Texas Tech University

Most distinguished

Jon Thompson, Ph.D.

Jon Thompson

Jon Thompson, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, received the College of Arts & Sciences Innovative Teaching Award May 5, 2016, during the College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni & Faculty Awards gala, held at The Rawls Course in Lubbock.

The Arts & Sciences Innovative Teaching Award recognizes faculty who have distinguished themselves through innovative and creative approaches to teaching. Their approach to the classroom is original, innovative, and an approach that has had a noticeable and positive effect on the experiences of their students.

In the fall of 2011, Thompson assigned group projects to students enrolled in CHEM 3341, a non-majors course in chemical quantitative analysis. Students were required to write a script and produce a YouTube video that described a topic germane to the course. Knowing that these videos would appear on YouTube, students went to great lengths to produce top-notch videos and were careful about describing the topic they were assigned to explore.

Through the process of making these videos, the students became the experts and teachers. The success of these videos has been phenomenal: They've been watched nearly 210,000 times, a testimony to their popularity, usefulness, and global reach.

Thompson has incorporated these videos into his undergraduate teaching, with impressive results. When he started teaching at Tech in 2008, his course average on the American Chemical Society standardized subject area examination was at approximately the 40th percentile. During the fall 2015 semester, the class average was above the 60th percentile.

Thompson's innovative approach to the classroom has only received praise from students and faculty alike, and his teaching is making a difference.

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