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Celis and McKnight Awarded Technology Prize

By Alana Beltzer
May 6, 2011

From left, Bill Celis, Susan Metros and Anne McKnight. Photo by Ziva Santop.

From left, Bill Celis, Susan Metros and Anne McKnight. Photo by Ziva Santop.

Bill Celis, associate professor of journalism at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, and Anne McKnight, assistant professor of East Asian languages and literatures and comparative literature in USC Dornsife, were awarded the Provost’s Prize for Teaching With Technology at the fifth annual Teaching With Technology conference, held May 3 at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center.

More than 150 faculty, staff and students from 24 schools and departments attended this year’s conference.

Every year, two awards of $5,000 are granted to faculty members who make innovative use of technology in their teaching.

Susan Metros, associate vice provost and associate chief information officer for Technology-Enhanced Learning, presented this year’s awards.

"President Nikias established the prize when he was provost to foster an environment of experimentation and collaboration, one in which faculty members are encouraged to deploy new technologies in teaching and are recognized for their vision," Metros said.

Celis, who has used technology in his teaching over the last decade, was honored for innovative tech use in two advanced journalism courses, “Reporting Urban Affairs” and “Specialized Reporting: Education, Youth and Learning.”

Students in these courses used iPads to produce multimedia reports from start to finish. They created reports directly on the portable device, using the iPad’s voice-over and photo-editing capabilities. Students in Celis’ “Reporting Urban Affairs” course also used cell phones to file reports.

In past years, Celis has incorporated technology into his teaching by implementing course blogs and having students produce multimedia research projects to complement their traditional research papers.

McKnight was recognized for using an innovative blend of high-tech gadgets, such as cell phones and blogging software, and low-tech gardening tools to teach students about the politics of food supply and new media.

In conjunction with the USC Office of Sustainability and the nonprofit organization Urban Farming, students in McKnight’s “Modernology” course planted a community garden to explore the role of technology in growing food in an urban setting.

Students documented the garden’s progress on a course blog which contains information on such topics as sustainable food and food activism, as well as photos of the vegetables harvested by the students.

The Teaching With Technology conference began in 2007 as a forum for USC faculty to share with colleagues across the university how the innovative use of technology enhances their teaching.

The theme for this year’s event was the connected mind. It addressed three trends in new media: participatory media and user-generated content, research about the role of the brain in learning, and the use of social networking for teaching and learning.

“One of the wonderful outcomes of the conference has been its effectiveness in promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and collegiality across the schools and units at USC,” Metros said.

The conference was co-sponsored by several USC organizations, including the USC Brain and Creativity Institute, the USC Center for Excellence in Teaching, the USC Institute for Multimedia Literacy, USC Libraries, the USC Project New Media Literacies group, the USC Rossier School of Education and USC Information Technology Services’ Technology-Enhanced Learning group.

Read more about Anne McKnight's Fall 2010 "Modernology" course.