Instructional Innovation Fellowship: Looking Ahead to 2023

Group of Instructors seated around a table , and one presenting at a podium.

As we get ready for the Spring 2023 semester here at IDEAS, we are reflecting on last year’s programs. In this blog, we look back at the Instructional Innovation Fellowship (IIF) launched in Fall 2022, and the various projects that fellows implemented in their classrooms to engage students in creative ways and promote learning. We also highlight what is coming up in the Spring 2023 semester. 

The IIF initiative brings together UMass instructors to share and exchange ideas on innovative teaching approaches. We kicked off the IIF fellowship at the beginning of November last year with 10 fellows  who are instructors in various departments on campus. Some of the fellows presented their innovative teaching strategies based on their classroom experiences. Check out this blog to learn how Colleen Chase facilitates student to student interaction through video and audio discussions using FlipSusan Boyer uses ScreenToGif to create and share “how to” short and quick videos with students, or how Torrey Trust implements alternative assessments through  “ungrading” to encourage students to focus more on learning rather than worry about the grade. Also check out this blog, to see how Tiarra Copper facilitates student collaboration and self-management through Moodle Wikis, and Kelsey Whipple co-creates lasting artifacts with her students though Zines and podcasts.

Kelsey Whipple presenting on one of the projects she co-created with her students
Colleen Chase showing how she engages her students using Learning Catalytics

Big Takeaways from Fall 2022

What we learned from the fellows is that engaging students in innovative ways takes time, commitment, creativity and an openness to explore the effective use of educational technology. Being clear about course objectives and what students should learn helps in making decisions on the best strategy to adopt for content creation, sharing, and assessment. While engaging students may seem daunting, the consistent message we hear from the fellows is that it’s all worth it, and small changes can have a big impact.

What’s coming up in Spring 2023

This Spring, the Innovation fellows will continue with in-person meetings to continue learning from each other. There is a broad range of topics that will be covered including presentations on ChatGPT, digital storytelling, and using social media for engagement. Fellows will continue to share with the wider university community to promote knowledge exchange and student learning. 

The first meeting  for the semester will be on February 15. For updates, visit our blog posts at the Instruct @ UMass blog.