Welcome

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.

For highlights from our campuses and our collaborative work, browse the articles below or filter by Partner School, Working Group,  Events or Projects.

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The Life of Books, a Student Project with AR

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This post is a practical follow up on Unpacking My Library: The Book in Augmented Reality post from Hamilton College.

The book made by the first-year students in Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature Andrew Rippeon’s Unpacking My Library course is now viewable. Under Rippeon’s mentorship, students designed and wrote the book, used the letterpress lab to create the cover, and used augmented reality (AR) to link images and video into the experience of the book. Rippeon writes:

The book as a whole compiles student writing across the semester (every essay and exercise is represented, but these have been revised and trimmed by the students for content and context). During the last several weeks of the semester, and in parallel with other individual and group projects, students worked in small groups on various aspects of the project: a Research Group compiled our timeline and wrote introductory and concluding statements; an Editorial Group collected and compiled various pieces of writing from their fellow students; a Design Group worked on layout and executed the actual physical covers by letterpress; a Documentation Group collected photographs and film recording our various activities and trips during the semester; and an “AR-Group” (Augmented-Reality) worked to develop and deploy AR overlays onto the physical book.

In an interesting blending of the physical and digital aspects of the book, the AR cues (the images or glyphs at the head of each piece of writing) were in fact printed letterpress in another project, and then scanned and digitally inserted into this book.  So the AR cues are in fact digital manipulations of material elements. As a hybrid object—including the process of its construction, the writing and revising that went into the book, the AR additions (and challenges) to the book, and the experiential activities the book document—the book represents the students thinking both collaboratively and on their own about the history of the book as we’ve explored it, and its possible futures (even and especially in an increasingly digital and digitized environment).

To view the augmented reality elements of this book, please:

  1. Download HP Reveal (formerly Aurasma) from the iTunes or Google Play Stores.
  2. The app will open to the Viewer. Tap the search icon at the bottom of the view screen to get to the Explore page, at the bottom of which you’ll find another search icon that will take you to the Search page.
  3. Search for rid.hamilton. From the results, select rid.hamilton’s Public Auras, and click follow.
  4. Return to the HP Reveal Viewer to explore the book.

For the HP Reveal viewer to register the glyphs in the PDF, enter fullscreen or zoom in.

Note: The AR features 2D scans created using the HP Sprout Pro G2. The 3D scans which students took with the Sprout for this project did not end up being used in AR; some of them can be found on Remix3D. We used PUB HTML5 to create the flip book embedded here.

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Shared Grammar Resource – New Exploration

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.

If this proposal interests you, you are invited to join an upcoming web conference where a multi-campus group of faculty and technologists will be discussing the realm of possibilities that Chico has outlined.

Meeting: Shared Grammar Resource (Exploratory Conversation)
Date: Thursday, January 25th
Time: 1:30-2:30pm Eastern
Location: Zoom (see sign-up sheet)
Sign Up: Sign Up Sheet / Contact List 
(add your name and email – we will send you a calendar item with full details to join the Zoom mtg via web or phone)

Meeting Agenda:
Prof. Chico Zimmerman (Carleton College) will share the proposal to highlight key ideas
Group will explore opportunities and possible next steps for collaboration (more…)

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Digital Competencies – two meetups @ EDU-PLACE in January

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In October 2017, Davidson College hosted a LACOL event called the Think Tank on Digital Competencies. A mix of faculty, campus leaders, librarians, technologists, and instructional designers from liberal arts colleges across the country focused first on the Bryn Mawr College Digital Competencies Program (https://www.brynmawr.edu/digitalcompetencies), tracing its history, motivations, and impacts for students, faculty, and the institution.  Design thinking was then used to explore how digital liberal arts leaders may approach similar goals on their campuses.  

To follow up on a great think tank, the two webinars described below are being offered in January 2018 as a way open up this work on developing a Digital Competencies Framework to those who could not attend the in person event and to continue this conversation.

