Texas A&M’s GoWeb team has recognized the Center for Educational Technologies (CET) for its contributions to transformational learning at Texas A&M University with 2018 GoWeb Awards.
The center was presented the 2018 GoWeb Award for Transformational Learning, and CET senior IT professional III Dan Shuta received runner-up recognition for a 2018 GoWeb Award for Innovation for his creation of StepStone, a web-based elearning authoring tool application.
The awards were presented on June 8 during Texas A&M’s Annual GoWeb Retreat.
GoWeb is an inclusive, collaborative community of professionals dedicated to supporting one another and elevating web communication across campus. The GoWeb Awards recognize individuals and teams that create innovative web communications supporting the university’s three pillars: impact, innovation and transformational learning.
Comprising a multi-disciplinary team of 10 highly experienced faculty and multimedia production staff who produce a wide range of transformational learning experiences, the CET has exemplified excellence in the transformational learning occurring within the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) by championing mobile technologies, collaborating with units across the university, and creating educational solutions for faculty and students.
“The CET incorporates the latest in educational technologies to transform education for all students at Texas A&M,” said CET director Nicola L. Ritter. “These immersive educational experiences prepare faculty and students to address the world’s most formidable problems and selflessly-serve the world around them.”
Among the ways the center has embraced transformational learning is through its partnership with the DVM curriculum committee and faculty teaching in the DVM program to harnesses educational technologies to support the new curriculum, which recently completed its inaugural year.
The active, online learning communities for veterinary students and faculty has expanded the CVM’s culture of in-person collaborations to online collaborations, enabling CVM faculty to continue conversations on teaching and learning outside of meeting rooms and share new information more effectively around teaching and learning topics.
“The online learning community for students provides a one-stop-shop for all things related to the DVM program and their progress within the program,” Ritter said. “Students can communicate with their peers and instructors inside and outside of class more easily than ever before. With everything DVM in one place, program decision-makers can observe interactions from afar using the platforms robust analytics reporting capabilities that combine learning analytics and data visualization.”
The CET also has championed the veterinary program “going mobile” by creating device-agnostic, platform-independent and easy-to-use digital educational resources accessible to all. This includes the development of StepStone, a content authoring software that allows educators to create a variety of learning experiences accessible from any internet-enabled device.
“StepStone is a great example of leveraging educational innovations to support transformational learning,” Ritter said. “The CVM now has a scalable solution that allows them to rapidly produce e-learning materials and enhance every course in their new veterinary program.”
Through its collaboration with TAMU’s IT Accessibility and Disability Services, the CET developed an inclusive teaching and learning culture that includes training faculty on accessibility topics; creating accessible online instructional materials for students; and consulting with other units on campus to provide transformational learning experiences for all.
“The CET has embedded accessibility into every aspect of the unit, from creating an inclusive culture to applying universal design teaching techniques to adding robust accessibility testing,” Ritter said. “The CET continues to lead by example in transformational learning for all by developing innovative learning experiences and sharing the CET’s experiences with others.”
Shuta has created more than 150 technology applications for TAMU and worked with approximately 100 educators to make their visions become a reality. Approximately 10,000 students and 200 instructors have impacted by his work, according to Ritter.
“Dan is a brilliant programmer and talented illustrator at Texas A&M,” she said. “He has over 25 years of experience in web communications, specifically for the purpose of learning. He is a lifelong learner and thrives on creating educational innovations to share information with others in an engaging way.”
Among his contributions to transforming learning was his development of StepStone, which has been used by approximately 100 educators to created more than 200 online educational resources since its inception.
“Dan single-handedly developed a tool that allows TAMU to rapidly develop instructional materials. This has improved TAMU’s content development and others inside and outside the college have taken note,” Ritter said. “Under his leadership StepStone continues to grow and his efforts have aided in making this product sought after by other colleges at TAMU and worldwide. StepStone has also opened the door to other fields of collaboration.”
To ensure StepStone continues to meet the needs of its users, Shuta is collaborating with TAMU’s IT Accessibility and Disability Services to add accessible functionality to all the features available in StepStone.
To learn more about the center’s contributions to transformational learning at TAMU, visit the CET’s submitted portfolio at tamucet.org.
Contact Information: Megan Palsa, Executive Director of Communications, Media & Public Relations, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science; firstname.lastname@example.org; 979-862-4216; 979-421-3121 (cell)