Chemistry Project Awarded Educational Innovation Funding

Funding has been awarded for 21 projects that continue to advance UW’s commitment to Educational Innovation.

The Department of Chemistry submitted several proposals, and “Video Course Development for Large Lecture Chemistry Courses,” submitted by Senior Instructional Specialist Jim Maynard, was one of the projects selected for funding.

“This funding will enable us to explore new ways to use video in our General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry lecture courses,” says Department Chair Jim Weisshaar. “We thank Jim for his leadership in this venture.”

Nearly 80 pre-proposals for funding were originally submitted from 53 departments and 14 schools, colleges and units.

Those that were chosen represent a variety of topics including virtual anatomy instruction, virtual patient advocacy, flipping classrooms and blended learning, re-thinking cross department collaboration, interprofessional education, virtual physics, online professional masters, online chemistry labs, web math, interdisciplinary approach to teaching Jewish culture and more.

"We were very pleased with the level of interest across the campus,” says Chris Olsen, interim vice provost for teaching and learning. “And we were thrilled to be able to ultimately fund 21 proposals. These span a wealth of different forms of innovations, some strongly technology focused and some not.  In total, students and instructors will have opportunities to experiment together with an intriguing set of new approaches to teaching and learning."

The projects are part of Educational Innovation, a campus-wide initiative to create innovative approaches to education and research and set the university on the path to greater self-sufficiency. Over the past year, a greater emphasis has been placed on looking at new ways to innovate and to encourage an environment where people are always thinking of different and better ways to do things.

Some of those accomplishments can be seen on the EI web site, edinnovation.wisc.edu, which also provides resources for how to implement innovation.

Recently, six faculty members were awarded EI funds designed to provide them the opportunity to extend their sabbatical plans to further an educational innovation project.

In February, UW announced the launch of four pilot courses as part of a new delivery system in higher education known as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of them are scheduled to begin this fall, with the others to follow.

All of the EI projects were chosen based on their inventiveness, ability to reach more learners and develop innovative programs to generate new resources or savings.

“We’re pleased to continue the momentum that has been building for Educational Innovation by supporting these 21 competitively selected projects,” says Provost Paul M. DeLuca Jr. “This is a wonderful example of the Wisconsin Idea at work and will greatly benefit our students, whether on our campus or taking part in one of the online courses.”