Thomas Walker of Newport, Va., associate professor of engineering education in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, received the university's 2008 XCaliber Award.

Established in 1996 by Office of the Provost, the XCaliber Award (shorthand for exceptional, high caliber work) is presented annually by the Virginia Tech Center for Innovation in Learning to recognize individual faculty members or teams of faculty and staff who have made significant contributions towards integrating technology in teaching and learning experiences. The award celebrates innovative approaches to teaching with technology that illustrate student-centered approaches to learning activities. Recipients receive a cash award and are called upon to demonstrate their award-winning work with their colleagues.

The XCaliber Award selection committee noted Walker’s innovative approach to teaching using technology, specifically in using DyKnow software on convertible PCs, creating an effective learning environment appropriate for first-year engineering education courses.

DyKnow software, along with laptops and wireless networking in the classroom or broadband access wherever the participants happen to be, allows students to receive "panels" from the instructor and return them for review, correction, and discussion. Students actively participate in the delivery and development of the learning space experience, even in large classrooms, while instructors obtain continuous indication of the level of student understanding.

Walker received his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and a master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School.

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