The Exemplary Course Project competition has been described as “more of a celebration of effective use of technology in TTU courses” than an actual competition.
This year’s Exemplary Course Project featured six classes designed by TTU professors using the Web CT course management system, which allows students to track and turn in assignments online and chat in discussion groups with classmates and instructors.
Wiant’s winning course, which is offered through the TTU College of Business Distance MBA program, features weekly changing graphic elements and updates that encourage student interaction.
“His utilization of student WebPages and discussions makes the course particularly personable and friendly for the distance students who rarely get the opportunity to meet their professors and fellow students in person,” said Jessica Daniels, TTU’s Distance MBA production manager.
Lauren Neal of TTU’s Institute for Technological Scholarship agreed. “He continuously keeps the students involved in the course, and he himself stays involved as well, by posting new information each week concerning what the class will need to do that week in terms of reading, study exercises, assignments, assessment and discussions,” she said.
Wiant’s course also includes games for self-assessment and learning, Neal continued. “His course uses many glossary terms, so he set up different types of games — like crossword puzzles, pick-a-letter and flash cards — to help the students study the terms,” she said. “This helps students study and makes it fun by making learning part of a game.”
Other online course content includes PowerPoint presentations and notes, handouts, videos and transcripts, to make sure students whose technology doesn’t allow them to view the video can still access the basic information it provides.
Because the quality of many online courses at TTU is award-worthy, this year’s decision was particularly difficult, Neal said.
“We’d like to request that each of the six campus nominees also allow us to nominate them for the national Web CT Exemplary Course Project,” she said.
In addition to Wiant, this year’s nominees were Stephanie Thompson, English; Scott Christen, speech; Larry Goolsby, basic engineering; Sandi J. Smith, curriculum and instruction; and Michael Allen, math.
“We hope to have even more nominees for next year’s Exemplary Course Project, because there are so many professors on this campus using Web CT technology to create other great courses,” Neal said. “It’s an incredible academic achievement for both the professors and the university.”