Education professor wins national award for innovative teaching practices

By Dale Johnson Posted: May 25, 2018 11:00 a.m.

Alec Couros says, “I've been extremely fortunate to have worked alongside passionate students who transform our courses into vibrant communities of learning."
Alec Couros says, “I've been extremely fortunate to have worked alongside passionate students who transform our courses into vibrant communities of learning." Photo: U of R Photography

In this wild connected world, it’s helpful to have a guide.

Dr. Alec Couros is guide, mentor, and technological guru for his students in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina, as well as youth, corporations, and government ministries, as they navigate the labyrinth of digital literacies, technology integration, and digital citizenship.  

His innovative approach is so widely respected that he will receive the 2018 D2L Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE), a Canadian organization that strives to enhance teaching.

"I'm honoured to have received this award,” says Couros, professor of educational technology and media in the Faculty of Education. “This means a lot to me because it recognizes the peer-driven pedagogical approach that I use in my classes. This approach demands a high degree of student participation, and I've been extremely fortunate to have worked alongside passionate students who transform our courses into vibrant communities of learning."

The award, to be presented on June 20 to a total of five educators across Canada during the annual STLHE conference in Sherbrooke, Québéc, recognizes those at the forefront of innovation both within their academic institutions and higher education more broadly.

“These educators are demonstrating significant innovation and inspiring the future of learning. Their achievements are making learning experiences better and enabling students to excel,” said John Baker, President and CEO of D2L, an organization that promotes online learning.

Couros is being recognized specifically for his innovative educational technology-facilitated student engagement assignments, including the #ETMOOC lipdub assignment where creative relationship-building occurs among 12,000 students from different countries. Couros’ students create effective personal learning networks that transcend the boundaries of the course and gain competence using a wide spectrum of educational technology tools, while establishing their online identity.

"Preparing the next generation of teachers is important work, and there are few people in Canada who do it in with the same level of innovation and enthusiasm as Dr. Couros. This award, which recognizes his commitment to using different technological resources and approaches to empower his students, could not be more timely or well-deserved," says University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Vianne Timmons.

This is the latest honour for Couros. He was awarded the University of Regina Teaching Award for Excellence for Innovation in Teaching in 2015.

CONGRESS CONNECTION:

Members of the public are welcome to attend a free presentation by Dr. Couros: Understanding scholarship in a digital world at Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences on Sunday, May 27 from 10:30 a.m. to noon, room 228, Education Building at the U of R. Couros will outline the potential power of engaging in networked forms of scholarship and will provide participants with strategies and tools to assist academics in participating meaningfully in digital spaces.