March 8, 2019 | By: Abe Danaher
Just before Ed Gatzke had the chance to begin his modeling and simulation of biomedical systems class Wednesday morning, he was surprised with balloons and one of the University of South Carolina’s most prestigious awards – the Garnet Apple Award for teaching innovation.
Gatzke, an associate professor in the College of Engineering and Computing, received the award for his commitment to his students and for the innovative, new strategies that he uses in his classroom. These strategies include using a flipped classroom to provide his students with more immediate feedback on their work and creating active experiences in experimental labs that give students practical, hands-on learning.
“To develop teaching materials, in a lot of cases, takes a lot of time and effort,” he said after accepting the award. “And this award helps me justify the time that I’ve put into trying to improve the experience for the students.”
Since receiving a Flipped Classroom Grant from the Center for Teaching Excellence in the summer of 2016, Gatzke created a flipped classroom structure where students watch his lectures outside of class and spend class time solving practice problems and completing assessment quizzes. Now, the platform and materials he created are not only used in his own classroom, but also in the classrooms of many other CEC instructors.
“Dr. Gatzke’s energy, innovation and industriousness within the classroom have proven a valuable asset to the Biomedical Engineering Program,” wrote Melissa Moss, director of the biomedical engineering program, in a letter nominating him for the award. “We are lucky to have his contributions in such a critical element of our curriculum.”
The annual Garnet Apple Award honors the university’s “most exceptional faculty who demonstrate a commitment to best teaching practices and an ongoing record of developing innovative strategies to enhance student learning in their courses.”