Andy Gavrin Uses CN to Engage His Students in Physics and Evolving Technology

IUPUI Associate Professor and Physics Department Chair, Andy Gavrin, teaches his physics courses with the help of CourseNetworking.

Andy has been using CN since the fall of 2014 and truly believes that [the CN] "Gives students the opportunity to help teach each other while they are benefiting themselves in the process." Gavrin personally likes to see his students write posts, questions or quizzes about course material because he sees that when they are typing out explanations they're learning the material, while at the same time they are reading and reflecting on their classmates posts.

Professor Andy Gavrin
As an instructor, Andy expressed that using the interface of CN was really easy, "I can see the page feed with my student's posts, and post any handouts or lab documents for the course on the CN." He then mentioned the tools that he utilizes most: posts, polls, quizzes, and the syllabus/resources tab. These tools aid his courses and engage his students to actively participate.

Andy Gavrin used the Anar Seed Reward System as a form of extra credit for those who engaged in discussions and quizzes through posting and reflecting. Gavrin recalled that his students learned to use CourseNetworking very quickly, as he introduced CN in his first class and presented all course work on the course homepage. He said about 3/4 of the students in his course were active participants on the CN.

Student engagement is especially important to Andy and he has seen it evolve as technology has. Throughout his career as an instructor many doors have opened in terms of educational technology. In time, his teaching styles have also evolved. Gavrin describes himself as a 'technology geek' because he is open-minded, always excited and willing to explore and try to new tools in the ED-tech world. This is where he ran into CourseNetworking. Though, he has only used the CN for one year, he sees the potential it has. For this reason, Andy joined the TST group, or (as featured in an earlier blog) the Teaching Scholars Think Tank, which is made up of instructors, just like Andy. The instructors help the CN development team pinpoint the most valuable aspects of and provide feedback so the platform can continue to improve. 

When asked what he thought about the evolving technological world and what it might look like in the future, Gavrin responded by saying he expects technology to continue in the same way that the CN has tapped into, "I think aspects of educational technology will continue to grow closer together and continue to merge: mobile friendly learning, integration of educational tools, social networks, clickers; they will all move closer together." He fully expects his teaching styles to continue to evolve as the field and technology does and Andy Gavrin plans to use CourseNetworking for all course work instead of a supplement LMS in the fall of 2015.

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