News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Daniel Wackershauser, Marketing Specialist
Phone: 608.822.2303
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date of Release: January 2, 2019

DRA grant helps equip new Teaching and Learning Studio

Fennimore -

These are exciting times for Innovative and Alternative Learning Department (IALD) Director Kim Maier and her staff at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College. New and expanded programs give Maier many ways to grow her department’s reach and a new state-of-the-art Teaching and Learning Studio is designed to increase student success and increase student access to education.

The Teaching and Learning Studio, made possible in part by a grant from the Dubuque Racing Association (DRA), will also give faculty an advantage as it will allow course delivery that meets the needs of a diverse student population by leveraging audio, visual and kinesthetic learning styles.

In a nutshell, the Teaching and Learning Studio is an advanced platform space that allows for sharing of information in an online and highly interactive environment, Maier says. “Southwest Tech makes high-quality, affordable education accessible to diverse populations of people,” Maier said. “Southwest Tech helps students develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for workforce success.”

Working with Heath Ahnen, director of information technology services (ITS), and Dan Imhoff, director of facilities, at Southwest Tech, Maier has purchased the necessary equipment to turn a standard room on campus into a high-tech space which allows for new and better ways to serve the student population. The Southwest Tech Foundation is also involved, as Foundation staff worked with Maier to submit the grant request to the DRA. IALD is responsible for the successful implementation of the Teaching and Learning Studio.

The space is designed to make it very user friendly for faculty, staff and students. “We designed it in order to minimize technology getting in the way of teaching and learning,” Ahnen said.

“The financial support of the Dubuque Racing Association was critical for this project getting off the ground,” said Southwest Tech Foundation Executive Director Holly Clendenen. “We are excited to see the possibilities this facility will bring with it and the new and exciting ways our college will serve its constituents.”

This collaboration makes it possible for students to benefit from audio and visual methods being introduced in educational material, thus resulting in a higher retention of the material. “This retention will be demonstrated in their respective grades on tests and assignments,” Maier said. “In addition, completion rates will increase and if a student is successful, they are more likely to finish their degrees, increasing enrollment opportunities.”

Add to this the advantages for Southwest Tech staff in its collective ability to deliver to students a variety of learning tutorials on topics like time management, course navigation, resource access and job search preparation and you have the ability to build community, which today’s students seek.

“The Teaching and Learning Studio is a solution to building community and providing different teaching and learning opportunities for success,” Maier added. “There are many opportunities in this win-win-win environment.”

“Recording lectures allows instructors to deliver content to the various styles of learning.” For instance, auditory learners make up approximately 30 percent of the student population. “This means teaching formats that include lectures or discussions play to the strength of the auditory learner because these learners rely on what was said, rather than what was read or seen.

All recordings are closed captioned for the audio-disabled learners. “Faculty often ask students to create projects to demonstrate their proficiency, thus the Teaching and Learning Studio would be used by students as well to record speeches, demonstrations and group projects.”

The DRA grant documents suggest employers who hire Southwest Tech graduates will benefit from the Teaching and Learning Studio because the graduates will be prepared to work in environments that require collaboration and use of technology. ”The grant from the DRA allows “high-tech state-of-the-art equipment to be purchased and included in the new Teaching and Learning Studio. A recording studio is a highly-desired and needed space on campus to not only accommodate student requests but also to allow faculty the tools they need to deliver curriculum in a variety of modes.”

“The DRA grant helped us jump-start the project and helped us purchase the equipment needed to make the Teaching and Learning Studio special,” Clendenen added. The remainder of the funds were supplied by Southwest Tech.

Southwest Tech was recently named the top two-year trade school in Wisconsin and No. 13 in the nation among more than 700 colleges ranked by Forbes.



Dennis Cooley

Public Relations Manager

(608) 822-2747

Posted in For District Board, Information Technology