ODU Professor Develops, Implements Innovative Teaching Approach

Anna Davis

2013-05-30

Columbus, OH – Ohio Dominican University (ODU) Mathematics students are taking a new approach to learn material like they never have before.  

Anna Davis, Ph.D., associate professor of Mathematics at ODU, has developed a cutting-edge interactive database concept, txt-ure, which is aimed to make the teaching process more effective and efficient, while making education more affordable. The name, txt-ure, is derived from combining the words “text” and “lecture.” 

“Personalized education and face-to-face interaction between faculty and students is at the heart of this approach,” said Davis. “In addition, txt-ure enhances the traditional classroom experience by utilizing the internet, social media and video.” 

Davis says txt-ure, when fully implemented, could allow small colleges and universities to offer additional academic opportunities, while keeping the cost of education down. Often, specialty classes cannot be offered on a consistent basis due to low enrollment. Utilizing txt-ure could eliminate that problem, as it allows professors to conduct several small classes in the same classroom at the same time. 

Students still attend class in a traditional setting; however, each “class” is comprised of groups of students enrolled in different courses. Within these groups, students discuss the material and solve problems, as the professor is available to answer questions. “Last semester, I had eight students in one course and two students in another course in the same classroom,” said Davis. “We dubbed this our One-Room Schoolhouse (ORS).” 

The ORS approach utilizes the flipped-classroom model, in which students complete reading assignments, practice problems and watch videos on their own, and attend class where they discuss the material and get help from the professor and peers. By utilizing txt-ure, students work from an electronic textbook that includes links to videos of the professor discussing and explaining concepts and examples. It also incorporates a database component, which ultimately will house videos produced by professors in a variety of disciplines. These videos can be shared with students who are studying a variety of subjects. 

"The new class setup is very time efficient,” student Gillian Roth, a senior from Alexandria, Ohio, said. “With my busy schedule, it has made learning easier for me because I can watch lessons on my own time and go back to study and review them at any time. I have plenty of time in class to work on homework and get any help that I need with a group of classmates or one on one with my professor." 

“In a typical classroom lecture, I do not have enough time to think of and formulate questions regarding the material,” student Anna Vonau, a senior from Gahanna, Ohio, said. “Many times, I would leave a lecture with confidence in my knowledge of the material only to get to the problem sets and struggle with applying the material. The flipped model has allowed me to learn the basic material prior to coming to class, and work on problem sets during class time with my professor and peers at easy access for questions and collaboration.” 

“My focus has completely shifted from preparing and delivering lectures to providing constant feedback and one-on-one attention to students,” said Davis. “Students are much more engaged and develop a better understanding of the material when they are collaborating with their peers under the guidance of their professor.” 

Davis is slated to present on the One-Room Schoolhouse approach at FlipCon13, the sixth annual national conference hosted by the Flipped Learning Network, held June 17-19 in Stillwater, Minn. 

For more about txt-ure, visit www.txt-ure.com. 

Ohio Dominican University is a four-year private liberal arts and master’s institution, founded in 1911 in the Catholic and Dominican tradition. The University has approximately 2,700 students and offers undergraduate degrees in 43 majors as well as seven graduate degree programs. Ohio Dominican uses a student-centered approach, with a commitment to quality teaching and learning. 

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