PLEASE JOIN! These webinars are open to everyone through PLACE, the Partnership for Liberal Arts Collaboration and Exploration, https://p-lace.org.

Workshop 1: Overview of Bryn Mawr’s Digital Competencies Framework

Tuesday, January 9 | 3pm – 4pm Eastern
EDU-PLACE Webinar

(The Workshop 1 event has past; check the EDU-PLACE list for related resources)

Presenters:

  • Beth Seltzer, Educational Technology Specialist, Bryn Mawr College
  • Gina Siesing, Chief Information Officer and Constance A. Jones Director of Libraries, Bryn Mawr College
  • Jennifer Spohrer, Director of Educational Technology Services, Bryn Mawr College

In this session, Bryn Mawr College staff will discuss why and how the college developed and launched a digital competencies program. This institutional focus on digital competency reflects our commitment to ensuring students develop digital skills and critical perspectives as lifelong learners prepared for work and life in the 21st century. We will talk about how to develop a framework that’s meaningful within your institutional context, ways to leverage college partnerships and build on campus initiatives, and approaches to integrating digital competencies across the student’s curricular and co-curricular experience.

This is the first of two related workshops; the next is “Hands-on Digital Competencies Program Design” on January 16.

Workshop 2: Hands-on Digital Competencies Program Design

Tuesday, January 16 |  2pm – 3pm Eastern
EDU-PLACE Webinar

(The Workshop 2 event has past; check the EDU-PLACE list for related resources)
Presenters:

  • Kristen Eshleman, Director of Digital Innovation, Davidson College
  • Sundi Richard, Lead Instructional Designer, Davidson College

verbs of dcThis is an active session that is meant to follow the “Overview of BMC’s Digital Competencies Framework” session on January 9th. We recommend you join this session with a group of 3 – 5 people, as you will be doing timed design thinking activities together. Each group will work through a guided ideation process to establish the goals and components for an institutional digital competencies framework and map out next steps for local program development. The facilitators will provide prompts and examples each step of the way.

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Depolluting the Web: Information Environmentalism in Education

Hands-On Mini-Workshop @ LACOL 2018

Name: Depolluting the Web: Information Environmentalism in Education
Date: Thursday, May 31st
Time: 2pm-4pm
Location: Weitz Center for Creativity at Carleton College (room tba)
Facilitators:

  • Amy Collier, Associate Provost for Digital Learning, Middlebury College
  • Sundi Richard, Lead Instructional Designer, Davidson College

Session Description:

A. Collier
A. Collier

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?

S. Richard, mini-workshop co-lead
S. Richard

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…)

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Inclusive Pedagogies & Measuring Complex Domains of Learning for the Liberal Arts – 2 workshops

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Emerging pedagogies for inclusion are keen topics of interest across the liberal arts. Anecdotally, we know that our Faculty, 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 the conversation for LACOL, two interrelated workshops will be held in the Spring of 2018:

WORKSHOP 1: LACOL Dialogue on Inclusive Pedagogies

  • Date: Friday, March 9
  • Location: Haverford College
  • Register: Haverford Workshop Registration & Housing (register by 2/16, seats are limited)
  • Speakers:
    • 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. Paul Youngman, Chair of the Digital Humanities Working Group and Professor of German, Washington & Lee University
    • Dr. Andrea Nixon, Director of Educational Research, Carleton College
  • Program: Tentative Agenda

WORKSHOP 2: Assessment for Complex Domains of Learning (Inclusive Pedagogies)

  • Date: Friday, April 27
  • Location: Davidson College
  • Register: Davidson Workshop Registration & Housing (register by 4/1)
  • Speakers:
    • Dr. Brent Mahar, Director of Academic Assessment, Davidson College
    • Kristen Eshleman, Director of Digital Innovation, Davidson College
    • Dr. Andrea Nixon, Director of Educational Research, Carleton College
    • Prof. Paul Youngman, Chair of the Digital Humanities Working Group and Professor of German, Washington & Lee University
  • Program: coming soon

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…)

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Q-bits discussion at the Annual NNN Conference

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In November 2017, Dr. Laura J. Muller, Director of Quantitative Skills Programs and Peer Support at Williams College and a member of the QLAB core team*, gave a presentation on the Q-bits Pilot to an audience of educators at the annual National Numeracy Network (NNN) Conference in New York.

