Dr. Witte has won a $10,000 grant to assist in funding her study of how college-level teachers are taught to use technology to teach writing.

“To collect data, the research team will be visiting schools that have the College Composition and Communication Writing Program of Excellence Award,” Dr. Witte informed.

Furthermore, the research team will be interviewing faculty as well as undergraduate and graduate students, as well as many other various staff members. “Our goal is to develop a clear picture of the ecology of technology on each campus,” Witte explained.

This project stands out as a large-scale study of professional-development practices in regards to learning how to teach with technology as well as the teaching of writing. Another point of interest is the specific approach the team is taking in new to this area of study. “The goal of the project is to create profiles of successful technology professional development ecologies to show people what works and what doesn’t so others can build more successful models at their own schools,” Dr. Witte stated.

The idea for this project began with Dr. Witte and two other colleagues (Dr. Kerri Haumann and Dr. Stacy Kastner) studying how technology pedagogy instructions are meshed into the PhD syllabus.

Dr. Witte and her colleagues applied for the grant in October. The rules of application required them to write a 5-page document explaining their project. Dr. Witte found this task to be specifically challenging. As many of us students experience in our classes, she and her colleagues were challenged by the short page limit specifically while still finding ways to incorporate all the critical information.

When asked if Dr. Witte and her colleagues were going to create a larger work form their current studies, Dr. Witte replied “The plan is to turn the collected data into a book. Each chapter of the book will be a descriptive profile of a different school we have visited. We also plan to build a website that can offer professional development resources to schools and faculty.”

Dr. Witte and her colleagues have presented their work at many conferences. If many of those cases, their work was met with excitement and interest, which was very rewarding to the team. Dr. Witte also discussed that, “One of the neat things we discovered is that professional development and instruction take many forms and it’s neat to see how people with different contexts (different levels of funding, levels of available tools and materials, numbers of people, etc.) find creative ways to provide professional development.”

The team has been working on the project since 2011 and hopes to see it done by 2019. The project may be extended if the team finds data which brings forth new ideas.

Finally, when asked if Dr. Witte had anything she wanted to say regarding her project she responded “We’ve designed this project to ensure that multiple voices (students, faculty, staff and administrators) are included because we believe that they’re all part of the system we are studying. I’d like to encourage people to participate in other people’s research projects to ensure that as many perspectives as possible are represented.”

Join us in congratulating Dr. Witte on her success and wishing her the best of luck with this study as well as her future endeavors.

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Megan Miller is an English major. She performs as part of the university choir.