University teaching and learning has never been more innovative than it is now, according to Jack Carroll, a distinguished professor at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST). A new book that he edited describes a set of innovative teaching practices from IST faculty members that challenge assumptions and push beyond standard practices at the individual faculty and classroom level.
“The opportunity and the need for innovation in teaching and learning are together keenest in information technology itself,” Carroll said. “Each wave of disciplinary innovation is assimilated into technology tools and infrastructures for teaching new and emerging concepts and techniques.”
“Innovative Practices in Teaching Information Sciences and Technology,” published by Springer, is now available in both eBook and hardcover formats. Each chapter is a personal essay describing practices, implemented by one or two faculty members, which focus on innovation leveraging what students know, think about and do to create a richer learning experience. Those “experience reports” are based on specific pedagogical challenges that evoked specific new approaches and techniques. The chapters in the book include “The Analytic Decision Game” by Jake Graham, “Hungry Wolves, Creepy Sheepies: The Gamification of the Programmer’s Classroom” by David T. Reitter, and “Teaching and Learning in Technical IT Courses” by David R. Mudgett.
“Taken as a set, this book is a case study of teaching innovation as a part of faculty culture,” Carroll said.. “The chapters in this book, taken together, embody this option and provide a partial model to faculties for reflecting on and refining their own collective culture of teaching innovation.”
Carroll, who has a doctorate in experimental psychology from Columbia University, is co-director (with Mary Beth Rosson) of the College of IST's Laboratory for Computer Supported Collaboration and Learning. He also is the director of Penn State's Center for Human-Computer Interaction, and has courtesy appointments as professor of computer science and engineering, instructional systems and psychology. He has done research on instructional design since the early 1980s and has published two prior books on instructional design ("The Nurnberg Funnel” and “Minimalism Beyond the Nurnberg Funnel,” both MIT Press), as well as many papers on the subject.