picture of a TILE classroom
Friday, September 26, 2014 - 10:21am

TILE Institute
A $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation will support the expansion of TILE (Transform, Interact, Learn, and Engage) initiatives to promote success in STEM education at the UI, and the ITS Office of Teaching, Learning, & Technology will play a key role in the project.

The UI introduced TILE classrooms in 2010, and now has eight TILE spaces on campus. The tech-infused spaces encourage group work and active learning. Training is an essential element to the success of TILE; instructors attend workshops where they learn techniques to teach effectively in the student-centered environment. Response from both students and instructors has been positive, and results of a previous assessment found that students performed better in TILE courses than in matched courses taught by the same professor in a traditional classroom.

Goals of the project

The NSF grant will help the UI build on its success with TILE, with a focus on general education and introductory Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) courses. Goals of the project are:

  1. Evaluate the organizational climate for promoting and sustaining innovative teaching and learning practices in STEM departments.
  2. Create a leadership institute to provide colleges and departments with evidence-based practices for supporting teaching and learning.
  3. Develop a process to increase use of evidence-based scientific teaching and learning practices in STEM classes.
  4. Assess how the improved teaching and learning practices benefit students.

A cross-unit team

Chemistry Professor Renée Cole is the principle investigator (PI). Co-PI Jean Florman, director of the Center for Teaching in ITS, will be developing the leadership institutes. Additional co-PI’s are Biology Department Chair Bernd Fritzsch and Assessment Director Wayne Jacobson of the Provost’s Office.

Senior personnel on the grant are ITS Instructional Designer Jane Russell and ITS Assessment Director Sam Van Horne. Russell will work to broaden adoption of evidence-based teaching in STEM. Van Horne will participate in assessing the organizational climate for promoting adoption of effective teaching practices in STEM, and in the overall assessment of the project.

More information on the grant is available at the NSF website.