The partners of the Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning represent the highest standard of student-centered education. Through our collaborations, we are exploring the future of teaching and learning in a networked world to support our mission as residential liberal arts institutions.
Session: The future of learning and knowledge: Human and artificial intelligence
Date/Time: Thursday, May 31st, 11:00am-12:00pm
Location: Weitz 236
LACOL welcomes George Siemens as keynote speaker at the 2018 LACOL Workshop.
Dr. Siemens researches, technology, networks, analytics, and openness in education. Dr. Siemens is Professor and Executive Director of the Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge Research Lab (LINK) at University of Texas, Arlington. He leads the development of the Center for Change and Complexity in Learning (C3L) at University of South Australia. He has delivered keynote addresses in more than 35 countries on the influence of technology and media on education, organizations, and society. His work has been profiled in provincial, national, and international newspapers (including NY Times), radio, and television. He has served as PI or Co-PI on grants funded by NSF, SSHRC (Canada), Intel, Boeing, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Soros Foundation. He has received numerous awards, including honorary doctorates from Universidad de San Martín de Porres and Fraser Valley University for his pioneering work in learning, technology, and networks. He holds an honorary professorship with University of Edinburgh.
Dr. Siemens is a founding President of the Society for Learning Analytics Research (http://www.solaresearch.org/). He has advised government agencies Australia, European Union, Canada and United States, as well as numerous international universities, on digital learning and utilizing learning analytics for assessing and evaluating productivity gains in the education sector and improving learner results. In 2008, he pioneered massive open online courses (sometimes referred to as MOOCs). He blogs at http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/ and on Twitter: gsiemens
Event: Information Session – Update on QLAB / What’s Next?
Date: Wednesday, April 25
Time: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Eastern
Presenter: QLAB Core Team*
You are invited to join a webinar update and discussion about QLAB, the multi-campus collaboration to develop a shared framework for curating, implementing, and assessing online instructional modules to assist students with quantitative skills and reasoning across disciplines.
Read more about the pilot: http://lacol.net/qbits-pilot
Webinar Agenda: The goal of this session is to bring those who are interested up-to-speed with where the QLAB project stands, what we have learned so far, and what our next steps might be. Based on a new proposal developed by the core team over the winter and spring, the team welcomes your input on the next phases of the collaboration.
- Status of the Q-bit project — overview of what’s been accomplished to date and the latest thinking toward the next phase of the collaboration.
- Lessons learned so far
- Seeking input on some next steps
Session: Measuring Complex Domains for the Liberal Arts (Inclusive Pedagogies)
Date/Time: Thursday, May 31, 1:30-2:15PM
Location: Weitz 235
⇒ Project site: https://emergentedu.org
⇒ About Sensemaker: http://cognitive-edge.com/sensemaker/#sensemaker-about
⇒ Kristen Eshleman, Director of Digital Innovation, Davidson College
⇒ Brent Maher, Director of Academic Assessment, Davidson College
⇒ Annie Sadler, Instructional Design Fellow, Davidson College
⇒ Paul Youngman, Prof. of German, Chair, Digital Humanities, Washington & Lee University
WATCH! Intro video (15 min)
Innovations in assessment can directly address a key challenge for our institutions – demonstrating our value in a time of increasing skepticism about the liberal arts.
On April 27, Davidson College and Washington & Lee University hosted a LACOL workshop to explore an assessment tool and method called Sensemaker that has the potential to manage and account for the complex domains of learning. Pursuing a research design as a network of allied liberal arts institutions provides evidence at scale while building capacity for experimentation and innovation at each of our institutions. This session will explore the key ideas and next steps for this initiative.
Workshop Track: Data Science meets Environmental Studies – Exploration
- Cailin Huyck Orr, Assistant Director, Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
- Kristin O’Connell, Evaluation and Education Specialist, SERC
Program: Session Agendas
Part 1: May 31, 9:30am, Weitz 136
Part 2: June 1, 10:30am, Weitz 230
OLI Discussion: May 31, 3:30pm, Weitz 136
The intersection between Data Science and Environmental Studies is emerging as an area of focus for LACOL as we explore opportunities for collaboration around digitally engaged modes of teaching and learning for the liberal arts.
Several colleges are currently developing programming under the umbrella of Data Science, including critical algorithm studies, big data, data visualization, and data privacy/security. Meanwhile, most LACOL schools have a data-intensive Environmental Studies concentration or major. Interdisciplinary by nature, these areas of study challenge students to understand and work with data from many angles. Students engage in analysis, problem solving, critical thinking, and modes of argument that are deeply connected to social, cultural, political, and aesthetic ideas. Considering such programs, LACOL is thinking about ways that digital collaboration might enrich teaching and learning in this arena.
