The Office of the Provost announced its newest student learning initiative, the EduMeme contest. Under the leadership of biomedical engineering professor Donald McEachron, the contest asks students or student teams to submit ideas on how to use technological applications to enhance student learning.
“Faculty often create instructional concepts or pedagogies that serve a certain purpose, but they often work in isolation,” McEachron said. “But I thought that maybe we could tap into [students’] knowledge and cleverness and experience to really create something unique.”
The concept for EduMemes came from Richard Dawkins’ popular coining of the term in his 1976 book “The Selfish Gene.” McEachron cites his definition of a meme, an adaptable cultural concept, as the inspiration for the contest.
“We hope that, based on student use and disuse, and based on student feedback, these memes can change and get better,” he said.
The hope is that students create these memes to assist their fellow students in learning.
“Students know in a much more accurate way what approaches are good for facilitating learning,” McEachron said.
The contest promotes peer tutoring via technology, making it faster, more tailored to the students’ needs, and more accessible.
The contest overseers know, however, that goodwill isn’t enough to get students to submit their ideas. That’s why there’s a cash prize available for winners. The first-place winner will receive $1,500, five second-place winners will each get $500, and 10 third-place winners will each receive $100. Additionally, according to McEachron, prize-winning students can use their memes as senior design projects.
Students are being encouraged to participate regardless of what field they study. “You don’t want just the technical folks to do this,” McEachron said. “The whole idea is to get as broad a background as possible.”
While it might help to have a tech-savvy person on hand, the contest is designed to include everyone at Drexel.
The process for submission is lengthy. Students first fill out idea submission forms, which are due by Dec. 1. These are reviewed by a faculty panel of seven to 10 members. Students whose projects are approved will have until April 1 to create their memes, which will then be judged based on several criteria, including creativity, usability and educational merit.
The idea submission form and more information about the contest can be found at www.drexel.edu/provost/edumemes.