MSU faculty & staff recognized for use of instructional technology

Four outstanding instructors for online and blended courses were selected as recipients of the 2014 MSU AT&T Faculty-Staff Awards in Instructional Technology.

“The AT&T Awards provide a venue for MSU to recognize outstanding faculty and staff whose innovation and creativity inspire others in new ways of using technology in instruction,” said Severin Grabski, lead judge for 2014 AT&T Awards; associate professor in the Department of Accounting & Information Systems, College of Business; and senior faculty advisor to the CIO of MSU.

“I, along with the other judges, was impressed with the quality, innovation, and excitement that MSU faculty and staff are able to infuse in their classes,” Grabski explained.

2014 AT&T Award recipients

The winning innovations and honorable mentions of the 2014 AT&T Faculty-Staff Awards in Instructional Technology are:


Elizabeth Lavolette – LLT 346: Pedagogical Grammar

LLT 346 taught English grammar for pedagogical purposes, focusing on prospective or current teachers of English as a Second Language. The primary content focused on the topics teachers are most likely to encounter when teaching English to children, adolescents, or adults who would be considered beginner­ or intermediate ­level English speakers. The course used a custom programming option, creating its own learning environment using a WordPress website.

Stephen Thomas – ISB 202: Applications of Environmental Organismal Biology

This massive open online course (MOOC) iteration of ISB 202 had three main objectives for students: 1) improve of critical thinking skills, 2) increase science literacy, and 3) raise the understanding of science as a way of knowing and not just as a collection of facts. The ISB 202 MOOC was a collaboration between the College of Arts and Letters, MSU Libraries, and IT Services Learning Design and Technology, as well as graduate students representing an array of disciplines.

Honorable Mention

Heather Ricks – VM 810: Introduction to Food Safety and Professional Management

Formerly a blended course, VM 810 made the transition to fully online in 2013. Concerned with losing the in-person connection to students, the development team set to work brainstorming ways to develop a course that included virtual connections to the tangible campus and provided support for students who may need more help to succeed in a fully online environment.


Eva Kassens-Noor – UP 488: Sustainable and Climate Resilient Cities

The goal for this course was to integrate innovative teaching practices to enhance students’ learning experiences through applied learning and real life learning experiences. UP 488 used a flipped classroom model, in which classroom content like slides and upfront lectures is provided online and in-class time involves frequent interaction with the instructor and peers.

Honorable Mention

Susan P. Convery – ACC 308: Government and Nonprofit Accounting

ACC 308 was taught in a Room for Engaged and Active Learning space in McDonel Hall with much of the lecture-based work done outside of the classroom and class time focused on activities to apply real world accounting skills.


Louise Mead – ZOL 890-601: Evolutionary Biology for Non-Life Scientists

ZOL 890-601 was structured into three four-week modules, assessing beyond students’ individual scientific skills to explore scientific application, collaborative scientific skills, writing and peer-review, and their ability to communicate in ways that are clearly understood by the general public. The course was co-registered with the University of Idaho, with classrooms connected via Google Hangout for group discussions, group presentations, and in-class lab experiences.

Honorable Mention

Joe Grimm – JRN 491: Brand You: Public Relations Topics in Journalism

JRN 491 was a fully online course focusing on the principles of digital career branding using LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. The courses also used digital badging to incentivize the learning experience.

AT&T Awards background

MSU established the AT&T Instructional Technology Awards program in 2005, through a gift from AT&T (then SBC). The award program is administered by the Office of the CIO and IT Services.

Since its inception, 63 instructional technology innovations in MSU courses have received this award.

In the coming academic year, these winners will present their innovations to the public in venues such as the Instructional Technology Brown Bag Seminar Series and the Breakfast Series: Conversations in Online and Blended Pedagogy, hosted by MSU IT Services.