Congratulations to Emuel Aldridge: Innovative Faculty Grant Recipient

2 October 2013

The NMI’s very own Emuel Aldridge was the recipient of an Innovative Faculty Grant this summer. The purpose of this type of grant is to provide a special opportunity for faculty to improve or re-design curricula or course materials; Aldridge was one of ten faculty members chosen to receive this particular grant. This summer, he got to work generating new material that he had wanted to tackle for a while, but had limited resources to do so.

The purpose of the New Media Institute is to equip students with the skills necessary to implement and utilize new media outlets and tools. As technology is such a rapidly changing field, one can imagine the problem of keeping the curriculum up to date. All too often instruction lags behind current technology trends. This grant enabled a rewrite of the NMIX 4110 ‘cookbook’, to add a large new section on coding.

Aldridge sees coding skills as foundational in the current technology environment: “A student with the ability to code is more empowered to do creative work than a student who lacks this ability. Coding skills, once learned, are transferable. If students learn basic JavaScript coding, for example, they will find it much easier to learn a new language such as PHP.”

Another innovation that Aldridge was able to begin implementing will encourage self-paced learning and the acquisition of new skills: Merit Badges. Currently, NMIX 4110 is a class that offers material appropriate for all skill levels. A Merit Badge is similar to a certification of particular skills; a merit badge in basic Jquery coding, for example, would certify that a student has reached an entry level of mastery in knowledge and implementation of that language. New Media students already receive a Certificate at the end of their course work that certifies their familiarity with New Media technologies. However, these merit badges go one step further to indicate the specific skills that a student has demonstrated mastery of in their course work.

We are very proud of the work Emuel has done to make something that works, work better.