Halfmann receives award to support digital media project

September 6, 2017
Kameko Halfmann

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – Dr. Kameko Halfmann, a new assistant professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville who began teaching this fall, recently received the 2017 Instructional Resource Award from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, a division of the American Psychological Association that promotes excellence in the teaching and learning of psychology.

The award, presented to Halfmann and her research partner, Jake Kurczek of Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, included $1,500 to support their project, “Social Psychology: Teaching Scientific Literacy and Public Engagement through Social Media.”

The project, being conducted by Halfmann and Kurczek spring 2017-fall 2018 at UW-Platteville and Loras College, has three main goals: assess student learning and attitudes toward digital and social media in the classroom, help students use digital and social media to create personal learning networks to facilitate lifelong learning and help students take ownership of their digital identities.

“The Department of Psychology is thrilled to welcome Dr. Halfmann and is excited to learn from the research she is conducting,” said Dr. Elizabeth Gates, chair of the Department of Psychology at UW-Platteville.

Halfmann became interested in incorporating digital media into her courses during summer 2016 after taking an online course entitled “#DigPINS,” which stands for Digital Pedagogy, Identity, Networking and Scholarship. Through the course, she realized how students often do not have models for using digital and social media for learning. Providing students with guidance on engaging with social and digital media is especially important now, she said, because knowledge is becoming less centralized and more accessible. Also, helping students take ownership of their digital footprint will benefit them as they begin to apply for jobs because employers often Google search applicants.

“We often think students come in fully equipped to deal with the digital world, but the evidence suggests that isn’t necessarily the case, especially with first generation students who may have had limited access to technology compared to their peers,” said Halfmann. “I’ve seen amazing student work come out of digital projects since I’ve started to add digital and social media in my courses, so I’m excited to continue this work and gain more insight into how to improve these projects.”

Halfmann also will develop blueprints for faculty members to incorporate digital and social media into classes by creating assignment outlines and rubrics for assessment. First, the blueprints will help other faculty members decide if and when they should consider incorporating a digital or social media project into their courses. Second, the blueprints will provide a starting point for the assignments when other faculty members decide to include one of these projects in their course. Halfmann noted that this way, others have a place to begin, rather than reinventing the wheel.

This fall, Halfmann will teach general psychology, research methods courses and courses related to physiopsychology, the biological basis of psychological thought and behavior.

Written by: Laurie A. Hamer, Communications Specialist, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu


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