Martin Wallace

Measuring Student Confidence through Low-Risk Competition: The UTA Libraries Pitch of the Week Contest (POW!)


Martin K. Wallace, MS, MLIS
Maker Literacies and Engineering Liaison Librarian
University of Texas at Arlington Libraries

In April 2017, the UTA Libraries will hold a series of pitch contests modeled on the Iron Chef Battles in the Technology Test Kitchen at the 2016 OLC Accelerate Conference. Students will be placed on teams and provided a random prompt with which to brainstorm an idea for an invention, product, service, new business, or solution to a problem. Teams will have 20 minutes to brainstorm and refine their ideas, and then 5 minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. Winning teams from each of three preliminary rounds will move on to compete in the final round. This contest will be staged much like a game show, and will be held in the UTA FabLab. Teams will be able to use any and all digital tools at their disposal, including the Internet, to conduct their brainstorming and create their presentations. Competitors will be asked prior to the contests to rate their confidence levels in the categories of teamwork, proposal writing, technical communication, creative thinking, and critical thinking. Students will again be given the same questionnaire after the contests. We will evaluate whether or not the competition had any influence on student confidence levels in these categories.