UMD Launches Hub for Innovative Teaching and Learning Strategies

PR Newswire

COLLEGE PARK, Md., Nov. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The University of Maryland is creating a hub for supporting innovative, technology-enhanced education on campus with the launch of the new Teaching and Learning Transformation Center (TLTC). The center was created to help transform the university's courses, teaching and classrooms through technology and training to improve student learning, engagement and success.

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As technology continues to become a growing presence in the university landscape, the new center will support instructors in the implementation of those new technologies by offering training in new strategies, introducing them to the right tools, and measuring how well they work. The TLTC will lead the strategic development of educational strategy, policy, program assessment, and the appropriate use of technology for existing and new course delivery structures.

"I have no doubt that a rising generation of students has been primed for this blend of classroom participation and online learning," says University of Maryland President Wallace Loh. "We see it at the new public charter middle school, the College Park Academy, where students from all backgrounds take to this style of learning quite naturally. We see it in the enthusiasm of faculty who conducted Massive Open Online Courses. This initiative will keep us in the forefront of educational innovation."

The TLTC will leverage the strengths of the university's existing resources, including the Center for Teaching Excellence, which works to enhance the quality of student learning experiences, and the Division of IT's Integrated Learning Technologies and Environments department, which provides leadership in the integration of technology into teaching and research. To optimize their impact, these teams will now be combined under the TLTC, reporting directly to the Provost's office and a new associate provost. They will be integrated with a new Learning Analytics and Assessment group, which will focus on data analysis—monitoring the effectiveness of activities, teaching strategies, course structures and delivery types. These teams will come together under one roof, and be housed in the new Edward St. John Learning & Teaching Center upon its completion.

"We want to significantly advance teaching and learning to meet the ever-changing needs of today's students, and we need an infrastructure to help with that," says Mary Ann Rankin, UMD's senior vice president and provost. "The Teaching and Learning Transformation Center will provide enhanced faculty resources, creating new levels of flexibility in our courses, and meeting the needs of students who learn in different ways."

The TLTC will bring together all of the factors that make learning successful—innovation, support, incentives, infrastructure and assessment. The work of the center will have three core components: enhancing the quality of student learning experiences; using technology to support teaching and learning; and monitoring the effectiveness of those systems and structures.

"The University of Maryland is constantly working to be more aggressive in its pursuit of technology as a catalyst for better learning," says Professor Ben Bederson, special adviser to the provost on technology and educational transformation. "This new center is a huge step forward for the university in supporting 21st century learners, truly enhancing their learning environment through innovative technology advancements."

To incentivize faculty from across campus to infuse innovative teaching strategies into their classrooms, the center will be offering grant opportunities to instructors who can develop interesting ways of improving student learning and success in their classrooms.

About the University of Maryland
The University of Maryland is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, Maryland is ranked No. 21 among public universities by U.S. News & World Report and No. 14 among public universities by Forbes. The Institute of Higher Education, which ranks the world's top universities based on research, puts Maryland at No. 38 in the world, No. 29 nationally and No. 13 among U.S. public research institutions. The university is also one of the top 10 highest-rated D.C.-area employers, according to Glassdoor.com. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates, two Pulitzer Prize winners, 49 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. The university is recognized for its diversity, with underrepresented students comprising one-third of the student population.

SOURCE University of Maryland

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