Congratulations to Dr. Brad Hughes, recipient of the 2017 Instructional Technology Innovation Award

2017 COT Instructional Technology Award
May 4, 2017 UCI Celebration of Teaching

Shohreh Bozorgmehri
Director of the Student and Academic Services Division
Office of Information Technology

I am very pleased to present the 2017 Instructional Technology Innovation award. This award is given annually to an instructor who makes innovative use of technology to enrich their students’ experience. This year’s winner is Dr. Brad Hughes, from the Francisco Ayala School of Biological Sciences in the department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, as well as, an affiliated faculty, with the School of Education and the department of Drama in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts.

As a leader in STEAM (STEM and Arts combined), he has been initiating a number of innovative projects aimed at using the arts and technology to help teach sciences. These new elements have been incorporated into his lectures to make learning more meaningful, interactive, and engaging. I would like to quote one excerpt from Dr. Hughes’s nomination letter written by Professor Fan Hung:   “During the past year, Dr. Hughes has developed noteworthy instructional technology innovations. These innovations have the potential to revolutionize the way faculty present lectures.”

Dr. Hughes has transformed the core biology course for Ecology and Evolution (E106) by producing novel “Flyover Videos”.  A Flyover Video, a term coined by Dr. Hughes, leverages videos to make concepts more accessible, with animations, voiceovers, visuals and music. By separating Audio and Video processing demands, cognitive load on the learners is reduced, while effectively pre-training students efficiently before they read the course text.

Students report that their learning is more enjoyable and concentrated than other methods. Student reaction has been clearly positive: they really like “flyover videos”. Students’ comments and feedback include:  “… I was skeptical  at first, but the material really stuck better and was easier to study… ” . Another student says: “…the flyover videos … are amazing”. Dr. Hughes doesn’t stop at just implementing a new method or idea. He thoughtfully experiments with it by using it in one lecture section but not in the other, then closely comparing outcomes, and students’ comments, between the two versions of the course.

Dr. Hughes has proven that he is committed to a continuing cycle of improvement in his teaching practices, and to look for ways to use media and technology to increase students’ understanding and retention of information. Please join me and the Office of Information Technology in congratulating Dr. Hughes on his outstanding innovative efforts to help students succeed.