Tue. Apr 23rd, 2019

Students and professors put ‘Ideas to Action’

Is it possible for instructors to learn while teaching students?  Professors involved in the Lights, Camera, Ideas to Action would likely say yes.  The event was a presentation of five classes who sharpened their critical thinking skills at University of Louisville through a 10-year initiative, Ideas to Action, i2a.

By Paige Quiggins

Is it possible for instructors to learn while teaching students?  Professors involved in the Lights, Camera, Ideas to Action would likely say yes.  The event was a presentation of five classes who sharpened their critical thinking skills at University of Louisville through a 10-year initiative, Ideas to Action, i2a. 
The classes infused critical thinking into the undergraduate experience in every discipline and life in general. Projects ranged from disciplines such as health and education to art.  Students enrolled in courses taught by Richard Fee, Christine Sherretz, Jon Lee and Gabrielle Mayer, among others, participated in the project by creating presentations. Executive director of i2a Patty Payette said the presentations are varied but each have a similar goal of thinking outside the box. 
“If they can teach it, they’ve learned it,” said Sherretz, who hopes to rectify lesson plans in the future to require student teaching at local schools to ask for syntheses at an early age. 
According to Lee, the Delphi Center and Digital Media Suite are what ultimately made this experience possible.  Lee, whose class had four weeks to create 5-minute presentations, said the execution was a bit of a challenge in terms of scheduling, editing and transitioning.
“Not to age myself, but I might not be as large a consumer of multimedia advertisements and entertainment as the folks I’m teaching,” said Lee.  “Because we’re utilizing this, I believe it was really heightened knowledge based, even with the technical challenges that we faced.”                                           
Lee said challenges involving editing, transitioning materials, scheduling conflicts and first-time execution were to be expected, but the overall production was positive.                          
According to Mayer, 40-cell animations were used to accompany various opinions and definitions of drawing given by professors, students and even children.  Drawings changed from a human head to a tree to a monster and continued through a series of bizarre and fascinating metamorphoses.  Doodles came to life as the animations flip screened and exited the page.                                                                                                                                        
“In a way, this project ended up giving them the opportunity to learn skills they normally wouldn’t,” said Mayer, whose students were able to choose which job they would like to do from final cut editing to making sketches or credits.  Furthermore, Mayer’s technology learning experience inspired her to sign up for more classes to enhance her critical thinking abilities.
“This project stood out to me because it helped me learn a new way of teaching children new subject matters,” said junior education major Megan Tenhumnberg.
 Student Brittany Hutchinson said she loved putting together a PSA as well as learning the material to do so along with it.  According to Fee, PSAs ranged from alcoholism awareness to personal hygiene and the importance of sleep for everyday life and each student created one ranging from 30 to 90 seconds.                                                 
“It was like nothing I have ever done before,” said Hutchinson.                                                 
While most projects took at least 20 hours outside of class, students exhibited positive feedback on the experience. The students also agreed with the sentiments of their professors: they had learned something from the experience in a unique way. 
As far as the professors predict, they would like to continue to utilize this tool to enhance course criterion to ensure critical thinking behind the collegiate level learning process.

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