Innovation grant provides iPads to Missouri S&T writing tutors

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On September 26, 2014

Kate Drowne

Kate Drowne

Kathleen Drowne, director of Missouri S&T’s Writing Center

Thanks to strategic funding from a new grant program at Missouri University of Science and Technology, the Missouri S&T Writing Center will integrate wireless technology into face-to-face student tutoring this fall to streamline the process and improve the learning experience for both students and tutors.

The Writing Center will purchase four iPads with funding from Missouri S&T’s Innovation Grant program. The program supports several elements of Missouri S&T’s strategic plan, which calls on the campus to foster innovation and creativity for faculty, staff, students and administration. The program is designed to seize entrepreneurial opportunities, innovative approaches and “a-ha” moments that are proposed by individuals or groups interested in making a difference at Missouri S&T. This is the first Innovation Grant to be awarded during fiscal year 2015.

Peer tutoring in writing centers nationwide tends to be either entirely technology-free – with students reviewing hard-copy essays – or entirely digital using an online format that sacrifices the benefits of face-to-face tutoring and can be fraught with technological glitches, says Dr. Kathleen Drowne, director of the Writing Center and associate professor of English and technical communication.

“We want to use the best of both approaches, and the iPads we’ve received through the Innovation Grant will make that possible,” Drowne says.

“With iPads, tutors and students will have easy access to digital resources and online applications, and they’ll be able to manipulate these in ways that are awkward or impossible with a desktop computer,” says Jeanine Bruening, assistant director of the Writing Center.

The iPads will also allow students to record both spoken and written elements of a tutoring session for reference as they revise their work.

Missouri S&T’s Innovation Team is co-chaired by Keith Strassner, director of the office of technology transfer and economic development and a Missouri S&T chemistry graduate, and Rose Horton, strategic planning progress manager.

Other members of the Innovation Team are:

Dr. Delbert Day, Curators’ Professor emeritus of materials science and engineering and a Missouri S&T ceramic engineering graduate

Dr. Dennis Goodman, Rolla physician and director of Missouri S&T’s student health services

Greg Smith, chief information officer

Dr. Nancy Stone, chair and professor of psychological science

Joan Woodard, executive vice president emeritus at Sandia National Laboratories, corporate director of PNM Resources, a member of the Missouri S&T Board of Trustees and a Missouri S&T mathematics graduate.

Proposals for Innovation Grants can be submitted throughout the year. The Innovation Team will review each proposal and determine its merit based on expected outcomes and estimated return on investment. Typical project costs are expected to be less than $10,000, however, proposals of higher cost may be considered. Missouri S&T has allocated $75,000 in Innovation Grant funding for the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2015.

For more information or to submit a proposal, visit progress.mst.edu/innovationteam/proposal.

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