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Christi Culpepper, a graduate teaching associate in psychology, has a big idea that will make her class a little friendlier.

Culpepper teaches Psychology 110, a class of mostly freshmen, and noticed that many of her students did not know anyone else in the class. This semester, she’s putting her students into groups and designing discussion areas on Blackboard so they can talk and get to know each other. She’s also posting videos of her lectures and putting materials online that coincide with topics she covers in class.

She won a GTA@OIT grant that has allowed her to implement her new ideas.

GTA@OIT grants are awarded twice annually to graduate teaching assistants or associates who have sole responsibility for teaching a class and want to enhance their teaching using Online@UT tools. To apply, interested individuals must submit a proposal about how they would redesign their class. Winners receive $1,000 for travel or other purposes and work with an IT graduate student assistant mentor to implement their redesign ideas.