Upcoming Sabbatical Will Allow Professor Ned Sibert to Focus on Educational Innovation

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has awarded six faculty members Educational Innovation (EI) funds designed to provide them the opportunity to extend their sabbatical plans to further an educational innovation project.

EI funds are used to supplement the sabbatical program in order to facilitate EI engagement at a grassroots level.

Recipients include Wei-Yin Loh, Julie Mead, Marisa Otegui, Edwin Sibert, Lynet Uttal and Peter van Kan.

“The Educational Innovation sabbatical program was developed to help faculty expand their study leave in areas related to educational innovations,” says Christopher Olsen, interim vice provost for teaching and learning. “As with all EI efforts, the goals for sabbatical funding were projects that enhance teaching and learning, expand our capacity to reach learners, and develop opportunities for economic efficiencies and/or new revenues."

Projects that faculty members will work on during their EI sabbatical include:

Edwin L. Sibert, professor of chemistry

Sibert will use the time to dramatically extend changes to the gateway course Chemistry 103. The revised course has already significantly enhanced active learning through the use of clickers combined with in-class discussion, group work offered through evening sessions in both the dorms and the Chemistry Building in which challenging material is tackled by teams of students, and through the use of an online homework system. Sibert proposes replacing the less interactive components of the lectures with short, topic-focused videos followed by online questions.

“Students enjoy many aspects of the lectures, especially the clicker concept test integrated with the chemical demonstrations,” Sibert says. “These components will be maintained. Collaborating with others in the department, especially Jim Maynard, our technology expert, will ensure that new online components are not only pedagogically sound but of high quality production.”

Story by Käri Knutson, University Communications