What could a data science and environmental studies collaboration or community look like? Across LACOL, students collect and analyze data across a range of environments and climates: deserts, mountains, suburbs, cities, lakes, streams, and oceans. Data and environmental issues operate in virtual worlds as well. As students engage with data, could the consortium help to connect a liberal arts network of faculty, students, and peers who share similar enthusiasms and challenges? A shared course or digital forum might bring together a range of different expertises and perspectives, inviting students to think critically about how and why environmental data is collected, sliced and diced in different local contexts.
To explore such possibilities, LACOL is bringing an exploratory group together at the 2018 Summer workshop at Carleton College, May 31/June 1. A range of fields will be represented: computer science, statistics, ecology, chemistry, biology, sociology, geography (GIS), economics, political science, media studies.
Goals for a data/env summer meet up at the Carleton workshop will be:
- To connect colleagues who work in Data Science and Environmental Studies
- To share what is happening on our campuses already. (Is your school forming a data science program? How and why? How are your students engaged with data and the environment in your locality and other sites in the field?)
- To brainstorm on ideas for digital collaboration that could enrich teaching and learning
Session: Digital Competencies and Digital Studies
- Gina Siesing, Chief Information Officer and Constance A. Jones Director of Libraries, Bryn Mawr College
- Austin Mason, Assistant Director of the Humanities Center for the Digital Humanities and Lecturer in History, Carleton College
Date/Time: Thursday, May 31, 9:30am-10:30am
Location: Weitz 236
Pre-workshop activity/instructions: Group annotation of the BMC Framework
To build upon foundations laid at the Think Tank on Digital Competencies at Davidson College last fall, an interactive session exploring digital competencies and digital studies across the curriculum will be featured at the the 2018 Summer Workshop.
This discussion will focus on how digital competencies and digital studies programs connect with faculty priorities and practices for teaching and learning in the physical and virtual classroom and how digital competencies support and relate to other learning goals.
To approach these questions, Siesing and Mason will guide:
- An overview of Bryn Mawr College’s digital competencies framework as one model to stimulate exploration of campus-wide digital literacy programs in the liberal arts, integrating faculty, staff and student comments from the pre-workshop annotation activity.
- A look at Carleton College’s visioning around curricular pathways for Digital Studies.
- Discussion of related initiatives across liberal arts colleges, to be continued beyond the session.
As input into this discussion, all workshop attendees are invited and encouraged to share reflections in advance by joining in the Group annotation of the BMC Framework.
Hands-On Mini-Workshop @ LACOL 2018
Name: Depolluting the Web: Information Environmentalism in Education
Date: Thursday, May 31st
Location: Weitz 235
- Amy Collier, Associate Provost for Digital Learning, Middlebury College
- Sundi Richard, Lead Instructional Designer, Davidson College
The web is polluted. The digital platforms where we learn and connect are replete with misinformation and threats to our wellbeing and privacy. We know that toxic digital information environments impact our daily lives, and the lives of our students, in everything from politics, to policy, to interactions in public and private spheres.
What can we do? What does informed participation or activism look like in these polluted web platforms?
In this hands-on session, we’ll “get our hands dirty” to better understand the drivers of mis/disinformation on the web (i.e., how our digital information environments become polluted) and begin to take actions to clean up those environments. Dubbed “Information Environmentalism” by Mike Caulfield, this work aims to depollute the web platforms where we find (mis)information and where we connect for social and educational purposes.
Information environmentalism embraces agency–rather than hopelessness and withdrawal–and because of this, we think it is a necessary part of digital literacy education in a liberal arts curriculum. (more…)
Session: Teaching Online in the Liberal Arts
- Melissa Eblen-Zayas, Professor of Physics and Director, Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching, Carleton College
- Erland Stevens, Professor of Chemistry, Davidson College
- Chad Topaz, Professor of Mathematics, Williams College
Facilitator: Janet Russell, Director of Academic Technology, Carleton College
Date/Time: Friday, June 1, 9:00am-10:00am
Location: Weitz 236
How is online teaching and learning relevant for small residential liberal arts colleges?
Our institutions are not typically grappling with some of the pressures driving bigger institutions to move online, such as retention, large lecture-based courses, or non-traditional aged students. In fact, LACOL institutions have built part of their identity and brand around close faculty-student interaction in the undergraduate classroom. Still, faculty across our institutions are experimenting with a variety of ways that online and blended learning can serve our students.
In this panel, three faculty members with hands-on experience teaching online will tell their stories. How might these insights – and others from across the consortium – help us build a vision for online teaching and learning that aligns with the core mission of our institutions?
