Interview with Dr. Janine Wilson, Keynote Speaker for SITT 2017

Dr. Janine Wilson will be the keynote speaker for SITT 2017. Those of you who attended her presentation at DOLCE on May 5th, 2017 know the inspiring and insightful thoughts she has to share from her experience teaching and developing hybrid and online courses. Dr. Janine Wilson has been gracious enough to answer some questions so we could get to know her and her work better before hearing from her at SITT 2017 on September 15th in 6 Olson.

Registration for SITT 2017 is still open. However, priority is given in order of response, so please register as soon as possible.

Bio: Dr. Janine Wilson received her Ph.D. in Economics from UC Davis in 2004. She specialized in international trade, economy history, and public finance. Her research interests currently include improved methods in the teaching of economics and the impact of these methods on various populations. Dr. Janine Wilson’s honors include the Provost’s Hybrid Course Award in 2015.  

Tell us about yourself.
I have been teaching in the Economics Department at UC Davis for 12 years where I teach US Economic History, Public Finance, Economic Development and Labor Economics. Currently, I am the chair of undergraduate studies for the department.

What is the most exciting part of teaching the hybrid course Principles of Microeconomics?
I enjoyed the opportunity to hear students share their ideas and experiences on the topics covered in the course. It was completely different than a typical lecture course where students listen to me but they are not given a chance to share their own knowledge with their peers. So many of our students in the Economics major have had interactions with developing countries that it was such a joy to tap into this resource.

What have been the largest challenges in teaching the hybrid course?
I needed to overcome my prejudices against online learning. My prior experiences with online learning led me to worry that the students would be missing out on learning opportunities when learning is made impersonal. The careful development of the course with instructors from other departments and the Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE) meant that I could use online videos as one of the tools in my toolbox to create significantly better opportunities for student learning. These opportunities actually inspired greater interpersonal interactions with students.

How have you overcome these challenges?
As I said above, careful course development with CEE and instructors from a variety of departments made all the difference.

What inspired you to develop the online course Principles of Microeconomics?
The university said that they wanted this critical course to be offered in an online format and I wanted it to be done in a thoughtful and careful way. This also gave me an opportunity to develop an online video resource with Professor Stimel that could be accessed by all of our majors in future courses.

You have used the eLearning studio and the Learning Glass a lot. What are any tips you would share with instructors using these resources for the first time?
I advise instructors to just try a short film of a topic that is difficult for their students to grasp. Start with just this supplemental material to put on the course website. Once instructors start with just a five minute video, they can decide if it will be a good resource for their courses.

As the keynote speaker at SITT 2017, please tell us about what we can look forward to learning from your presentation.
The world of teaching and learning is changing rapidly as student needs are being altered by the rapidly evolving workforce. The workforce requires graduates who can continue to learn and change and think in a way that differentiates them from a computer. It is our job to drive the acquisition of these skills. I will share my ongoing journey with hybrid and online educational techniques. Not only must we experiment with new techniques but we will need to test the effectiveness of these techniques on giving the students the skills that they need. I look forward to discussing how we used university data and resources to test the success of my course redesign.

What surprising or unusual habits, hobbies, or pastimes would you be willing to share with readers of The Wheel?
I really enjoy planning adventures for my family or groups of families. There is a list on my phone of places I would like to go for the next 8 years that includes quite a few US National Parks and a variety of cities located on four continents. My poor children beg for “relaxing” vacations.

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