2005 Exemplary Applications Contest Winner
As one of the winners of the 2005 Exemplary Applications Contest, Professor Jim Dean is excited about the direction his teaching has taken since he began using MyCourses.
“I originally became involved with [MyCourses] when I offered a class online. … I quickly saw that I could deliver a range of materials to my students in a way that would transcend the old method, in which I bring a book into the classroom and show them pictures.”
Given these new methods of delivering information to his students, Dean also saw that he could assign projects to his students that would require them to interact with that information in new ways. This prompted the development of what would become an award-winning submission in the 2005 Exemplary Applications Contest.
“[It] is a dictionary project for my British Literature class, with all the specifications and evaluation details mounted on [MyCourses]. … I require that students learn all the features of the… Oxford English Dictionary (OED)—so this project involves research—and then report these features to me in an essay on a selected word whose meanings and history they investigate.”
However, instead of going to the library and leafing through materials that might turn out to be elusive, dauntingly immense, or out of date, Dean has provided the students with a link to the OED on-line via his MyCourses site. Using this link and a criteria chart that students can download from Dean’s site.
"Students have the opportunity to interact with “the etymology function, the date chart, and, most important, the definitions and quotations. They learn about shades of meaning and how a word whose meaning they think they know can change, sometimes drastically, over time. With the help of [MyCourses]… they can know what to emphasize in their fulfillment of the assignment.”
In addition to his award-winning dictionary application, Dean has begun to employ other MyCourses tools, many working in conjunction with one another, that similarly enhance the classroom experience.
“I can include PowerPoint slide lectures, model papers and exams, even stream lectures… I can provide students with models of what their best work should look like based on excellent or superior work from previous classes.”
Besides the benefits to students, Dean has also found that [MyCourses] can be a valuable asset in his own management of time and resources.
“I organize all my courses now from the [MyCourses] Calendar, which keeps us all on task throughout the semester… [MyCourses] gives me the ability to organize material and point to it in useful, productive ways.”
The popularity of MyCourses has been on the rise at UD since its adoption in 2000, and the students themselves are perhaps the most influential group in determining the long-term role of this technology in the classroom.
“I tend to use a variety of teaching styles and resources these days. … MyCourses allows me to communicate with students in a special way. For instance, I can supplement class work with PowerPoint slide shows, which allows students who need time to absorb the material the opportunity to go back over points raised otherwise in class. … Students may not necessarily take advantage of all the features I can provide for them on [MyCourses], but it gives me the ability to organize material and point to it in useful, productive ways.”
Dean is heartened by the expansion of educational opportunities afforded by MyCourses, as well as the faculty support provided by the university, and he foresees a bright future for technology’s place in the classroom.
“All of this opened my eyes to the vast resources we have on this campus to improve instruction and to enrich student learning.”
Return to Faculty Profiles Page
“I tend to use a variety of teaching styles and resources these days. … MyCourses allows me to communicate with students in a special way."
—Professor Jim Dean
|©2006 University of Delaware|