Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds joined about 20 University of Iowa students for a crash course on medical devices for treating cardiovascular disease—and an introduction to new facilities that are changing how UI faculty teach.
Branstad and Reynolds visited campus March 8, hosted by UI Student Government President Nic Pottebaum and other UISG leaders. Their first stop: the TILE classroom in Trowbridge Hall.
TILE stands for “Transform, Interact, Learn, Engage,” and UI assistant professor of biomedical engineering Sarah Vigmostad was on hand to show exactly what TILE facilities have meant for her and her students.
In traditional college lecture halls, she noted, teacher-student interaction doesn’t stretch far beyond the first row. Students don’t interact with each other, either.
UI TILE stats
6 — number of TILE rooms in use (and another soon to open)
4,447 — students who’ve taken a TILE-based class
321 — TILE courses offered since 2010
75 — faculty trained in inquiry-guided teaching methods for which TILE facilities are designed
With round tables, open spaces, and no lecterns, TILE classrooms change that. “In a room like this,” Vigmostad says, “you learn from each other rather than from me.”
To illustrate the point, she asked small groups of students—as well as the governor and lieutenant governor—to examine medical devices at their tables, establish their uses, and determine how they might be introduced to the body. At the end of the exercise, the groups taught each other what they’d learned.
“This is a great way to learn,” Branstad told the class. “We thought there was no way the device we had could be inserted through a catheter, but we discovered it can.”
Jean Florman, director of the Center for Teaching, says the UI is becoming a model for TILE education. “We not only provide rooms like this,” she says. “We also help faculty learn how to use them in this way.” She also emphasized that faculty and students from eight colleges and 37 departments—from the sciences, to business, to the humanities—currently use the rooms.
Branstad and Reynolds went on to tour the future home of the Main Library Learning Commons, which will open this fall, and to tour the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. They also met with student leaders and faculty and staff representatives.