Muller (pictured above right at the 2017 QS Hack-a-thon alongside Prof. A. Honig, Amherst College) has been at the forefront of Q-bits module design and implementation as part of a multi-year, multi-campus collaboration called QLAB. Given Laura’s teaching background and expertise in peer support and tutoring for Quantitative Skills and Reasoning, she’s interested in assessing the potential for online modules like Q-bits which can provide just-in-time support to help students brush up on, and apply, quantitative methods and concepts across the curriculum.

At NNN, Laura focused on issues of meta-cognition, student confidence, and transfer of QS/QR knowledge and skills across different context.

A distinguishing features of the Q-bits design is the opportunity for students to see that it’s worth investing time in learning certain foundational concepts that they will see over and over in their academic career.

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Language Skills Diagnostic Dashboard: 2018 Faculty Workshop and Pilot for French

Carly Born, Academic Technologist at Carleton College
C. Born, Academic Technologist at Carleton College will present a poster about the at the 2018 ELI Conference

To advance the LACOL Language Skills Diagnostic Dashboard Framework, a three-day hands on-workshop will be held in spring 2018 at Swarthmore College, leading to a pilot study of the emerging prototype in French.  

The workshop and pilot are the next step in a sequence that began with the Language Skills Hack-a-thon at Swarthmore College in May 2017 and the Dashboard Prototype Technical Workshop at Carleton College in October 2017.  With groundwork laid at these previous events, the team is well positioned to put forward a working prototype in French that can be piloted with faculty and students for placement and advising in the summer/fall of 2018. (more…)

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George Siemens Keynote at LACOL 2018

Siemens Banner Squish
George Siemens
Dr. George Siemens

How to stay human in a digital age.

LACOL is honored to announce that George Siemens will keynote the 2018 LACOL Workshop at Carleton College.

George 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

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The American Prison Writing Archive at Hamilton College

Access, collaboration, and prisons – three words one is unlikely to see in the same context. Yet the American Prison Writing Archive (APWA) works collaboratively to provide access to the witness borne by people in prison today. Directed by Doran Larson, Walcott-Bartlett Professor of Literature & Creative Writing at Hamilton College, the APWA is a continually growing online archive of essays written by incarcerated people and prison workers. The APWA provides access to the lived experiences of those inside these closed systems. These essays unveil the prisons we have constructed. We expect them to mete out justice. What we find in each essay is something much less noble.

Reading any single essay is a powerful experience; reading across essays offers the outlines and interiors of a city just smaller than Chicago.

While emerging from the American archipelago of over 6,000 carceral institutions, the cityscape we discover is as cohesive as that of our Chicago, LA, or New York. But this is a city dedicated to the production of pain. (See Larson’s Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America, and his MOOC on the history of prison writing in the US.)

PI Larson working with student researchers.
PI D. Larson working with student researchers.

Larson began working with the Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi) at Hamilton College to develop an online, open access archive of prison essays in 2010. In December 2017, the APWA reached two important milestones: 1) over 1000 essays are now online; and 2) a transcription tool was developed to crowdsource transcription of the primarily handwritten essays. The transcription tool increased the ability of transcribers anywhere to request an account and contribute to transcriptions that allow full text searching of the archive. With over twenty new essay submissions and associated signed permission questionnaires per month, the APWA team has focused on processing submissions, correspondence, digitization, and metadata entry. Volunteer transcribers continue the practice of collaboration that fuels every aspect of the APWA. The NEH grant Larson received this past year contributed to the development of this transcription tool and also supports an administrative assistant working for the archive. Collaboration is woven into all of the work of this archive: from Larson’s work within and across institutions to maintain prison writing programs, to the team ethos of the DHi Collection Development Team in developing and sustaining the growing archive, to the research of undergraduate students, faculty and graduate students who can use the archive from other institutions. (more…)

