Oct. 25, 2018
Teacher wins national award for online course development
Upper St. Clair High School Science Teacher Douglas Petrick has been selected as a 2018 WileyPLUS Nexty Award Winner in the category of Best Overall Course.
Upper St. Clair High School utilizes the WileyPLUS course management software for the school’s Advanced Placement Physics 1 course. Originally developed by Mr. Petrick and John Irwin, a retired teacher and USC Halls of Fame Inductee, the course supplements the traditional classroom experience.
“Before the district implemented the 1-to-1 initiative, my mentor John Irwin and I had a lot of discussions about different ways to customize learning based upon emerging technologies. As a result, we have been using WileyPLUS for the past seven to eight years.,” Mr. Petrick said. “The school district was very supportive of seeing the vision for the future when we adopted WileyPLUS, and John Irwin was instrumental in understanding the value of this type of shift in education."
The Best Overall Course Award recognizes instructors who have developed exemplary courses that are evaluated on four major areas: course design, assessment, integration of adaptive practice, and overall usage metrics.
“Each year I have tried to improve the educational experience a little bit more for the students. Although the award is for 2018, I would view it as a continually evolving course,” Mr. Petrick said. “I use feedback from the students, professional judgement and technology shifts from WileyPLUS to customize the course. As a result, this course may look slightly different from 2017 to 2018, but very different from 2013 to 2018.”
WileyPLUS provides customization and various ancillary items and interventions that help improve the experience for students. Some of these items are hints for problems, links to the text book as well as tutorials for specific problems.
“It gives the teacher flexibility to assign problems based upon the needs of the students. It helps students focus on not just the content, but soft skills – which are so important to STEAM initiatives – such as problem solving, collaborative work, communication verbal/written, and cultivating a growth mindset,” Mr. Petrick said. “Students have also learned time management skills and become more independent as learners from the shift.”
According to Mr. Petrick, one of the most important aspects of developing an effective online course is taking a student-centered approach.
“The first and number one concern should be how does this improve the experience for the students. If all decisions are made based upon setting up an environment that helps the educational process, you cannot go wrong,” he said. “Additionally, how does technology help improve the experience? What specifically will having something online do that improves the course? Last but not least, how does this modify the role of the educator? What training or best practices will the educator refer to throughout the process. It's important to remember that the teacher-student dynamic is something that we should focus on whenever designing a course.”
This year marks the first-ever Nexty Awards. Mr. Petrick was informed of his award by Nicole Dingley, vice president of customer success.
“We recognize that educational technology is just a tool to help you meet your teaching goals, and that it takes a creative, thoughtful, committed instructor to craft an outstanding course,” Ms. Dingley wrote. “You’ve done precisely this; we are so pleased that WileyPLUS was a part of your process.”
The full list of the Nexty winners will be announced during the fall WileyPLUS Symposium on Friday, Nov. 2. Winners will be announced in five categories: Best Overall Course Award, Best Online Course Award, Student Impact Award, Best Multi-Section Course Award, and the WileyPLUS Next Gen Partnership Award. Learn more about the awards online.
In addition to using WileyPLUS for the AP Physics course, Mr. Petrick serves as a content contributor to The Wiley Network – creating blogposts and podcasts. The content focuses on instructional strategies, methods to motivate students and ideas for educators from the high school and college levels.
“My editor at Wiley, Chris Ruel, has been a fantastic mentor to help me find my voice as a writer and podcaster,” Mr. Petrick said. “Administration has been very supportive in encouraging me to think beyond my own classroom and grow as an educator.”
Check out some of Mr. Petrick’s work:
- 5 Tips to Increase Classroom Participation: Podcast Episode 1
- Professional Learning Communities: What’s In It for Me?
Mr. Petrick says that he is humbled to receive any award and is proud of his affiliations with WileyPLUS and Upper St. Clair School District.
“It's fantastic to work in a district like Upper St. Clair. I feel supported as a teacher to try new things to grow as an educator like the implementation of WileyPLUS or contributing content to The Wiley Network,” he said. “Administration, staff and students have created a positive environment and all these things have helped me grow a little bit each year. It's fun to think about the future.”
In addition, Mr. Petrick cites his family’s continued support of his endeavors as key to his success. He resides in Upper St. Clair with his wife, Kinley, and their three children Kaia, Kenzie and Declan.
WileyPLUS is a research-based online environment for effective teaching and learning. Those enrolled can access a wide range of content, including online courses, self-study tools, online textbooks and assessment questions.