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Teaching Circles teach professors new lessons

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December 05, 2012

Dr. Mary Jean Land, chair and professor of mass communication, and Angela Criscoe, lecturer of mass communication, co-chair Teaching Circle "iPads in the Classroom."Dr. Mary Jean Land, chair and professor of mass communication, and Angela Criscoe, lecturer of mass communication, co-chair Teaching Circle "iPads in the Classroom."There’s an app for managing the classroom.

There’s an app for building documents.

There’s also an app for conducting research.

To determine the most effective apps to use as teaching tools this academic year, Georgia College professors have teamed up in what are called Teaching Circles.

“Teaching Circles make learning fun because we’re working together to discover new information,” said Dr. Mary Jean Land, chair and professor of mass communication. “It’s an opportunity to meet and collaborate with professors across different disciplines but who share common interests.”

Land and Angela Criscoe, lecturer of mass communication, co-chair “iPads in the Classroom” —  a Teaching Circle to help educate faculty members about ways to use the iPad as a teaching tool for professors and engaging resource for students.

The two work alongside professors in nursing, Spanish and chemistry to test the latest apps that relate to the classroom in general and to their specific fields of study.

“Being part of this Teaching Circle simplifies the process of understanding how we can use new technology like the iPad,” said Criscoe. “Learning in a group also helps reduce the time it takes to explore the various apps available to educators.”

The university’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) administers Teaching Circle grants to promote cross-disciplinary discussion and exploration about teaching and learning issues.

“These circles are terrific because they create the opportunity for faculty from different disciplines to pause and reflect together,” said Dr. Steven Elliott, interim director of CETL and director of the university’s Honors Program. “Teaching Circle grants can be used in many ways. Some groups purchase books and resources to study and discuss. Others might send one of their members to a conference then report back to the group.”

“iPads in the Classroom” is one of nine Teaching Circle grants awarded for the 2012-2013 academic year. Other grants include the following:

  • “Assessing the University Shared Learning Goals,” co-chaired by Dr. Kirk J. Armstrong and Cara Meade;
  • “Effective Mentoring: A Tool for Advancing Undergraduate Research,” co-chaired by Dr. Rosalie Richards and Dr. Doreen Sams;
  • “Critically Thinking About Public Memory,” co-chaired by Ken Smith and Dr. M. Vail;
  • “Developing Helpful Strategies for Host Teachers,” chaired by Dr. Betta Borrelli;
  • “Best Practices in Supplemental Instruction in the STEM Disciplines,” co-chaired by Dr. Catrena Lisse and Dr. Rosalie Richards;
  • “The Reacting Faction at Georgia College,” co-chaired by Dr. Judith Malachowski and Dr. Peggy Schaller;
  • “Sustainability in the Core,” chaired by Dr. Doug R. Oetter; and
  • “Inclusive Excellence in the Classroom: Teaching Diversity,” co-chaired by Dr. Rosalie Richards and Dr. Veronica Womack.

During a 2013 spring semester workshop open to the university community, Land and Criscoe plan to share the useful education apps their Teaching Circle discovered.

“The more we know about the iPad and the apps available, the more resources we have to teach efficiently and effectively in the classroom and beyond,” said Criscoe. “I love technology so this Teaching Circle helps us look for the latest and greatest technology to share with colleagues.”

For more information about Teaching Circles, email or call 478-445-1953.


ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, combines the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education. Its four colleges – arts and sciences, business, education and health sciences – provide 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, with hands-on involvement with faculty research, community service, study abroad and myriad internships.

Founded in 1889, Georgia College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation with Corinthian columns fronting red brick buildings and wide open green spaces. Georgia College also offers graduate education at the historic Jefferson building in downtown Macon, at Robins Air Force Base and online.

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For more information, contact University Communications at (478) 445-4477.