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Jennings spearheads use of latest technology in teaching
By Courtney Mendenhall
Dr. Sam Jennings, an associate professor in the School of Communication, approaches teaching in a very tech savvy way by incorporating the newest technology in his courses.
This semester Jennings has been teaching two web production courses and an interactive media course for graduate students. Students in the web production courses have been using mobile websites such as Wordpress and SMS.
Jennings says that students can learn how to create management systems similar to Desire 2 Learn (D2L). Students work on interactive simulations that are updated every year and can be used on smartphones, tablets, or IPads.
Jennings says, "Employers typically show a great deal of interest in hiring students who have been through these courses. This is the primary recognition that I am seeking."
Students have also been working with Google Analytics and learning new plugins on SEOs (Search Engine Optimizations). Students are also learning how to use backups. Jennings says, “I give them a chance to play with new plug-ins, new ones pop up like every week.”
Some of the analytics that his classes are using are Trace My IP, Kiss Metrics, Piwik and Woopra.
Jennings says at some point he will have students completing a Google Analytics Certification since it is free.
“Analytics is going to be a big area for big data. A lot of professionals recommend getting the Google Certifications. It will help with any field you’re going into,” Jennings says.
Jennings, who has been teaching at Radford University for 12 years, has received outstanding external recognition for his advanced use of technology in the classroom. He has also taught computer science at the high school and community college levels, and is certified to teach K-12 computer science in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Beyond teaching, Jennings is an experienced webmaster, system engineer, and eLearning consultant for different organizations in, among other areas, health care, local government, law enforcement and technical schools.
Jennings earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology and computer science from Mary Baldwin College. His master’s degree is in instructional technology from Virginia Tech. He also has a doctorate in instructional design from Virginia Tech.