Faculty Choice Award Winners Sound Off: 2017 Innovative Open Content

Faculty Choice Awards: Innovative Use of Open Content

In the run-up to FIU Online Con 2018, Insider is catching up with past Faculty Choice Award winners. In our second installment, International Relations professor Dr. Anjana Mishra talks about her 2017 award-winning course. Visit the Faculty Choice Awards website to nominate your own course today.

Meet Dr. Anjana Mishra

Professor Anjana Mishra, PhD

Dr. Anjana Mishra teaches in the Department of Politics & International Relations. In 2017, she won the Faculty Choice Award for Innovative Use of Open Content with INR3081, Contemporary International Problems. She worked with instructional designer Nina Crutchfield.

How Has the Award Benefited You?

Winning the award reminds me how far we’ve come. In the past, assessments relied on basic skills––speaking, reading, writing, and regurgitating information gleaned largely from books.

Teaching today is quite different. Teachers need to tailor their classes to tech-savvy students who have access to a plethora of information at their fingertips.  

To achieve more active learning, I have developed unique assignments that students cannot complete by looking up material online. Each assignment requires that students explore, discover, and become actively involved in the learning process.

What Was Working With Your ID Like?

Designing INR3227 with Nina was a very collaborative process. Nina knows I’m very hands-on with the tech side of things. If I ask Nina how to add, for example, Adobe Connect recordings, she sends me detailed Recordit videos.

Let me just say this: in over 10 years of teaching for FIU Online, Nina is undoubtedly the best ID I’ve had. She is highly organized and systematic. If we need to incorporate any changes, she notes it down on one of her ubiquitous stickies. Her computer monitor screen is covered with stickies!

Which Are Your Favorite Course Features?

In a module on migration, students virtually experienced what it feels like to be a migrant. The lesson occurred as Syrian migration to Europe made headlines. It felt urgent. In their feedback to me, students wrote that the virtual experience helped them better understand the helplessness and plight of refugees. A few even talked about making donations to the International Organization for Refugees. I don’t think I would have had the same kind of response had I just delivered a lecture.

Any Advice for Submitters to the Faculty Choice Awards?

There are several categories in the FIU Online Faculty Awards. Check if any of your courses qualify for a category. I also think organizers should consider adding a cash award with the plaque to encourage more submissions.

What’s The Future Look Like?

I am always looking for interesting assignments to better engage my students and myself. For now, I seek feedback from students through reflective writing assignments at the end of the semester. I ask students to comment on different aspects of the course––assignments, assessments, and discussions. If several students say that an assignment is too ambiguous or not engaging, I edit it out of my future courses. I like to think of my courses as being student-driven, which I think makes them dynamic.

Michael A. Martin is an instructional designer and writer for the Continuing and Professional Education team at FIU Online. He is also an adjunct instructor in Writing and Rhetoric at FIU.

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