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Oct. 13, 2011 Volume 33, No. 8

Balakrishnan, Stone honored for promoting tech-savvy students


Awarded for utilizing top-notch teaching methods

The Educational Technologies at Missouri (ET@MO) award selection committee recently honored Mizzou faculty members Bimal Balakrishnan and Bethany Stone with the 2011 Excellence in Teaching with Technology Awards.

Balakrishnan, an assistant professor in MU’s department of architectural studies, was given the Graduate/Professional Teaching Award.

Stone, an associate professor in the division of biological sciences, earned the Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Balakrishnan teaches courses requiring students to utilize various types of technology in order to meet their objectives. He uses software as a tool to build collaborative and interactive learning environments.

“Since I teach design computing and visualization to students in architectural studies, technology is an integral part of my courses,” Balakrishnan said.

Balakrishnan said his goal as an instructor is to identify digital media tools and workflows that can enhance students’ learning experience. As a researcher, he works to understand the cognitive and affective impact of digital media tools and their impact on the design process.

“Our emphasis has always been on improving student learning, and our focus has been on integrating appropriate and effective technology rather than novel technology,” said Balakrishnan, who also received a 2011 Mangel Catalyst Award from the Mizzou Human Environmental Sciences Office of Research and Graduate School.

Stone has implemented technology into her classes as a way to free up class time for other purposes and to increase the interactive learning that takes place in the classroom.

“In a way, I feel like I won the award when I received the notification that I had been nominated by a former student,” Stone said. “I felt blessed that a student took time to nominate a professor she hadn’t had in years and would never have again.

“It was meaningful to be selected by a group of peers to receive the award knowing the creative ways technology is being used to foster learning across campus.”

Stone is a leader in promoting the use of technology to increase interactions with and among her students. She said she feels technologies are not only important as catalysts to learning, but also to broaden students’ comfort and proficiency with technology.

“At MU, we are fortunate to have the support (emotional, financial and technological) to find new, inventive ways to use teaching technologies to solve problems and make teaching and learning more authentic,” Stone said.

Stone was named a Kemper Fellow in 2011 and previously received the Provost Outstanding Junior Faculty Teaching Award.

The purpose of the Excellence in Teaching with Technology awards are to recognize the efforts of faculty, staff, teaching assistants and graduate instructors involved in using educational technologies to meaningfully improve teaching and learning at MU.

The winners receive a $500 stipend to be applied toward educational technology teaching-related expenses. They are also invited to participate in a campus conference or presentation to highlight and share their work with the campus community.

- Josh Murray