Christopher Clarke selected for Oaks Academic Technology Award

Closeup of Christopher Clarke.
Christopher Clarke

Christopher Clarke, an assistant professor in the School of Economic Sciences at Washington State University, has been awarded the 2024 Oaks Academic Technology Award. The annual award, sponsored by WSU Global Campus, honors faculty members for their innovative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning.

Clarke earned the award for his innovative use of high-quality instructional videos, which he shares with students via platforms like YouTube and TikTok. Over the years, Clarke has produced 50 instructional videos for his online class, and hundreds of short, educational, TikTok videos, attracting over 48,000 followers and gaining millions of views.

“In today’s world, many things compete for our attention, and the demand for high-quality educational videos from educators has never been higher,” Clarke stated. “I hope my efforts help increase WSU’s presence in our society.”

Clarke’s approach leverages short-form video formats to engage younger students who increasingly seek information through social media.

“Chris’s videos engage students,” said Jill McCluskey, director of the School of Economic Sciences. “He draws them in to think about and understand how economics affects their lives and the larger world around them.”

His videos, created with software typically used by online influencers, are designed to be both engaging and informative.

“Teachers need to meet students where they are. Students and the public increasingly consume information through videos and social media,” Clarke noted. “Public universities play a role in education both in and outside the classroom, and I’m excited to participate in that broader conversation.”

Clarke prioritizes accessibility in his videos by audibly describing visual elements and ensuring closed-captioning and other technical accessibility measures are in place.

The Oaks Award is named in honor of WSU Dean Emeritus Muriel Oaks and provides $3,000 in faculty development funds to the recipient’s academic department. Clarke expressed gratitude for the recognition, saying, “It is an honor to see teaching recognized by the university. The student experience is our number one priority.”

WSU faculty members may nominate themselves or their colleagues for the Oaks award. The winner is selected by a committee consisting of representatives from the provost’s office, the faculty senate, the WSU Teaching Academy, WSU libraries, and Global Campus, as well as a previous award winner.

Muriel Oaks, a pioneer and visionary for WSU from 1979 to 2010, was known for her contributions to distance education. She recognized emerging learning technologies as opportunities to support the land-grant mission, expand access to WSU education programs, and enhance the quality of the student experience. Under her leadership, WSU was one of the first universities in the country to offer video-based distance education courses. She later led the transition to fully online program offerings.

To view some of these educational videos, visit Clarke’s YouTube playlist or Clarke’s TikTok Channel.

Chris Clarke holding a smartphone that shows a photo of himself in a grocery store.

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