Jackson State University is leading the way nationally in cyberlearning thanks in large part to Dr. Robert Blaine. He’s among the esteemed faculty at JSU.
A professor of music, former interim associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Blaine is one of only about 20 education professionals worldwide this year to earn the designation Apple Distinguished Educator. He recently added yet another credential to his distinguished list. He is the new special assistant to the provost for Cyberlearning in the Division of Academic Affairs.
Dr. Blaine played a leading role in developing the university’s iPad Technology Advantage Scholarship Initiative, which provides all incoming freshmen with iPads and integrates the devices into the curriculum while tracking students’ learning through an intensive two-year study.
The project, which began last year, is believed to be one of a few of its kind in the U.S. It is made possible through a partnership with the Mississippi e-Center Foundation.
Research leading toward the program began three years ago as the university considered quality enhancement plans as part of reaccreditation.
“The research showed that students who used mobile devices in the curriculum were already generally academically enhanced,” Dr. Blaine says. “The students we needed to reach the most didn’t have access to the technology at first. Now they do.”
Dr. Blaine, who joined the JSU faculty in 2004, has served as director of the Quality Enhancement Plan, a facet of the university’s accreditation through the Southern Association for Schools and Colleges. He also was involved in research a few years ago that gave rise to a plan to improve student learning, Global Education through Analytical Reasoning. The plan called for creation of a learning environment that included newly redesigned courses written as e-texts.
JSU’s iPad scholarship and the recent Cyberleaning Summit in which Dr. Blaine played a leading role, show the university is ahead of the curve when it comes to technology n the classroom, he says.
“I am excited about the development of new, innovative ways to educate our students.”