Associate Professor Peter Leong and Assistant Professor Dan Hoffman of the College of Education Department of Learning Design and Technology (LTEC) are among nine University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (UHM) faculty members who were selected for the Innovation and Impact Showcase (IIS).
Begun in 2020 by faculty support units across UHM, the IIS celebrates innovative teaching practices through a showcase repository to serve as recognition and inspiration for the university community. Collaborators include the Office of Vice Provost for Academic Excellence, Center for Teaching Excellence, Assessment and Curriculum Support Center, General Education Office, and the COE Technology and Distance Programs (TDP).
“It’s an honor and privilege to be selected for this IIS award,” said Leong. “It means a lot to me because it’s recognition from my peers of my work with 3D virtual worlds and other asynchronous tools to fully engage students in online learning. The pandemic has radically changed the way we work, learn, connect with others… basically every aspect of our daily work, and it’s important that we, as educators, learn, understand, and experiment with different technologies to actively engage our students online.”
Leong’s showcase features his course, Authoring E-Learning Environments: Virtual Reality. He was nominated because of the multiple effective use of technology to support active learning, his creation of 3D virtual spaces for learning, and for leading his students to develop their own educational lessons in virtual learning.
“I would like to acknowledge my previous department chairs, Drs. Curtis Ho and Catherine Fulford, and current chair, Dr. Mike Menchaca, for their support and encouragement of my teaching and research work in 3D virtual worlds and other new, cutting edge tools and technologies,” added Leong. “Mahalo also to my students for always ‘playing’ and experimenting with me in my classes. They have always motivated me to make teaching and learning more engaging and enjoyable.”
Hoffman was selected for a teaching practice he uses in his graduate course, Social and Ethical Issues in Educational Technology. This specific practice asks students to create and review multiple in-depth concept maps throughout the semester. The purpose of the assignments is to help learners organize, visualize, and document their growing understanding of the complex interdisciplinary concepts covered in the course.
“I am amazed by the level of thought and effort the students put into their maps,” Hoffman stated. “They represent remarkably personal expressions of student effort as they wrestle with making sense of the role of technology in education and society. The creative nature of concept mapping allows learners a great deal of freedom to explore what they’re learning. It always surprises me how such powerful learning experiences stem from the humble concept map!”
The goals of the IIS project are to inspire faculty to adapt and adopt innovative teaching practices with high impact; to showcase educational innovations that positively impact student learning; and to communicate widely the educational excellence at our institution. Faculty reviewers from across the Mānoa campus included the COE’s own TDP Director Paul McKimmy, Associate Professor Stephanie Buelow, and Professor Charlotte Frambaugh-Kritzer.
“It is an honor to be a part of the Innovation and Impact Showcase,” Hoffman concluded. “I really love teaching, and I am grateful UH is finding ways to celebrate and value it. I’m also humbled as I know the College of Education is full of outstanding teachers who deserve recognition for their hard work and innovative teaching practices.”