Innovative Practices Spotlight

CAE Innovative Practices Spotlight


Dr. Duane Hagelgans, Assistant Professor, Earth Science

The Center for Academic Excellence is recognizing a faculty member every month in the CAE Innovative Practices Spotlight to highlight his or her innovative classroom practices and outstanding contribution to Millersville University.

Dr. Duane Hagelgans is being recognized in April for his exceptional use of teaching online internationally in his Earth Science courses!

Please continue reading to learn more about Dr. Hagelgans's exciting experience and to learn ways to incorporate innovative practices into your classroom…

1. What innovative practice did you incorporate into your classroom?

What I call active learning.  The students have multiple discussion boards, with Post and Due dates before each week’s synchronous session.  Based upon these questions and the weekly assignment, I then created 40-60 slides of questions.  I then ask questions, using the slides to guide the conversation.  In any given 75 minute online class, I may only use 10-12 question slides, but by having multiple slides that are based upon the weekly assignments and discussion boards, I can jump from question 1 to question 23, depending on where the students take the conversation.  The questions on the slides give the students “two senses.”  Previously the students merely heard me ask a question, but they did not see me, so it was taking a long time to process.  This system allows them to hear and see the question.  The challenging part is developing enough questions on a weekly basis to cover the area of the subject matter plus the discussion boards.  The up side to the online format is that you can expand a 75 minute discussion to 150 minutes.  Since students can type while other students are talking, it gives twice or more feedback.  Whereas in a traditional classroom, only one person can speak at a time.  I find this method tremendously helps the students.

2. When did you implement the new practice into your classroom?

The third or fourth semester I was teaching online , after I figured out that the students were not engaging not because they did not know the subject matter, but because they needed time to process what I was saying and then contemplate an answer.  

3. Did the students willingly accept the use of the new practice? What were the reactions of the students?

The students are very engaged.  The students love the opportunity to listen, speak and write simultaneously.  It truly doubles or triples the student input in the courses. 

4. How has the use of the new practice positively affected the classroom learning environment?

It has allowed every student to participate, whereas in a traditional classroom, many “thoughts” get left on the table, here they are all either verbalized or written out for the students to share. 

5. How has the use of the new practice affected student engagement in the classroom and the level of participation?

It has gone from a few students interacting to almost complete course interaction.  Even for those students who do not necessarily like to talk in class, this gives them the opportunity to freely contribute. 

6. What challenges did you encounter when you were implementing the new practice?

The biggest challenge is two-fold: 1) Making sure there are enough questions on slides that can cover a wide range of possible discussions, and 2) the ability to multi-task listening to answers, looking for the “next” slide, and reviewing the data being typed into the “chat box.”  I can now do pretty much all three in an effective manner.  

7. How did attending Camp IDEA or a CAE Professional Development session contribute to your learning and use of the innovative practice?

I have taken Camp Idea twice, because I think you get so much information the first time, you have to come back to focus your needs.  What Camp Idea has done for me and this teaching method is it taught me to A) flip the classroom, and B) understand how beneficial the technology can be if you allow it to drive the train. Going from traditional classroom teaching to online teaching would have been almost impossible without Camp Idea and the CAE sessions I have attended since coming to Millersville.