Cecilia Tocaimaza-Hatch, Ph.D. and Tara Toscano, MA, faculty members in the College of Arts & Sciences, were recently awarded the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Outstanding Innovation in Teaching with Technology Award. The award was presented virtually at UNO’s 2022 Digital Learning Showcase on May 10, where the two recipients later gave well-attended presentations on remote experiential learning opportunities and on humanizing and effective grading strategies in online courses.
Cecilia Tocaimaza-Hatch is an Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics and MALT Program Chair in the Department of Foreign Languages & Literature. Tocaimaza-Hatch was nominated for substantial online course development at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, particularly in the Master of Arts in Language Teaching (MALT) and in the Heritage/Bilingual concentration in the Spanish major.
Many of her new courses utilize Open Educational Resources (OER) materials and allow for asynchronous interaction between students and guest speakers. Most impressively, her courses often include service learning; for example, graduate students in her courses contributed research and ideas to a virtual walk around Omaha that featured important Civil Rights sites.
Tara Toscano is a Lecturer of Spanish and the Spanish Program Coordinator in the Department of Foreign Languages & Literature. Toscano’s nominations emphasized her leadership in developing the entire Spanish basic course sequence and the Spanish minor online. She has inspired quality online teaching throughout the program and is considered the “go-to” resource in the department for assistance in this area.
Toscano’s courses feature the use of a number of innovative teaching tools, including Flipgrid, Padlet, and Talk-Abroad. She has also created substantial humanizing elements within her courses, such as liquid syllabi, and utilizes OER materials for increased student access and affordability.
About the Award: The Outstanding Innovation in Teaching with Technology Award, sponsored by ITS Digital Learning, is presented each Spring semester to faculty members who have implemented outstanding innovative teaching approaches shown to increase student learning, engagement, and success. Innovative teaching is defined broadly and may include:
- The use of new instructional technologies or the use of traditional technologies in creative way
- The adoption of teaching strategies that scale through the use of technology
- The adoption of tools or integrations that engage students in the learning process
Past Award Recipients:
- 2021 – Melissa Cast-Brede, Ph.D. (CEHHS) and Jody Boyer (CFAM)
- 2020 – Jeff Bredthauer, Ph.D. (CBA)
- 2019 – Erica Rose (CEHHS)
For more information, read the College of Arts & Sciences news release.