Related sessions at LACOL 2018:
Session: How to blend a course – hands on
Lead presenter: Jennifer Spohrer, Director of Educational Technology Services, Bryn Mawr College
Date/Time: Friday, June 1, 10:30am-11:30am
Location: Weitz 131
This hands-on mini workshop will explore how and why faculty are motivated to blend their courses, even for their residential students on our campuses.
Related sessions at LACOL 2018:
Session: Course Sharing Brainstorm
Date/Time: Friday, June 1, 1:30-2:50pm
Location: Weitz 235
Background Reading: Straw Models
- Liz Evans, LACOL Director
- Lioba Gerhardi, Adj. Asst. Professor of German and SILP Director, Vassar College
- Jingchen (Monika) Hu, Asst. Professor Statistics, Vassar College
- Steven J. Miller, Professor of Mathematics, Williams College
Sharing courses as a consortium can enhance curricular opportunities, lead to efficiency gains by combining expertise and curricular resources, and provide opportunities for our faculty and students to explore digitally-enhanced, collaborative modes for teaching and learning in the liberal arts.
Building on pilots and proofs of concept conducted in 2017, faculty and staff across the consortium worked together in the spring of 2018 to explore opportunities and a framework (processes and infrastructure) that could support strategic course sharing.
In this workshop session, an overview of the 2018 exploration will be shared, and participants will be invited to brainstorm on creative and useful course sharing opportunities (curricular and co-curricular), riffing on in three designs for teaching and learning:
Related sessions at LACOL 2018:
Emerging pedagogies for inclusion are keen topics of interest across the liberal arts. Our Teaching & Learning Centers, and our academic support colleagues have a growing body of experience – what works and what doesn’t work – when it comes to supporting our diverse student body academically and as whole persons. Collaboration around these insights and measurements across LACOL has seemed like a useful idea to many. To advance these conversations, two interrelated workshops will be held in the Spring of 2018:
WORKSHOP 2: Measuring Complex Domains of Learning (Inclusive Pedagogies)
- Date: Friday, April 27
- Location: Davidson College
- Register: Davidson Workshop Registration & Housing (register by 4/1)
- Workshop Leads:
- Dr. Brent Maher, Director of Academic Assessment, Davidson College
- Kristen Eshleman, Director of Digital Innovation, Davidson College
- Prof. Paul Youngman, Chair of the Digital Humanities Working Group and Professor of German, Washington & Lee University
- Workshop Resources: Readings & Videos
- Program: https://emergentedu.org
WORKSHOP 1: LACOL Dialogue on Inclusive Pedagogies
- Date: Friday, March 9
- Location: Haverford College
- Prof. Verna Case, Assoc. Dean of Faculty, Director of the Teaching and Learning Center, and Beverly F. Dolan Professor of Biology, Davidson College
- Prof. Jyl Gentzler, John Cooper ’64 Presidential Teaching Professor of Philosophy and Faculty Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, Amherst College
- Dr. Riley Caldwell O’Keefe, Director, Center for Teaching and Learning, Amherst College
- Prof. Jonathon Kahn, Assoc. Professor of Religion, Vassar College
- Dr. Andrea Nixon, Program Director, Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation and Director of Educational Research, Carleton College
- Program: Agenda
- Logistics: Workshop Info
Background and Purpose:
The goal of these paired workshops is to start a dialogue across our stakeholders around issue of access and inclusion, and to consider ways in which both qualitative and quantitative assessments might be used to jointly study this aspect (and others) of the liberal arts experience. (more…)
Sessions: QLAB discussions at LACOL 2018
Discussion Leads – QLAB Core Team:
- Melissa Eblen-Zayas, Professor of Physics, Carleton College
- Jonathan Leamon, Director of Instructional Technology, Williams College
- Laura Muller, Director of Quantitative Skills Programs and Peer Support, Williams College
- Janet Russell, Director of Academic Technology, Carleton College
QLAB Session A: Thursday, May 31, 9:30am-10:30am
Location: Weitz 231
Focus: Small group discussion with QLAB core team. Strategies for building a faculty community and engagement with online modules that support students with QS/QR.
QLAB Session B: Thursday, May 31, 1:30pm-3:30pm
Location: Weitz Idea Lab
Focus: Hands-on time to explore various QS modules and their potential.
QLAB Session C: Friday, June 1, 1:30-3:00pm
Location: Weitz 231
Focus: Group discussion on directions for the project.
From tweetstorms to troll farms, social media has become deeply polarized; a force that is frequently unpleasant and may even pose a threat to democracy. What to do? A new pop-up MOOC from Davidson Now invites students to explore active solutions.
Productive, participatory engagement builds communities and builds networks that support real interaction and change. When meeting face-to-face is no longer necessary, what does engagement look like in a democratic society?
