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Photo of Wade Maki. Teaching is one of the pillars of UNCG’s historical excellence. Students are drawn to UNCG and its outstanding, creative faculty, knowing how much they will learn.

The Office of the Provost is soliciting cross/multi/interdisciplinary research and creative activity proposals tied to the thematic areas of focus in the UNCG strategic plan: health and wellbeing, vibrant communities, and global connections. Faculty are being asked to review those three themes in the University Plan and consider responding to one of the three RFPs available to provide seed funding for teaching innovations or research tied to the Strategic Plan.

Campus Weekly regularly includes pieces about great research – and in the coming weeks we’ll highlight a sampling of innovations in teaching around campus over the past year.

One of those innovations has been developed by Wade Maki, senior lecturer in Philosophy who teaches courses such as Business Ethics and The Meaning of Life. The problem he tackled: large courses where students attend three times a week in a traditional lecture model, a scenario in which some students become disengaged and also find it difficult to attend every class. He changed this by creating a “flipped class,” or turning lectures into video content, which students would watch on their own time. Classroom time could then be used for team-based learning (TBL) activities, solving problems or taking a quiz. One value of this model according to Maki is that, for any course with a significant lecture component, “it frees up class time for more active learning while providing the content and incentive for students to complete it in advance.”

Because the lectures were available to all students at any time, they did not need to be delivered in class, and classes were then scheduled only once a week, but with 30 students in each class rather than 60. For this particular course, it allowed enrollment to increase to 90, but with more active class time for each student. With his flipped “Ethical Issues in Business,” the response was positive. Maki reported, “Many students are tired of lectures and PowerPoint slides and really appreciate the active nature of class. The ability to get students in smaller groups even for just an hour a week opens up so many options for engaging active learning techniques.”

In this model, students must take responsibility for their education – it requires active participation throughout. As Maki said, “She who does the work does the learning.”

All proposals by faculty are due by December 9, 2016; Learn more at http://research.uncg.edu/seeking-proposals-strategic-seed-grants/.

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