In 1999, the Center for Instructional Innovation and Assessment at Western Washington University (WWU) conceived of a new kind of web publication, one that spotlighted WWU faculty excellence and innovation, but that also allowed faculty from around the world to read about and adapt these innovations in their own courses. Inspired by the open source movement, showcasees were encouraged to write a portfolio for the general academic audience, so that instructors in other disciplines could adapt these ideas in their own courses. Because of this, selected faculty members were encouraged to be detailed in describing their work, especially in terms of its ability to generalize to other disciplines.
The Showcase was designed as a “one-stop shopping” center, so that interested faculty could learn all the relevant details about each innovative approach. For this reason lesson plans, assignments, syllabi, and other course-associated documents were also published along with the portfolio, as the “how-to” guide. In order to tie this in with the assessment of major skills students should be acquiring in college (writing, critical thinking, quantitative & symbolic reasoning, and information literacy) the Showcase website also featured a section that encouraged faculty to list how their course or innovation met selected learning outcomes in these areas. Each faculty member featured was also interviewed about his or her work, and the interview was edited into a series of short videos that provided supplemental information for Showcase browsers.
This is an archived version of the first showcase that was published at the end of the 1999-2000 academic year. Each year, a new Showcase is published in June for anyone who wishes to use it as a resource. After the second year, it became clear that featuring instructors within themed topics was useful for the nomination process and for organizing the collection of resources.