Gitner Award for Innovation in Teaching with Technology: Past Awardees
2021 Gitner Award Winner
Binyomin Abrams, a master lecturer of chemistry, demonstrates a commitment to making his courses accessible for students at all levels of chemistry knowledge and to leveraging technology to help ensure their preparedness. Since 2010, he has produced over 80 instructional videos exploring foundational concepts for students with limited prior experience in his general chemistry courses. These videos are released immediately before class, and illustrate an impressive, real-time integration of technology throughout the semester.
Upon learning from an assessment that students were consistently struggling with the transition from general chemistry to organic chemistry, Dr. Abrams sprang into action. In collaboration with colleagues, he developed OrgoPrep 2.0, a free, hybrid, six-week program for BU students that is designed to strengthen skills and logically bridge information between General Chemistry 2 and Organic Chemistry 1. The program blends self-paced learning using video modules and live interactive Zoom webinars.
At the heart of OrgoPrep 2.0 are engaging, question-embedded videos, which Dr. Abrams and his colleagues meticulously researched and have found to prepare students far more effectively than textbooks. The result: OrgoPrep students are four times more likely to successfully complete Organic Chemistry 1 and not drop the course.
Dr. Abrams’s transition to the Learn from Anywhere modality during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic further illustrated his technological ingenuity. When social distancing requirements made in-person labs all but impossible, Dr. Abrams organized a revamping of lab areas, outfitting them with high-definition webcams, wireless headsets, and computers that could be used as digital whiteboards to allow for remote participation. This drive to go the extra mile for his students is reflected in Dr. Abrams’s class evaluations, which consistently cite his enthusiasm and gift for making content-rich lectures both informative and entertaining.