Campus News Science & Technology

2024 Innovation in AI Teaching Award

New for 2024, the Innovation in AI Teaching Award recognizes UGA faculty members whose exceptional contributions to the integration of artificial intelligence in teaching and learning have had a profound impact on a course, a program, the university, or the larger academic community. This award, presented by the Office of Instruction, aims to celebrate outstanding faculty members who have demonstrated creativity and innovation in leveraging AI technologies to enhance student learning outcomes and academic success. 

John Weatherford, Christopher Gerlach, and Tyler Mazurek (Submitted photos)

John Weatherford, Senior Lecturer
Christopher Gerlach, Academic Professional
Tyler Mazurek, Instructor
New Media Institute, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication

John Weatherford, Christopher Gerlach, and Tyler Mazurek are being recognized for their work in NMIX 4410: New Media Capstone. They have pioneered innovative instructional practices incorporating AI that engage and inspire students, fostering a dynamic learning environment that promotes creativity and critical thinking.

In the capstone, they pair student teams with clients interested in developing real-world applications of generative AIs in their core lines of business. Students were encouraged to leverage generative AIs across all phases of the product design process (research, ideation, iterative development, testing and marketing). For example, students could use AI to generate business names, logos or marketing images. Throughout this process, instructors and students discussed the strengths and weaknesses of generative AIs, the ethical and legal considerations surrounding their use. The student teams developed products, including an integrated marketing tool for startups to help generate unique, tailored social media content on demand; a mobile app that streamlines the research and donation process for community members contributing to nonprofits in the Athens area; a multiplatform brainstorming web tool to jumpstart the writing process for storytelling; and a dynamic guided meditation app that adjusts to user preferences and current points of stress. These gave students a competitive edge as they entered the workforce and capstone students have since landed positions at industry-leading companies.