Eun Hee Kim, Chin-Hung Chang and Sara Owsley Sood have been named the 2024 recipients of the Alumnae of Northwestern University’s Award for Curriculum Innovation.
Kim and Chang plan to enhance Korean and Chinese language learning with a conversational chatbot that will help students practice outside the classroom, while Sood will work with fellows to create ethics modules to embed in the Computer Science curriculum.
Administered by the Office of the Provost, the award recognizes and supports faculty who have innovative ideas for new courses, methods of instruction and components of existing classes.
The award comes with $12,500 in funding to be split among expenses for development of the innovation, stipend for the awardee and the faculty member’s home department. The three recipients will be recognized during a reception in the spring.
Chatbots for Korean and Chinese classes
Their curricular innovation responds to growing student interest in learning Asian languages. They will develop a customized conversational chatbot to create more extensive practice with the target language outside of the classroom.
This interactive technology will be a powerful tool for facilitating language learning for second-year Korean and Chinese language students, equipping them with scaffolded practice with newly learned vocabulary, grammar and expressions and laying the foundation for effective engagement in diverse cultural communities.
Kim has been teaching Korean for eight years. Her research interests include the investigation of innovative pedagogical approaches within language education settings. Her current research centers on the effectiveness of the use of collaborative tasks for language learning.
Chang has been teaching Chinese for 15 years. Her research interests include the intersection of technology and language learning. Her current research focuses on prompting in generative AI and informal language learning using technology.
Ethics in the computer science curriculum
Sara Owsley Sood is a professor of instruction and associate chair for undergraduate education in the McCormick School of Engineering.
Her curricular innovation project was inspired and led by student interest in raising awareness about the need to consider the ethical implications of technology. In 2022, a team of mentors and fellows created the Northwestern University Tech Ethics Initiative, which has been developing an open-access resource hub with curricular artifacts that encourage both students and instructors to reflect on their power, position and agency from a technology perspective.
Sood will work with the fellows to create ethics modules that can be embedded across the Computer Science curriculum to encourage majors and minors to develop a habit of reflecting on the implications of their code. The fellows will also support the implementation of the modules in a variety of computer science courses.
Sood has been teaching computer science since completing her Ph.D. at Northwestern in 2007. She was an assistant and then associate professor at Pomona College until 2014, when she returned to Northwestern as faculty in Computer Science. Her teaching interests include introductory programming and artificial intelligence.