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Koutroumpis Selected to Present at 2021 Teaching and Learning Symposium

Peter Koutroumpis, senior lecturer for the Department of Health and Exercise Studies, presented "There's an app for that! The use of technology and journaling to enhance critical thinking and active learning in class" at the 2021 Teaching and Learning Symposium on February 26.

NCSU Belltower.

NC State Office of Faculty Development’s annual Teaching and Learning Symposium brings together NC State faculty and staff to participate in interactive sessions, poster presentations and peer discussions that celebrate teaching and learning. The theme of this year’s symposium was “Celebrating Faculty Success and Resilience.” As part of the symposium, 31 teams of faculty, staff and students presented at a virtual poster session on February 26.

One poster that showcased faculty resilience was presented by Peter Koutroumpis, a senior lecturer for the Department of Health and Exercise Studies. Koutroumpis teaches numerous health and exercise studies course areas at NC State, including Fitness Walking, Golf, Soccer, Basketball and several other fitness and sports courses involving both theory and practice. 

Koutroumpis’s presentation, entitled “There’s an app for that! The use of technology and journaling to enhance critical thinking and active learning in class,” showed other NC State faculty how he was able to integrate smartphone apps into his HESF 102 Fitness Walking class to help students track their progress and use effective teaching and learning theories in the course.

Peter Koutroumpis

Koutroumpis recently answered some questions about his presentation, and its potential to impact its viewers.

In your own words, can you tell us a little bit about what you presented?

The poster presentation was titled: “There’s an app for that! The use of technology and journaling to enhance critical thinking and active learning in class.” The focus was HESF 102 Fitness Walking class and the integration and use of smartphone apps MapMyWalk and MyFitnessPal that enable students to learn course content in relation to Critical and Creative Thinking Behavior and Active Learning theory. By using these apps in class, students can view and analyze their progress daily and over periods of time throughout the course duration. They monitor skills and workout progress, compile workout data into reports, review workout data reports to analyze skills performance for trends, apply theoretical knowledge to adjust workout performance variables, and eventually summarize all data and reflect on performance and overall learning experience in the class as part of a cumulative walking/nutrition log assignment.

What does it mean to you to have the opportunity to share your work in this symposium?

It’s an honor any time you’re afforded the opportunity to share and present to others a perspective in your field and/or how it can be applied. The NC State Teaching and Learning Symposium allowed me to do that. I interacted with faculty members from other disciplines who provided valuable feedback and insight, including a few who graduated from State and had taken Fitness Walking “back in their day.” They were impressed to see how technology like apps were applied to enhance teaching and learning. I really appreciated hearing those perspectives.

What did you ultimately want your audience to get out of your poster presentation?

What we teach in health and exercise studies at NC State and how our faculty presents and teaches the theoretical and practical skills components of our classes follows, as it should, current learning theory. We put that theory into practice, as I like to say constantly, and as affirmed in the literature I highlighted in my poster presentation — specifically a statement from a 2010 U.S. Department of Education literature analysis related to online learning:

“Overall, the available research evidence suggests that promoting self-reflection, self-regulation and self-monitoring leads to more positive online learning outcomes. Features such as prompts for reflection, self-explanation and self-monitoring strategies have shown promise for improving online learning outcomes.”

Illustrating these points as applied to an activity class, brought it full-circle to how physical education, fitness and wellness theory is structured to help students not just do the activity, but think about how and why they are doing it. Critical thinking and active learning skills are needed to do that. Using technological tools like apps and allowing students to do so at their pace in class reinforces what the literature affirms. That’s what we do at State: “Think and Do.”

It’s clear that Koutroumpis and the rest of the health and exercise studies department are demonstrating resilience and finding successes in their teaching methods amid the limitations of COVID-19. For more information on the 2021 Teaching and Learning Symposium and to view Koutroumpis’s poster, visit the event page.