Congratulations to Ms. Clare van Holm, who has received the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and Online Education 2021 Part-Time Instructor of the Year award!
Ms. van Holm first taught for the Department of Religious Studies as a Graduate Teaching Assistant while in the MA program. In 2016, she received the Outstanding GTA Award from the department, and the following semester taught as a part-time instructor. In the fall of 2018, she began offering 3000-level courses on religion and health. Ms. van Holm developed these classes, including one on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and they led to the creation of a new course in the department! Since 2018, she has been teaching exclusively online from her home in New Orleans, LA, and her interest in pedagogy and dedication to student learning has led her to incorporate innovative online teaching approaches into her courses.
From details like including a list of learning objectives in each module, to low-risk "pre-tests" aimed to jump-start students' metacognition, to the thoughtful incorporation of professionally-produced videos that incorporate the voices of people from religious communities into the class, Ms. van Holm has thought through every aspect of how she might best present information to students in an online environment. Her methods of assessment are just as thoughtful.
This year, Ms. van Holm’s work extended to include a Scholarship on Teaching and Learning project aimed at engaging students in group work and small group discussions. Ms. van Holm is co-PI on an IRB-approved Scholarship on Teaching and Learning project aimed at exploring the impact of a specific type of group work on student learning and connection. Over the course of the 2020-2021 academic year, she conducted research evaluating the effects of small synchronism online discussions (SSODs) in relation to concept clarity, student accountability, and peer connection within online learning environments. SSODs are student-led discussions (5-6 students) that meet six times over the course of the semester and are used in place of traditional asynchronous discussion forums. In the study, six sections of RELS 2001, “Intro to Religious Studies,” were split into a treatment and control group. Preliminary results show that students in SSODS felt significantly more (p<=.01) connected and supported during the class than students in discussion boards.
Ms. van Holm’s dedication to excellence in teaching and learning are truly outstanding. Congratulations on receiving this university award!