Susan Bowers, Melissa Clucas-Walter, and Florensia Surjadi

About the Team

Susan Bowers

Associate Professor
School of Family & Consumer Sciences
College of Health & Human Sciences

Melissa Clucas Walter

Assistant Professor
School of Family & Consumer Sciences
College of Health & Human Sciences

Florensia Surjadi

Associate Professor
School of Family & Consumer Sciences
College of Health & Human Sciences

Course(s) Targeted by this Innovation

HDFS 231: An Observational Approach to the Study and Assessment of Young Children
HDFS 331: Inclusive Program Planning for Infants, Toddlers, and Their Parents
HDFS 439: Infant Development in the Family: Typical and Atypical
HDFS 441: Infant and Child Mental Health and Resiliency

Purpose and Impact

The target courses for this innovation are HDFS 231, 331, 439, and 441. These courses, all in the child development emphasis in Human Development and Family Sciences, support a wide range of students from freshman to senior level. The courses include, among others, students specifically enrolled through the early childhood incumbent workforce project (ECACE) and students who are transferring to NIU through Illinois articulation agreements. Thus, the child development course cluster impacts a significant portion of HDFS students, many of whom commute or telecommute to NIU from around Illinois, including ECACE students who are taking their entire program online. All courses in the cluster are required for the parent-infant specialist emphasis and are foundational to student success in child development careers, including students’ attainment of Illinois early childhood workforce credentials.

Regarding impact, the primary strength of the innovation is its ability to help students connect online learning with the quality environment demonstrated in our on-campus lab (the Child Development and Family Center). Many students who are working at centers around Illinois have limited access to examples of high-quality child care environments and would benefit from this initiative which makes such access more equitable. In addition, a key desired effect is to enhance reflective thinking in order to develop more robust student understandings.

Description of Innovation

Briefly, the innovation consists of creating an immersive 360-degree virtual tour of one (empty) room of the Child Development and Family Center and a brief module introduction. After accessing the visual tour, students will be able to walk through different areas of the room as they are set up and ready for quality experiences for young children.

Instructors and professors will be able to utilize the tour in many ways including, but not limited to, critique of materials; what-if discussions; DEI discussions; teaching about adaptive and multi-use materials; and examination of Illinois state regulations for childcare physical environments. Students will benefit from a readily-accessible and interactive learning tool.

Contact Us

Center for Innovative
Teaching and Learning

Phone: 815-753-0595

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