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LACOL Teaching with Tech Lightning Round @ Carleton College

lightening round auidience

Picking up from last year’s wildly popular 2017 Tech Lightning Round at Vassar, this year’s consortium-wide workshop LACOL2018 at Cartelton College will feature THE RETURN OF THE LACOL LIGHTNING ROUND over lunch on Thursday, May 31st.

star2018 Lightning Round: Lineup coming soon
Moderator: TBA

In the lightning round, LACOL faculty and staff are invited to share an idea for a short pitch – JUST FIVE MINUTES EACH – on a digital tool or technique you’re trying in your classroom or online.

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Bryn Mawr’s Blended Learning in the Liberal Arts Conference, May 2018

cropped-blendlac_logo_resized-2A 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.brynmawr.edu/blended-learning-conference/

 

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Student DataCon@WLU, networking for data analytics, big data and statistical computing

In November 2017, Washington and Lee University held its first DataCon, a new event for students. The two-day program was designed to highlight the impacts and career paths for data analytics, big data and statistical computing across a variety of industries.  The gathering brought together students, faculty, staff and alumni for a series of discussions and networking opportunities around data sciences in both academic and professional life, including ways that analytics are used in the fields of advertising, finance and technology.

DataCon-692x768Reflecting on the experience, DataCon co-organizer Professor Denny Garvis noted:

We can tell already that we are tapping into an existing but quiet network of students, faculty and alumni who are really doing interesting work

The inaugural conference was so successful that another DataCon will be held next year. (more…)

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LACOL2018 Workshop @ Carleton College

LACOL 2018 Weitz Banner_cropped

The 2018 Consortium-wide Workshop will be held on May 31 – June 1, 2018 on the campus of Carleton College.

Workshop Logistics

Program:

Workshop Themes:

  • Critical Literacies in a Digital Age
  • Data Sciences Education & the Environment
  • (Online) Learning in the Residential Liberal Arts

Workshop Program:

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Think Tank on Digital Competencies for the Liberal Arts

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starSee reflection and photos from Think Tank co-lead G. Siesing, Bryn Mawr College.
Join two follow up webinars from the BMC & Davidson teams via EDU-PLACE in January.

 

At this think tank event hosted by Davidson College, a mix of faculty, campus leaders, librarians, technologists, and instructional designers from liberal arts colleges across the country focused first on the Bryn Mawr College Digital Competencies Program (https://www.brynmawr.edu/digitalcompetencies), tracing its history, motivations, and impacts for students, faculty, and the institution.

 

It was a great event – interesting and fun. I was surprised how much we accomplished in a short period of time. Thanks to all!
__________________– Janet Scannell, Chief Technology Officer, Carleton College

 

Next, the Davidson team facilitated a design thinking session for some rapid prototyping to explore related interest across our institutions, many of whom are exploring and building similar kinds of programs and looking for frameworks to share and adapt.

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The concepts of digital competencies and digital fluency reflect the need for students to develop digital skills and critical perspectives as lifelong learners prepared for work and life in the 21st century. There is growing recognition of the importance of integrating these skills into a well-rounded liberal arts education. Recently, Bryn Mawr College has developed a digital competencies framework focused on these five areas:

  • Digital Survival Skills
  • Digital Communication
  • Data Management and Preservation
  • Data Analysis and Presentation
  • Critical Design, Making, and Development

IMG_1461The main outcomes from this workshop will be to create a community of practice around design, development, and facilitation of digital competency/dexterity/fluency programs in the liberal arts and to identify ongoing ways of sharing program models and resources. Individual institutional teams will also be able to adapt and expand Bryn Mawr’s digital competencies framework as appropriate for local contexts. We hope that LACOL and other LAC partners might also at some point build on the BMC digital competencies framework as an expression of foundational capabilities that we agree on across liberal art institutions as relevant for scholarship, learning, work, and life in the digital age. A shared framework can provide a pathway to accelerate stated LACOL goals for creative collaboration in digital experimentation, faculty development, and research.

