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Ian MacInnes Recognized for Teaching Excellence

School of Information Studies Professor Ian MacInnes received the 2007 Excellence in Online Teaching Award from the Web-Based Information Science Education (WISE) Consortium.

Faculty selected for the award were nominated by one or more WISE students at an institution other than the instructor’s home institution, based on their instructional style in one or more WISE courses taught between Spring 2007 and Fall 2007.

MacInnes taught the online course, Electronic Commerce, which students said exceeded their expectations. “The high standards and the constant feedback provided—through e-mail, telephone, and discussion boards—made it a truly interactive learning experience,” one student’s nomination read.

MacInnes said fostering discussion was his highest priority in designing the course. “I design initial questions for each thread and follow-ups so that they involve gray areas and foster debate,” he says. “There is rarely a single correct response. I avoid providing answers to my own questions because many students would then put greater weight on those and perhaps forget many of the valuable contributions made by others.”

MacInnes, along with six other winners, was recognized
at the WISE pedagogical workshop at annual Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) Conference in Philadelphia. Award recipients have contributed their own ideas for best practices on topics like organization, communication, and use of multimedia formats. These best practices were shared as part of the 4th annual workshop, Best Practices for Online Pedagogy: Preparing WISE Scholars, which took place at ALISE on January 8. The session also included presentations and discussions on WISE quality metrics, designing effective assignments, including group work, evaluating student work and providing feedback, pedagogical pros and cons of new technology, and preparing students for online work, culminating in subject specific breakout sessions.

“The Excellence in Online Teaching Awards are unique because they are the first awards where students from one program vote on a teaching award for faculty at a different university,” says Syracuse University Associate Provost Bruce Kingma, who co-founded the consortium. “Cross-institutional initiatives like this show the growth of WISE as a consortium and provide a forum for the faculty winners to share success stories across all of the member institutions.”

WISE ( was developed to provide faculty training for online pedagogy, establishing standards and metrics for online library and information science (LIS) education; and provide a collaborative marketplace for online LIS courses. Since its inaugural year as an online course-sharing model for masters programs in library and information science (LIS) WISE has welcomed 15 LIS programs from participating colleges and universities around the world, and,
as of December 2007 will have offered 267 online courses to 434 students. WISE pedagogical training caters to both faculty and doctoral students, and is available to WISE members who are interested in advancing their online instruction skills.

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