– Prof. Natalie Delia Deckard, Davidson College
On Feb. 12, Davidson College will launch “Engagement in a Time of Polarization,” a free, two-week online course that will engage learners in a conversation about active, effective collaboration in a divisive media ecosystem.
- Learn about historical models for creating an informed, engaged citizenry from professors Natalie Delia Deckard of Davidson College and Bonnie Stewart of the University of Prince Edward Island
- Evaluate the implications of polarization–and participatory engagement–for educators, government and media; and
- Participate in real-time discussions with leading voices in media literacy, disinformation and polarization.
To assist our students with readiness for their quantitative work across the curriculum, and to investigate the role that online resources may play in this, the Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning (LACOL) has kicked off a multi-campus development and educational research initiative, nicknamed QLAB. The QLAB project provides a framework for creating a series of modules called Q-bits. Each online Q-bit module focuses on a particular quantitative skill or concepts and provides instructional and review content that is “wrapped” by pre/post knowledge and confidence checks, contextual guides, and applications problems in several disciplines.
In developing Q-bits, the instructional content is hand-selected by our faculty in order to achieve of an appropriate scope and level for students. In many cases, faculty are able to draw on existing high-quality materials, especially on a set of polished instructional videos shared by our collaborators at Yale University through their ONEXYS program. In some cases, faculty are adding custom introductory or instructional components to provide cues for students so they see how each Q-bit relates to their studies in different disciplinary contexts.
In testing Q-bits, LACOL faculty and instructors are well positioned to assess the effectiveness of the online modules in the context of in-class assignments, as refreshers alongside a class, or in the context of mentoring by academic support staff or peer tutors.
- Melissa Eblen-Zayas, Assoc. Professor Physics, Carleton College
- Adam Honig, Professor of Economics, Amherst College
- Laura Muller, Director Peer Instruction, Williams College
- Janet Russell, Director Academic Technology, Carleton College
- April 25: QLAB Information Session
- QLAB at LACOL 2018
- Project Summary: QLAB / Q-bits Framework for Quantitative Skills Modules
- Q-bits discussion at the Annual NNN Conference
- QLAB update: piloting Q-bits with students (Fall ’17)
- Q-bit: Logarithms
- Q-bit: Linear Functions
- Q-bit: Choosing a Graph Type to Visualize Data
- Nov 15: QLAB Webinar – Update on Q-bits Testing in Fall ’17 Pilot (+ What’s Next?)
- Webinar: Using Q-bits with Students (Fall 2017)
The Language Instruction Working Group is currently (Spring 2018) exploring an idea for a online resource built collaborative by/for LACOL faculty and instructors that will guide language learners on foundational grammar concepts.
There is an emerging plan for collaboration toward Shared Grammar Resources for Beginning Language Students. This concept has been discussed with enthusiasm in some earlier LACOL meetings, and Carleton Professor of Classics Chico Zimmerman has drafted a proposal to articulate more of the vision – see link above and below.
Four small teams are actively collaborating across several schools on the following module topics:
- General Advice to Learners
- General advice to incoming students about language-learning at college.
- This includes some student voices on their learning experiences, but also could include some more general data/research findings on the benefits of L2 acquisition and the potential interferences of L1.
- Map of Language Learning
- An “overview” or map of the different domains that language takes in, including “grammar” broadly construed and its relevance
- Glossary of Grammar Terms
- A glossary of grammar terms with English examples; perhaps including sentence diagramming
- Phonetics and Phonology
- Phonetics/phonology module (perhaps with differing emphases depending on the target languages)
If this proposal interests you, you are invited to join the conversation.
Pictured above: Study participant Jeff Greenwald, Hamilton ’17
Researchers studying awe in a lab setting can’t take participants to awe-inducing locations like mountaintops, and the standard of watching videos of those situations has limitations. To help solve this problem, Hayley Goodrich ‘17, a Psychology concentrator at Hamilton College, and Educational Technologist Kyle Burnham recently set out to explore the use of Virtual Reality (VR) for Goodrich’s thesis project on the experience of awe.
A vague theoretical connection between awe and meaning exists in the awe literature. According to Goodrich:
awe arises when something in the environment is vast and cannot readily be incorporated into one’s existing meaning frameworks.
Goodrich wanted to explore if awe really did emerge in response to a violation of some meaning-making structure. Studying such a connection necessitated that she first make participants feel awe. (more…)
A call for proposals is open for the Blended Learning in the Liberal Arts Conference, held at Bryn Mawr College May 23-24, 2018. Our definition of blended learning is quite broad, encompassing many types of digital pedagogy projects. We invite interested LACOL faculty and staff to attend.
Bryn Mawr requests proposals by February 15, 2018
More details here: http://blendedlearning.blogs.