State Leaders Recognize Murray for Making Textbooks More Affordable
Chancellor Fingerhut (left) and First Lady Strickland present Gordon (Joe) Murray with the award.
The “Faculty Innovator Award” was presented to Murray and nine other University System of Ohio faculty members by Fingerhut and Ohio’s First Lady Frances Strickland. Murray and his colleagues were also recognized with a special resolution passed by the Ohio General Assembly.
“Congratulations Dr. Murray,” said Ohio Senator Tom Sawyer at the ceremony. “Your success in integrating digital content into your courses at all levels is an inspiration to everybody.”
The award is part of the University System of Ohio's efforts to encourage the introduction of digital materials to improve the learning experience for students while making textbooks more affordable.
Murray is one of 10 Ohio professors to earn the award. Recipients receive $1,000 from the Ohio Learning Network Investment Fund to further developments in digital integration.
Among the winners were two Kent State Ph.D.s: Carl Stitz, now a professor of mathematics at Lakeland Community College, and Jeff Zeager, now an associate professor of mathematics at Lorain County Community College.
Murray teaches nonlinear video editing, cybermedia design and multimedia techniques for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State.
“Technology enriches the learning process when it is integrated thoughtfully, strategically and systematically within the traditional context of teaching,” Murray says.
As the former director of the New Media Center, Murray worked regularly with students, faculty and administrators to establish strategies and objectives to support teaching, learning and research in higher education.
Murray created the award-winning online magazine, Stories That Fly. The magazine allows students to practice and develop narrative nonfiction and multimedia stories for an online audience.
As a professor and researcher, Murray has a strong interest in reinventing the journalism curriculum to help students prepare for the future.
Many journalism schools are responding slowly to the changes in the industry, Murray says, but “Kent State’s faculty are very receptive to integrating media convergence across the curriculum.”
Three years ago, Murray replaced textbooks for his courses with online video tutorials from Lynda.com, a website designed to help people learn software applications and apply digital tools.
Students in Murray’s classes still learn through interaction with the professor. Technology supplements lectures as it’s needed, he says.
“Given a choice, I would always choose to be taught by a heart and a mind,” Murray says. “I believe in a hybrid approach to learning that leverages technology — but doesn’t rely on it as a comprehensive solution.”
Murray’s students take tests online. The system allows students to see grades instantly.
The online tutorial subscription costs students about $37 for access to more than 100 hours of video in five different but related software applications. The videos are presented as short, two- to three-minute tutorials to make them more easily digested.
“The multimedia tutorials provide a means to accommodate the different learning styles of my students,” Murray says. “Online resources facilitate greater learner control.”
Students also have access to experts on the website at any time, day or night. The restructuring of the courses allowed Murray to replace textbooks that used to cost each student $80 to $100 per course.
The Journal of Media Education recently published an article Murray authored about reinventing the journalism curriculum. He was invited by Rhodes University to present the paper in July as a delegate to the World Journalism Education Congress in South Africa.
Murray earned a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Kent State. He has studied the effects of television and media on preadolescent artistic performance and creativity. Currently, he is researching media convergence and the curriculum and the relationship of digital storytelling with the public understanding of science.
By Tyler Norris
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