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We Have the Technology

College chemist Chi Mak and John Walsh of the USC Davis School take home teaching awards at USC’s second tech-centric conference.

We Have the Technology

Chi Mak, professor of chemistry in USC College, and John Walsh, associate professor in the USC Davis School of Gerontology, were awarded the Provost’s Prize for Teaching With Technology at the Teaching With Technology Conference, held May 6 at Davidson Executive Conference Center.

The prize honors faculty by recognizing outstanding achievements in teaching through the incorporation of technology into courses and curricula.

Elizabeth Garrett, vice president for academic planning and budget, presented this year’s prize, which “was designed to support an environment of experimentation and collaboration,” she said.

Mak was recognized for implementing a system of online computer-aided instruction that uses a screen- and voice-capturing program to record lectures and step-by-step guides that show students how to solve complex chemistry problems. He shared his prize with Bruno Herreros, the chemistry department’s director of instructional computing, to acknowledge the great support he received from Herreros.

Walsh, also a faculty member of the USC Neuroscience Graduate Program housed in the College, was acknowledged for creating an online tool that enables instructors to easily upload course content such as images, text, narration, animations and video clips into a prefabricated template.

Provost C. L. Max Nikias established the Teaching With Technology Conference last year to create a forum for USC faculty members to share innovative uses of technology in teaching and learning with their colleagues and the larger university community.

This year’s conference drew a crowd of 240 faculty, staff and students from across disciplines — nearly doubling last year’s attendance.

The conference’s program emphasized new teaching practices, research methodologies and learning styles that have emerged in response to mobile technologies.

The interactive sessions, panels and demonstrations held throughout the day covered a broad range of topics — from urban tomography, clickers and distance learning to digital documentaries, virtual worlds and the pros and cons of constant connection from a student perspective.

Highlights included overviews of work funded by the provost’s seed grants. Past recipients of these grants demonstrated an interactive, non-linear multimedia teaching tool for developing online courses in science and a virtual human patient named Justina who interacts with students to help them develop clinical interviewing skills.

Susan Metros, associate vice provost and deputy chief information officer of technology enhanced learning, said, “The innovative ways in which our faculty are incorporating technology in their teaching represents a significant marker in the university’s progress toward fulfilling its goal of harnessing technology to create a learner-centered environment both on campus and at a distance.”

The conference was organized by Information Technology Services, the Technology Enhanced Learning Faculty Advisory Committee and the USC Office of Continuing Education and Summer Programs.

Sponsors included the Office of the Provost, the Academic Senate, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and the USC Gould School of Law.