For the second year in a row, a Medicine Hat College instructor will be taking home the hardware at the Alberta Colleges & Institutes Faculties Association’s spring conference. Dr. Marla Middleton Freitag, an instructor in the division of business, has won the association’s 2011 Innovation in Teaching Award.
The award is presented annually to faculty in recognition of their creative and innovative teaching methods that lead to improved student learning. Middleton Freitag’s project, titled "Writing Project Possible," enabled students in her Office Communications II course to earn real-world skills in business writing while assisting several college departments.
Eight different MHC employees requested a project from the teams of students, many of whom were video recorded. This enabled the students to see the clients first-hand and learn more about the project from the source. Each team of students then completed each of the eight projects, with the client/employee choosing the winning entries at the end. Winning entries were then used in college activities such as an event registration package, various invitations, letters and posters.
"The videos of clients requesting the projects made the connection with students, and that made a difference," said Middleton Freitag. "I will continue the program in future classes; it worked. It’s a win-win situation."
Middleton Freitag also said that these real-life projects gave the students important experience they can’t always get out of a book.
"I wanted them to appreciate that writing is important; that grammar’s important," she said. "And the administrators seemed to appreciate the high quality products that came out of this project."
Jacquie Penner, dean of business at MHC, said that the ACIFA award is well-deserved.
"Dr. Freitag is continually striving to enhance the office technology program," she said. "To be recognized with such a prestigious award shows us yet again what fine educators we have at MHC."
Middleton Freitag will soon attend the spring conference in Banff and give a presentation to her provincial colleagues about Project Possible. She will also be awarded with $1500, and another $500 will be awarded to the MHC Faculty Association.
In 2010, the award went to Glen Allan, another instructor in MHC’s division of business.
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