This award recognizes Muir for his use of technology in enhancing learning and engagement in business communication courses.
“It’s an honor to be recognized for my philosophical view and pedagogical approach to using technology,” Muir said. “My approach is based on the idea that technological tools should be used only to the extent that they enhance teaching and learning outcomes, not for mere exposure to cool software or to play ‘app scotch’ to excite students.”
Muir has been part of the SFA faculty since 2012 and credits the staff members in the Center for Teaching and Learning for training and supporting his technological endeavors.
Muir approaches his courses with a design challenge — meaning he considers the purpose of the course and selects the tasks and tools he should use.
“We have many options in the teaching and learning process, and we have less time and attention spans than ever before. I strive to be astute in developing the courses,” Muir said.
Another way Muir utilizes technology is by creating a reader-friendly syllabus and teaching students design principles in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.
“Students learn to take control of their documents because formatting is important for making a good impression these days,” Muir said.
He designs online courses that are easy to navigate and created in modular form. He also employs interactive sites, discussion boards, business databases, annual reports and more to help his online students better understand the curriculum.
SFA senior Lori McCulloch said she appreciated the way Muir used technology in class and connected the course material to everyday life.
“Dr. Muir went the extra mile to help students be successful and was always prompt in replying to requests for assistance,” McCulloch said.
Additionally, Muir uses podcasts and YouTube videos to showcase the diversity of speakers and presenters in the business environment.
“It is great when we can find examples of effective presentations students can use to guide their own presentations,” Muir said. “To improve their listening and speaking skills, students access various corporate podcasts and then create their own using free online tools. They also create ‘expert’ videos, where they speak with confidence about a workplace issue they’ve researched.”
In both online and face-to-face courses, Muir emphasizes brainstorming, critical-thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, writing, presenting and teamwork skills.
By Kasi Dickerson, senior marketing communications specialist at Stephen F. Austin State University.