Faculty Receive AT&T Awards of Excellence for Use of Technology

Two College of Arts & Letters faculty members recently were awarded 2017 AT&T Awards of Excellence for their outstanding contributions to the use and development of informational technology for teaching and learning at Michigan State University.

Assistant Professor of Theatre Brad Willcuts received the Award of Excellence for Best Technology Enhancement for his use of technology in his Dance Techniques class, DAN 352. While Dustin De Felice, Assistant Professor in MSU’s Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CeLTA) and Director of the Master of Arts degree in Foreign Language Teaching (MAFLT) program, received an Honorable Mention: Fully Online Course for his Teaching Foreign Language Technology course, FLT 881.

The 2017 AT&T Awards were presented April 19 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center.

Brad Willcuts

Willcuts’ DAN 352 class teaches a kinesthetic approach to multiple forms of dance. Students are assessed by their growth in the class, retention of choreographic styles, and ability to expand artistically.

Brad WillcutsCourse instruction was supplemented by live-streaming dance classes with top professional dancers from the TV show So You Think You Can Dance and CLI Studios. With the use of live-streaming classes, question and answer Skype sessions, and D2L written communication between professional dancers and students, students experienced the high standards of professional dance expectations while learning from famous dancers and connecting to future professional careers.

I am incredibly thankful for this award and am excited to continue pursuing various factors that have a technological element in my classroom.

Through the partnership with CLI Studios, an online dance learning community populated and owned by the nation’s best dancers and dance companies, the students were able to learn from renowned professionals and CLI Studios got to test out new Live-Class programs before opening up the programs to thousands of students all around the world.

"I am incredibly thankful for this award and am excited to continue pursuing various factors that have a technological element in my classroom,” Willcuts said. “I will be teaching the same class in the fall and already have begun to think about how I can implement more tech, professional connections, and new ways of approaching student learning."

Dustin De Felice

Dustin De FeliceDe Felice’s online course, FLT 881, focuses on the current situation with the ever-changing face of technology in language teaching and points students in the direction of a new worldview in terms of how technology plays a role in language acquisition and teaching.

In developing this new rhetoric, students review web applications for online foreign language instruction, hybrid learning, and distance learning. Students also investigate technology as it relates to traditional classroom teaching as well as online or at-a-distance. For both environments, students discuss how to develop online tasks, create interaction online, construct web pages and give feedback. They also evaluate the implications of technology on learning strategies, course designs, and assessments.

Students are assessed through a series of tasks representing both classroom and real-world applications, including completing two cumulative essays as well as a number of tech-infused mini-lessons where they design a mini-lesson that includes the use of a tech tool.

The most important piece of this generous award sponsored by AT&T is that all of this work helps me better meet the needs of my students, many of whom are teaching and using technology in their own classrooms.

As a unique and important outcome from this course, the following successful e-texts are publically shared:

The collaborative and constructivist nature of this course led to a useful application of the online tool Padlet.

“After thinking more about the 2017 AT&T Faculty-Staff Instructional Technology Awards, I found that going through the process of reflecting on my course was beneficial, centering, and valuable” De Felice said. “The application process helped me articulate my course in terms of technological innovations. That same process gave me the opportunity to view my course with a new perspective. That new perspective has continued beyond the nomination process because I was able to view the results of very impressive faculty and staff at MSU through their summaries and video reflections during the awards luncheon. During that same luncheon, I was also able to make new connections with highly creative and talented scholars and practitioners, and I learned that I will be given the opportunity to share my work in a number of professional development sessions throughout the upcoming academic year.

The application process helped me articulate my course in terms of technological innovations. That same process gave me the opportunity to view my course with a new perspective.

“The most important piece of this generous award sponsored by AT&T is that all of this work helps me better meet the needs of my students, many of whom are teaching and using technology in their own classrooms.”

AT&T Awards of Excellence

Initiated by IT Services and funded by AT&T, the annual AT&T Faculty-Staff Instruction Technology Awards program both recognizes and encourage best practices in the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. Faculty and staff are nominated for the awards by MSU's campus community or by self-nomination.

To learn more about the awards, see the AT&T Faculty-Staff Competition in Instruction Technology Awards website.