Follow up events and webinars are planned.  Faculty, instructional designers, leadership, career development center directors, and others engaged in thinking through digital competency frameworks for the liberal arts are encouraged to join the conversation. Watch this space! (more…)

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Liberal Arts Gallery of Digital Pedagogies

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The Concept:

Faculty, librarians, instructional technologists/designers and academic specialists across all the LACOL schools (and beyond) are engaged in creative exploration of digital pedagogies for the liberal arts. LACOL is collecting a series of short vignettes to share across our liberal arts network.

The Format:

  • 3-5 minute video (live action or screencast)
  • Audio narration preferred

*close captions will be added to all videos for accessibility
*copyright permissions for all included media must be cleared

Each video should include …

  • The Prompt: What pedagogical problem or challenge are you trying to solve?
  • Your Approach: What (digitally enhanced) teaching strategy are you taking?
  • Tips and Feedback: What has been your experience so far? Any feedback from students?

How to Contribute:

Proposal / Intake Form (coming soon)

The form asks for:

  • Your Contact Information
  • Title / Topic
  • Short description – what will your video cover (300 words or less)
  • Sample image (optional)
  • Related keywords or tags (optional)
  • Link to hosted video (or LACOL can host)

Short (1:17 min) example:

* this examples uses animation, but gallery videos may be live action and/or screencasts (more…)

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QLAB update: piloting Q-bits with students (Fall ’17)

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Prof. Ming An (Vassar College), lead author of the 'Choosing a Graph Type' Q-bit
Prof. Ming An (Vassar College), lead author of the ‘Choosing a Graph Type‘ Q-bit

starQLAB Webinar 11/15: 
click here to jo
in the discussion

 

This summer and fall, teams of faculty and technologists collaborated intensively to launch QLAB, a shared framework for curating, implementing and assessing online instructional modules for quantitative skills (QS) and reasoning for just-in-time review and skill-building across disciplines.  The goal of the QLAB project is to assist faculty teaching quantitative subjects who find they need methods to support students with gaps in preparation. The strategy draws on a body of research in higher education and experience at our institutions showing that online modules can be a beneficial component of an overall QS support program.

The individual modules, known as Qbits, review quantitative topics and demonstrate the topic’s applications in different disciplinary contexts.  For example, a module might review logarithms and then consider the application to decibels and sound perception in psychology, the Richter scale in geology, the concept of pH in chemistry, etc. In Fall 2017, Qbits are being implemented through a combination of videos and quizzing, and consist of an initial knowledge check, short videos to review specific quantitative skills, structured application problems that give students practice applying the quantitative skill in disciplinary contexts, and a final knowledge check.

Q-bits tested in Fall 2017:

project.
QLAB session
June 2017

Developing online resources that can be used in multiple contexts to help students strengthen their quantitative skills serves two purposes. First, by demonstrating the relevance of specific QS in various disciplinary contexts, students learn to view quantitative skills as fundamental and transferable skills that they can draw on in many areas of their liberal arts experience. Second, the consortial effort allows us to collect meaningful data about the effectiveness of the various modules for a greater number of students in a wider variety of contexts.  Using what we learn in this pilot, we plan to expand the collection of useful modules.

Aims of the pilot include:

  • Developing a collaborative framework for design, implement and assessment of online modules for QS/QR instruction and review at residential liberal arts institutions.
  • Crafting an initial set of instructional modules on high-priority QS topics, drawing on high quality instructional content, developed in partnership with Yale ONEXYS and others.  
  • Assessing module effectiveness as refreshers for tutoring and as just-in-time instruction embedded in coursework.
  • Gathering data to evaluate the impact of modules on student learning and confidence in each phase of the project and beyond.

(more…)

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