Barbara Berwin Second Recipient Of Innovation Award

Faculty Recognized For Advancing Learning With Digital U

April 4, 2019


Berwin and GulstadBecause of her inventive and advanced ideas for teaching students at Central Methodist University, CMU Professor of Music Dr. Barbara Berwin was selected as the second recipient of the university’s Innovation Award.

This honor is a newly-created accolade designed to award three faculty members over the course of three months. Last month, Associate Professor of Music Dori Waggoner was the recipient.

The award is designed around Central’s Digital U – an initiative introduced at the university in 2018 that provides undergraduate Fayette campus students with an Apple iPad, loaded with apps and other features to advance skills. Every CMU classroom and lab has an Apple TV, so students and professors can synch their iPads for presentations, file sharing, and other forms of collaboration and learning.

“Digital U is transforming the classroom experience at CMU,” said Vice President for Technology and Planning Chad L. Gaines. “Barbara’s approach is engaging and serves as an example of how Digital U helps our students learn at their own pace.”

Berwin developed a learning game and test-taking technique for an Aural Skills music class using apps including Kahoot, TouchNotation, Notability, and Apple Classroom.

She said there was a great improvement in her overall test-taking strategy, which was to play each music piece three times out loud in a live environment, watch the “faster” students sail through it, and the others struggle with limited hearings. She said students would frequently ask to hear pieces again as the exams came to an end – a process that added frustration for students and took a significant amount of time.

With her innovative idea, each student works at his/her own pace, can listen as many times as necessary, skip around tests to listen again to any question, and avoid distractions and interruptions. They simply use their iPads, Apple pencils, and headphones/earbuds to complete the exam.

Her students gave excellent feedback and were pleased with the new processes.

“These strategies could easily be adopted in other music classes at CMU and other schools of music,” Berwin said. “I know all the students, no matter their ability level, had an opportunity to show me their best work in a conducive environment, telling me exactly what they know and what’s they’re able to do. It’s a game changer for me.”