The CSU Office of the Chancellor and Sony Electronics, Inc. in partnership with Intel Corporation recently awarded San Diego State communication professor Kurt Lindemann the Sony Electronics Faculty Award for Innovative Instruction with Technology.
Creating a sense of class community
Lindemann received the award for his instruction and design of COMM 103: Oral Communication, which is a requirement for all undergraduate students at SDSU. The award was granted due to his innovative use of Twitter, Facebook and iClicker—a classroom response system in which each student has their own remote to answer questions.
The class consists of four 500-student lectures, taught by Lindemann and smaller breakout sections, led by graduate students, that are also supervised by Lindemann.
“I attempt to create a sense of community in each of my 500-person lecture classes through the use of several technologies,” Lindemann said. “Our @COMM103 Twitter feed is an excellent way for me to answer questions and provide students with related links and prompts for upcoming lessons.”
About the award
The award recognizes CSU faculty for “their current and potential innovative use of technology in delivering quality and affordable education to their students and encourages their continued achievements in teaching." The prize includes a VAIO computer, Bravia LCD TV, Sony Reader, and a Webbie camera. Lindemann will also participate in Sony’s educational online forum and share his innovative practices with colleagues across the U.S.
Twitter, Facebook part of class participation.
Lindemann uses both Facebook and Twitter to foster community and collaboration among students on platforms with which they are already familiar. Students can post questions that are answered by either Lindemann or fellow students.
“I have found that students who are hesitant to ask a question in a 500-seat lecture are more willing to ask me a question via Twitter or Facebook,” Lindemann said.
Lindemann teaches that technology comes with responsibility and consequences. To illustrate this point, he searches Twitter before his lectures for posts related to the class.
The search, “inevitably leads me to discover sometimes negative and vulgar comments about our class,” Lindemann said. “Rather than reprimand or chastise these students, I incorporate their tweets (read without identifying the author) into my lecture as examples of a lack of awareness of one's audience when using social media.”
Lindemann earned his Ph.D. from Arizona State University in 2006. After earning a B.A. in Communication and Theatre Arts and Written Communication from Eastern Michigan University, he received a M.S. in Communication from Illinois State University in 1995 and a M.A. in English Language and Literature from Eastern Michigan University in 1997. He has been teaching at SDSU since 2006.