College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Aliye Karabulut-Ilgu: Bringing the classroom to you

An Iowa State lecturer helps diversify education with hybrid and online courses

Karabulut-Ilgu, Aliye_directoryIn her role as a lecturer at Iowa State, Aliye Karabulut-Ilgu, holds a unique position within the civil, construction, and environmental engineering department. Instead of teaching classes to students, she works directly with faculty members to develop online and hybrid courses.

Karabulut-Ilgu received her bachelor’s in foreign language education from her home country of Istanbul, Turkey. After her bachelor’s, she continued to Iowa State University where she pursued her master’s in teaching English as a second language and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instructional technology.

During Karabulut-Ilgu’s work as a graduate assistant, she worked collaboratively with faculty members in the College of Engineering and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to improve and develop online courses. Karabulut-Ilgu also helped faculty members convert traditional courses into an online course format. As a postdoc, Karabulut-Ilgu focused on designing and evaluating online and hybrid courses.

A big portion of her work is directed toward hybrid courses, or those designed to utilize both in-class and online format. To do this, Karabulut-Ilgu meets with faculty members interested in using the hybrid course format and dissects the syllabus to find static topics that can be covered in an online environment.

She then converts raw material for a course into an online format, which typically consists of creating lectures, lecture videos, interactive exercises and quizzes. She says this approach saves time so the professor can work on complex problems in class with students. Karabulut-Ilgu also has plans to work on a streamlined process for preparing teaching assistants to work with online and hybrid courses.

She says her role in CCEE allows her to impact students in a less traditional but equally meaningful way. “When I’m teaching a class I can only impact a small number of students, but when I’m working directly with faculty I can reach exponentially more students.”

Outside of her work, Karabulut-Ilgu spends most of her time playing with her four-year-old daughter. She also spends time with friends and has been taking photography classes.

Karabulu-Ilgu says working at Iowa State has been a great experience. “I have access to everything I need, and I appreciate how the university is investing more into new approaches to education.” She hopes that as Iowa State increases enrollment, hybrid and online courses can help alleviate the number of students in the classroom while also delivering the same quality.