Notes from 60 Small Changes for Big Classroom Impact #eli2015

Notes from “60 Small Changes for Big Classroom Impact” presented by Jerzy “George” Jura, Director of Academic Technology at the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Nursing, at the 2015 ELI Annual Meeting.

“Even the most sophisticated technology is useless, if people who could benefit from it don’t know how to use it effectively”

Faculty Development

Three purposes/functions:

  • Find people, time, and money – develop technology skills of faculty and students
  • Come up with ideas for feasible, pedagogically sound, and practical applications of technology that enhance student learning
  • Bridge the distance from “Very cool. I might even try it sometime.” to “Let’s try it NOW

Active Learning

School of Nursing moved to new building with NO lecture halls, needed to support faculty in working on new active learning teaching style

New program:

  • Gave faculty an iPad mini (b/c they are cheap and faculty love them)
    • Wanted to see faculty use iPad for everything (calendar, mail, teaching) but implemented them to distribute an eBook
  • Faculty read Make it Stick
  • Met 8 times, once for each chapter, about 1 – 1.5 hours
  • 15 faculty permitted (to keep group size small for discussion-purposes and to limit budget)
  • Faculty required to attend 5 of the 8 meetings (signed an agreement, which led to most attending at least 4)
  • Asked faculty to find 4 small things to change this year (no delays) and share with the discussion group
    • This multiples to 60 small changes across 15 faculty

Unanticipated benefits

  • Shift toward a culture of innovation
  • Awareness of innovation
  • Increased discussion


  • Pick a book on evidence based teaching (focus on practical)
    • Recommendation: Creative Conspiracy (Leigh Thompson)
  • Regular meetings & space to discuss
  • Written commitment to participation
  • Written commitment to implementing changes
  • Oral commitment to sharing both successes and failures

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