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Jack Child Teaching with Technology Award

CTRL’s Jack Child Teaching with Technology Award honors faculty who have demonstrated creativity in using technology in their teaching. The award is named for the founding director of the Center for Teaching Excellence (the precursor of CTRL), who was instrumental in encouraging AU faculty members to incorporate technological tools into their teaching practices.


Nomination Process

The Jack Child Teaching with Technology Award is currently on hold, and we will not be able to accept any nominations in AY2021.


Any faculty member teaching during the current academic year is eligible for nomination. Self-nominations are welcome. Both individual faculty members and teams of faculty members may be nominated.

The winning faculty member (or faculty team) receives an award of $1,000. The winner will present a demonstration of his or her innovative teaching during a CTRL event.

Nominations may be made by any member of the university community. Self-nominations are welcome. A short list of nominees will be requested to provide a brief description of their activities involving use of technology in the classroom. The selection panel for the short list and for the winner will be composed of members from CTRL and a previous winner of the award.

Nominations open: TBD
Final date to submit nominations: TBD
Announcement of winner: TBD

Previous Award Winners

The 2018-2019 Jack Child Teaching with Technology Award was split between Professors Michael Alonzo (CAS – Environmental Science) and Katharine White (CAS – History). 

Mike Alonzo was selected for his use of drones, equipped with thermal cameras and laser range finders, in his Environmental Science classes. In doing so, the students are able to collect their own data on topics such as water use and suburbanization at the wildland-urban interface, allowing students to work together and interact in real time while completing analyses using Google tools, including Earth, Sheets, Docs, and Slides, that produce findings that can then be linked to readings and discussion. 

Katharine White was selected for her use of digital technologies in her course on Modern European History. By incorporating technologies including podcasts, media clips, animated short films, interactive maps, and blog post assignments, Katharine has made topics from another time and place accessible and engaging to her students. One of the key assignments on Katharine’s syllabus involves the use of the online platform Thinglink, which provides a user-friendly technology tool to transform images into interactive graphics.

The 2017-2018 Jack Child Teaching with Technology Award was split between Professors Krisztina Domjan (School of Professional and Extended Studies) and Juliana Martinez (Department of World Languages and Cultures, CAS).

Krisztina Domjan was selected for her innovative use of Google Drive apps to create an interactive learning environment for her students that not only allows her to reach out to diverse learners, but also to increase the levels of student learning and personal development. For example, Krisztina uses Google docs as a learner portfolio for assessment and personalized feedback which enables students to create and build a cohesive document of their learning and achievements

Juliana Martinez was selected for her creative and thoughtful use of social media to encourage participation while reflecting on many fundamental questions posed by these new technologies about free speech, privacy, etc. Juliana’s creative use of technology is groundbreaking, in particular in a field like literature, which is often considered too traditional or not quantitative enough to accommodate new technological applications.

The 2016-2017 Jack Child Teaching with Technology Award was split between Professors Maina Singh (School of International Service) and Andrew Spath (School of International Service).

Maina Singh was selected for her multifaceted and innovative approach to using technology in both online and face-to-face courses, incorporating social media tools to enhance community-building and peer-to-peer learning; using TED talks and short films to trigger class discussion, and assigning Open Educational Resources (OERs) to reduce the cost of textbooks while making materials available online.

Andrew Spath was selected for his creative design and implementation of a semester-long web-based simulation of a fictional country called Authoritania, teaching and reinforcing concepts via experiential learning, while creating an online world for his students to practice communications, actions, strategies, and decision-making that mimic the real world.

The 2015-2016 Jack Child Teaching with Technology Award was split between Professors Alexandra Mislin (KSB, Department of Management) and Scott Talan (School of Communication).

Alexandra Mislin was selected for her innovative use of video-conferencing technology to teach negotiations by simulating real world live Skype negotiations with students in Germany, and for her use of technology-enabled instant feedback in class.

Scott Talan was selected for his multi-faceted and innovative use of technology tools to enhance his teaching. These include online discussion blogs, mobile polling technology for live feedback, the use of recorded audio feedback, and the use of social media to leverage student learning and engagement.


The 2014-2015 Jack Child Teaching with Technology Award was split between Professors John Bracht (CAS, Department of Biology) and Sonya Grier (KSB, Department of Marketing).

John Bracht was selected for his innovative and sophisticated use of advanced technologies in the classroom while teaching genomics. Using a flipped classroom model, Professor Bracht’s students spend the in-class time to work with ten different software packages, while using AU’s high-performance computing cluster, to assemble complete genome sequences.

Sonya Grier was selected for her eclectic and innovative incorporation of technology in teaching. Most prominently, Professor Grier shoots and edits her own films about the topics she researches and teaches, making topics more accessible and engaging by adding an audiovisual element to traditional course readings.


The 2013-2014 Jack Child Teaching with Technology Award was split between Professors Deen Freelon (School of Communication) and Brian Yates (CAS, Department of Psychology).

Deen Freelon was recognized for his innovative technology-centered approach to teaching students how to use specialized software to analyze big social media datasets. Professor Freelon has developed his own research tool — called ReCal (available to his students) — and challenged students to develop their own automated text classification algorithms.

Brian Yates was recognized for his career-long innovative use of technology in teaching. Some of the tools that Professor Yates was among the first to adopt at American University are: bringing the web into the classroom through internet-connected laptops; using learning management systems (such as Blackboard) to flip the classroom; creating eBooks to curate course reading lists; and the use of the iPad in teaching.


The 2012-2013 Jack Child Teaching with Technology Award was split between Professors Donna Dietz (CAS, Department of Mathematics and Statistics) and Beverly Peters (School of Professional and Extended Studies).

Donna Dietz was selected because of her ingenuity in designing educational mobile apps. As a way of helping students put their digital devices to good use, wherever they happen to be, Professor Dietz created her own device-agnostic mobile app for students to use to study for her exams.

Beverly Peters was selected for her use of a great variety of audio, visual, multi-media, and mobile device technology in both her online and face-to-face classes. Professor Peters also continues to serve as an exceptional resource for other faculty interested in teaching with technology.


The 2011-2012 Jack Child Teaching with Technology Award was split between Professors Jill Klein (KSB, Department of Information Technology) and Stef Woods (CAS, Department of Anthropology).

Jill Klein was selected because of her creative use of a wide variety of web tools for student collaboration and mind-mapping.

Stef Woods was selected because of her extensive integration of social media tools in her class, in combination with teaching her students internet safety.


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