Six Proposals Receive Provost's Innovation in Education Awards

From augmented reality and mass communication technologies to clickbait and computer-aided design, the Office of the Provost’s Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence (ACIE) has announced six proposals that will receive its Innovation in Education Awards and funding for the 2019-20 academic year.

Chaired by Laurie Kirsch, vice provost for faculty affairs, development and diversity, the ACIE was established to advise the provost on the means to encourage instructional development and teaching excellence at Pitt. Its Innovation in Education awards recognize University faculty for projects that aim to enhance teaching at Pitt and advance teaching models overall.

“The awards have enabled the introduction of new approaches to teaching and student learning, such as introducing strategies for inclusive teaching, or using games, simulations or virtual reality to support learning complex concepts,” said Cynthia Golden, director of the University Center for Teaching Center and Learning and a member of the ACIE. “The generous funding from the provost has allowed experimentation with new ideas that make a difference in the student experience.”

2019 Innovation in Education Award winners

Dimitriy Babichenko
Professor of Practice, School of Computing and Information

An Augmented Reality Platform for Clinical Procedure Training
Babichenko and his colleagues and students will develop clinical procedure training using augmented reality to address scenarios for sterile drug compounding, pre-surgery hand-washing, suturing and treatment of surface wounds. The project will include the development and deployment of a simulation authorings system, feedback models, and adaptive user models. Clinical and education experts will contribute to the project, and pharmacy students, medical students and clinical residents will benefit from the learning environment.

Lucas Berenbrok
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy
Elaine Mormer
Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Clinical Education, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Championing Hearing Using Accessible Medication Experts at the Community Pharmacy: An Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Certificate Program for Student Pharmacists
Berenbrok and Mormer plan to develop practitioner training and the first certification program to teach student pharmacists the core competencies needed to safely and effectively assist patients in selecting and using hearing assistance devices that are soon to be sold as an over-the-counter product. The approach is collaborative, with the prospect of the program being used beyond the university. The proposal meets a cutting-edge demand in a broader societal context.

Dawna Duff
Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Science and Disorders, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Instructional Design for Teaching Clinical Skills in a Flipped Classroom
Duff will extend implementation and assessment of an SHRS flipped learning project that incorporates personalized learning structures. The goals are to develop experiential learning activities, including clinical simulations, and to expand implementation of flipped course strategies for clinical courses.

Nicholas Farnan
Lecturer, School of Computing and Information
William Garrison
Lecturer, School of Computing and Information

A Flexible and Scalable Approach to Multidisciplinary Introductory Computer Science
Farnan and Garrison plan to develop a series of introductory computer programming courses that provide students with real-life coding experience in disciplines outside of computer science, such as humanities, natural sciences or systems engineering. Introductory courses will be cross-listed across multiple departments, and labs will be associated with a given discipline or domain. The project aims to increase the number and diversity of students who go on to declare a computer-related major.

Jessica Ghilani
Associate Professor of Communication, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg

#FakeNews: Understanding Journalism, Mass Communication Technologies, and the Rise of Clickbait
Ghilani plans to develop a communication course at the Pitt–Greensburg campus that examines the context for and rise of “fake news.” The approach also includes purchase of a mobile recording studio that students will use to explore the process of creating fake news, in order to increase their awareness of it and participate in detection activities.

Robert Kerestes
Assistant Professor of Electrical and Chemical Engineering, Swanson School of Engineering

Integration of Computer-Aided Design into Electrical Engineering Curriculum using COMSOL Multiphysics
Kerestes and his colleagues plan to implement use of the COMSOL Multiphysics visual simulation technology in multiple courses at the Swanson School of Engineering. In particular, the tool will bring new design opportunities to students studying power systems analysis and solid-state device engineering. They plan to also develop a set of open educational resource videos to train students on how to use the tool in the context of their courses. Visual simulation experience is also a critical component of employment readiness and therefore will benefit students beyond graduation.