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Patrick Smith and Hilo Instructor Alexander Nagurney (right)

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Instructor Alexander Nagurney was honored with a 2016 Apereo Teaching and Learning Award (ATLAS) for his digital social psychology course. Nagurney developed the course with Patrick Smith, instructional designer at Texas State University.

The social psychology course is offered online as an undergraduate UH Hilo distance learning course. The software used allows developers, including students, to evolve a program in step with the needs of the students, faculty members and organizations it serves. The goal is to provide students with an understanding of the breadth of social psychology and its various applications to everyday life including interpersonal relations, social attitudes, group dynamics, intergroup relations, and class and cultural influences.

“Social psychology is a course that I love teaching because of its relevance to students’ everyday lives,” says Nagurney, who also teaches statistics and research methods.

The ATLAS selection committee felt the course is “a strong application that combines game-based learning activities, to deliver a course in which the students communicated more frequently, thoughtfully, and collaboratively. The innovative use of a real world problem (hidden within the guise of a fictitious client) engages the students in team based problem solving and individual reflection. In addition, the use of Lessons [software tool] for student-created content allows flexibility and variability in the final project.”

Second Apereo award

Last year Nagurney and Smith also earned Apereo Foundation’s 2015 Teaching with Sakai Innovation Award. The educators collaborated on designing apsychology course that successfully uses digital game-based elements to engage students in course content.

Nagurney and Smith are the first people ever to win an award from Apereo twice.

A joint interview where Nagurney and Smith discuss their experiences and share the results of the gamified course.

About the Apereo Foundation

The Apereo Foundation is a non-profit based in New Jersey that supports software used in learning, teaching and research at thousands of educational institutions worldwide. The Apereo Teaching and Learning Awards recognize teaching innovation using open technologies that allow end users to modify the source code of software to fit their needs.

Read more about Nagurney and Smith’s award-winning collaborations at UH Hilo Stories.

From UH Hilo Stories

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