This is the second in a series of faculty profiles in recognition of the fifth anniversary of the MT Engage Quality Enhancement Program.
For some students, general education math and science courses are necessary parts of the schedule for which they have little enthusiasm. For other students, general education English courses fit that description.
“I think what it does do for some students is (to get) them more involved in their entire educational career,” Knox said.
MT Engage, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, is the university’s latest Quality Enhancement Program, or QEP, that seeks to get students actively involved in their college education experience through strategic use of technology, hands-on activities and other techniques to keep them physically and mentally connected in their classes.
QEPs are a requirement for reaccreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. MT Engage builds on the work of the previous QEP known Experiential Learning, or EXL, by engaging freshman and sophomore students as well.
In the Introduction to Literature course, Knox reaches beyond the printed word into the toolbox of digital technology for one assignment.
“I have them create a video in which they select a poem, and they have to do the narration for the video,” Knox said. “They read the poem … to create the narrative soundtrack.”
In Expository Writing, which Knox said is writing based on personal experience and primary research, students keep an ePortfolio. Into this digital repository, they can put pieces of writing, images, video and other “texts.”
The ePortfolio also serves other purposes. The artifacts from it can be repurposed for job applications, scholarship applications and personal learning long after students leave the class.
“They have it for their full academic tenure at MTSU, and they even have access to it for a number of years … after they graduate,” he said.
“I try to make sure that everything I have my Expository Writing students do to be eventually applicable, but they’re going to have to create a new presentation using the Engage template if they decide to pursue the Engage Scholarship.”
The MT Engage Scholarship provides a student with $1,500 per semester for four semesters, providing another incentive for students to become more engaged in their academic endeavors.
Whether on scholarship or not, students in Knox’s classes are involved in a holistic, multimedia learning experience that helps them believe that they, too, can write.
“One of the goals of expository writing in general … is to get students to think about themselves as writers, and MT Engage-style reflection definitely supports that course goal.
“Obviously, I believe in it or I wouldn’t keep doing it,” Knox said.
To find out more about MT Engage, go to https://www.mtsu.edu/mtengage/index.php or send an email to Julie Myatt, MT Engage director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Gina K. Logue (email@example.com)