a Concerned Citizen
    Exercise 4 – A Three Dimensional View of Chemistry

Jetty Duffy-Matzner, Department of Chemistry Ann Smith, Library



In January 2000, Augustana's new theatre opened. In this new facility is a very advanced, computer-operated lighting system. The knowledge needed to run the system at its full potential is new to both Drs. Fuller and Pachoud. They need to learn every aspect of the system in order to train students and to understand and use the system to its fullest potential in productions. This Bush Grant will provide some compensation for time spent training on the new lighting system. The outcome goals are simple: To fully understand everything about the new system in order to pass on the necessary training to theatre students.

Just-In-Time Teaching in Introductory Physics

John Larkin, Department of Physics

This project will explore the impact of just-in-time teaching on the calculus-based introductory physics course. Just-in-time teaching (JiTT) is a teaching strategy based on a strong feedback loop between the students and the instructor. The feedback is established by having students complete a preparatory homework assignment no later than an hour or two before class. The instructor adapts that day's classroom activities based on the results of this homework, allowing more time for problem areas and less time for those concepts that are already well understood. This feedback is not only helpful for the instructor but should also make the students more active participants in classroom activities. Students are forced to think about the day's material prior to class, allowing class time to be more than essentially a reading of the textbook. Students have already struggled with the concepts and will find classroom activities addressing their challenges with those concepts more relevant. The process of requiring homework before each class also encourages students to develop better habits such as studying in shorter sessions each day rather than in one marathon session each week.

This project will use the web-based program WebAssign to allow for the online assignment and grading of daily homework sets. An additional advantage of this software is that it allows a unique homework set to be generated for each student. These individualized problem sets will encourage student-to-student collaboration on the homework to focus on a discussion of the concepts (a positive form of collaboration) rather than just the numerical answers (a negative form of collaboration). The computer-based grading will allow students to have immediate feedback, and if desired, multiple attempts at solving the problem. Student learning is enhanced by such prompt feedback.

The use of JiTT will allow for more class time to be devoted to active learning designed to address specific problem areas rather than the more traditional passive lecturing. The expected outcome is that students will have a better understanding of the key concepts of Newtonian mechanics. This outcome will be evaluated quantitatively through a diagnostic test used extensively by the physics education research community. More qualitative assessment will be based on surveys of student attitudes and perception of the effectiveness of the JiTT approach.

Reynold Nesiba

Summer financial support ($500) from the Bush committee will allow Maggie Goodwin, a junior economics major, to collaborate with me in writing several chapters of a college textbook. The book is authored by Maureen Burton, Ray Lombra, and Reynold Nesiba for South-Western College and is titled The Evolution of Financial Markets and Institutions in a Global Economy. Additional compensation of $300 will be provided to Ms. Goodwin by South-Western College Publishing. This project is innovative in that it presents a rare opportunity for a student at Augustana College to assist in the preparation of a college textbook for publication in her major field.

Biology 200 with a Twist of Lit

Valerie Olness and Ann Smith

The focus of Biology 200 is using the environmental/ecosystem awareness as the vehicle to teach the necessary science concepts--but environmental awareness for many of the students who take this class is limited to their own experiences and sadly influenced by the popular media. Currently students in Biology 200 are required to write a research paper on some life science-related, global issue that requires investigating conflicting views. It is clear from the process and products that students need more experience in identifying the issues, analyzing viewpoints, and synthesizing a conclusion from available resources. Targeting Vector 1, we propose to work collaboratively to develop a series of structured discussion and writing activities introducing the skills and methodologies for identifying valid scientific topics and selecting and analyzing appropriate literature. Discussion topics and writing assignments will include:

    1. Science vs pseudo-science -- using critical thinking skills to discern a valid scientific issue from an urban myth.
    2. Choosing a valid topic and formulating a thesis statement
    3. Identifying viewpoints and supporting arguments
    4. Creating an annotated bibliography
    5. Final Research Paper

Dr. Valerie Olness, Biology and Science Education
Ms. Ann Smith, Electronic Resources Librarian