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Time and curiosity make for successful IMPACT classes

There are challenges to becoming a great teacher, but none of them insurmountable. For example, as a teacher, you may want to ensure your students are applying what they learn in class, but you don’t know how to implement it.

Students using technology in the classroom as the professor facilitates the interactive learning process.

A solution could be Purdue’s IMPACT program. The IMPACT program (Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation) is a University-wide initiative which brings instructors together to redesign foundational courses to make them more student-centered.

The latest OIRAE briefing from the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment and Effectiveness outlines the characteristics and habits of faculty who have successfully utilized IMPACT in transforming a course.

The key takeaway: Faculty who care enough to do their best and are interested in continuous improvement are the most likely to be successful in the classroom. Other characteristics that the study identified were mutual respect, ability to self-reflect, humility and a sense of obligation to provide a strong learning experience.

A public forum on the report will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, in Knoy Hall, Room B019. 

The study investigators also looked at what skills faculty members gained or strengthened after working with IMPACT. One of the most important was the ability to identify learning outcomes and periodically gauge how well students were achieving those outcomes. Other skills included integrating self-testing, encouraging constructive behaviors and engaging students in peer partnerships.

Just as students can learn from one another in a class, Purdue faculty also found the experience of collaborating with their colleagues to be most helpful in course redesign. The ability to interact with their peers to share knowledge, ideas and successes was central to the quality of the course redesign. The hope is that it also creates lasting relationships between colleagues for future collaboration.

Recognition for teaching is an area faculty view as lacking at Purdue, according to the report. As continuous improvement of classroom instruction takes time and effort, faculty members felt that they should be recognized.

The OIRAE recommends that faculty members’ efforts and techniques be documented for new faculty members to use, as well as for use in new active-learning classrooms.

To read December’s briefing or previous OIRAE briefings, visit: http://www.purdue.edu/oirae/briefings.html.

Writer: Kirsten Gibson, technology writer, Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP), 765-494-8190, gibson33@purdue.edu

Last Updated: January 9, 2016