Innovative Uses of Technology in Teaching Award
- Trefor W. Bazett, Ph.D
Assistant Professor, Educator, Mathematical Sciences
McMicken College of Arts & Sciences
Trefor W. Bazett’s style of teaching is to show, don’t tell.
The assistant professor of mathematical sciences uses a flipped classroom in which students watch his custom instructional videos on their own time and practice what they learn in the classroom with Bazett and their peers.
Bazett is the winner of this year’s Innovative Uses of Technology in Teaching Award.
Bazett uses Lightboard, green screen and other tools to produce videos to talk his way through math problems while solving them in front of the student viewer. The image is reversed, which makes it look like Bazett is writing backwards. This tactile, visual demonstration helps students grasp complicated subjects. The weakest students get the most benefit of this system, he said.
And since the videos are posted to a public site, they are available to a global audience.
“You can pause, think, rewind and work on it at your own pace. Using video is an effective way to lower the barriers,” he said.
Shuang Zhang, head of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, said Bazett shared his approach with other faculty.
“He is quite passionate about his teaching career and very dedicated,” Zhang wrote in his nomination letter.
U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Eric Western, a UC math student, said his time is limited because of his military and family obligations. In Bazett’s class, Western was able to study the coursework on his own and use class time to master the material in a comfortable group setting.
“This focus on doing and reviewing the work together was immensely beneficial,” Western said.
Students sometimes describe math as a subject beyond their understanding. But Bazett believes these skills can be learned like any other.
“Society sometimes suggests it’s more innate than learned. But if you actually do math every day, it changes your attitudes that math is something you’re fundamentally good or bad at,” he said. “It’s not some impossible task.”