Think Tank on Digital Competencies for the Liberal Arts

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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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Professors will share their math/stats course exchange pilot at EDUCAUSE ELI

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Jingchen (Monika) Hu, Assistant Professor of Statistics at Vassar College
Above: Jingchen (Monika) Hu, Asst. Prof. of Statistics at Vassar College

Top: Steven J. Miller Assoc. Prof of Mathematics, Williams College

Faculty Talk: Where’s the Remote? Upper-Level Math/Stats Hybrid Course Sharing for the Liberal Arts
Date/Time: Tuesday, January 30, 11:45am – 12:30pm CT
Location: EDUCAUSE ELI 2018, New Orleans, LA

As one possible avenue to expanding curricular offerings for math and stats majors at small liberal arts institutions, partner schools in the Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning (LACOL) have been exploring ways to remotely share classes using hybrid/online delivery modes.  Professors Steven J. Miller (Williams College and Jingchen Monika Hu (Vassar College), two faculty members at the forefront of this collaboration, will describe their experiences in designing hybrid courses and teaching with a mix of digital pedagogies.  We will emphasize how connections were made between students and faculty, how well local and remote students were able to engage the material, and the various challenges in coordinating course delivery across several campuses.

For students of advanced mathematics and statistics, the liberal arts model offers a deep level of engagement in learning with faculty and peers; however, due to practical limitations, small colleges cannot always offer the breadth of course subjects available at larger institutions with graduate programs. To explore collaborative models that may help to enrich curricular offerings, faculty and technologists from several leading liberal arts colleges are experimenting with a consortial online/hybrid course sharing model.  In this talk, the professors will share results from three recent course pilots: Steven Miller’s Spring 2017 Problem Solving course from WIlliams College (involving students at Williams, Swarthmore and Amherst Colleges), Monika Hu’s Bayesian Statistics course from Vassar College, and Stephan Garcia’s Advanced Real Analysis course from Pomona College (Fall 2017).  
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Nov 15: QLAB Webinar – Update on Q-bits Testing in Fall ’17 Pilot (+ What’s Next?)

M. Eblen-Zayas
M. Eblen-Zayas

Event: Webinar – Update on Q-bits Testing in the Fall 2017 Pilot / What’s Next?
Location: ZOOM (details below)
Date: Wednesday, November 15
Time:
12:00 noon – 1PM Eastern
Presenter: Prof. Melissa Eblen-Zayas & 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.

NB: A recording of the webinar will be shared for those who cannot join in person.

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. We will be looking for input on approaches to revising the existing Q-bits, choosing topics for the next several Q-bits to be developed, and lowering barriers to contributing to the project.

    • Status of the Q-bit project — goals, what makes this project different, overview of what we have done
    • Lessons learned so far
    • Seeking input on some next steps

 

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Webinar: Using Q-bits with Students (Fall 2017)

Curious about Q-bits? Watch the webinar (30 min):


M. Eblen-Zayas
M. Eblen-Zayas

This video presents a half-hour webinar training with Prof. Melissa Eblen-Zayas of Carleton College and members of the QLAB Project core team. Melissa provides an overview of Q-bits and answers questions about testing in the upcoming term.   

Related Resources:

Please feel free to forward this post to colleagues who may be interested in Q-bits! The webinar is an great way preview a Q-bit and learn more about our multi-campus collaboration to develop and test ways these modules may help to support students with their quantitative work in different disciplinary contexts.  

Q-bit Training Outline:

  • What are Q-bits?  (a brief tour)
  • Our pilot study – research goals
  • Options and steps for testing Q-bits with your students
  • Key dates 
  • Resources for Q-bit Testers
  • Q&A

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LACOL 2018 – Getting to Carleton College

Traveling to the LACOL2018 Workshop? Carleton College is located in Northfield, Minnesota.

Carleton College
1 North College Street,
Northfield, MN 55057

Arrive by air

Scheduled passenger service is available to/from Minneapolis-Saint Paul (MSP) International Airport, a 45 minute drive from Carleton.

Getting to campus

  • Most out-of-town visitors will want to rent a car at the MSP airport and drive to campus
  • Free parking is available on campus for registered guests of the College
  • Alternatively, you can arrange a shuttle service through these recommended providers

Hotel to campus

Country Inn and Suites is in easy walking distance (~10 minutes) to the Weitz Center for Creativity on Carleton’s campus where all Workshop events will be held.  (Click here for details on arranging your hotel stay at a special rate for LACOL.  Please do not contact the hotel directly.)

Resources for Visitors

 

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LACOL2018 – Where to Stay

For the LACOL 2018 Workshop, a block of rooms at the Country Inn and Suites in Northfield, MN have been reserved for May 30 and May 31. To ensure the group rate for the nights of your stay, be sure to make your hotel arrangements through Carleton by May 15th, 2018.

To book your stay, please <contact Karen Moldenhauer> or <complete this webform>.

Note: The Carleton team will coordinate group reservation, so please do not contact the hotel directly.

The hotel is approximately a 10 minute walk from the Weitz Center for Creativity at Carleton College where all workshop events will be held.

Related Links:

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Visualizing student storymaps on the web

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LACOL 2017 Session 9: Visualizing student storymaps on the web
Presenter: Mary Ann Cunningham, Associate Professor of Geography, Vassar College
Date & Location: June 16, Vassar College

M. Cunningham
M. Cunningham

Web maps, map apps and other emerging applications are making it easier to visualize, share, and publicize spatial data. A principal advantage of these approaches is that we can make visible the issues that matter to us, and that we discuss in classes, from digital access to energy resource impacts to neoliberal development policies. In this talk Mary Ann Cunningham discusses how students in her spring 2017 Geography course, Web Mapping, developed story maps to aid in making visible a variety of issues they wanted to share. In the process of finding and processing data, they developed their data management abilities, and in the app design they practiced prioritizing and organizing narratives.

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From Blended Learning to Digital Pedagogies in the Liberal Arts?


LACOL 2017 Session 7: From Blended Learning to Digital Pedagogies in the Liberal Arts?
Presenter: Jennifer Spohrer, Manager of Educational Technology Services, Bryn Mawr College
Date & Location: June 16 at Vassar College

6OwLaEI4When Bryn Mawr College first proposed experimenting with “blended learning in the liberal arts” back in 2011, we conceptualized it as a combination of “traditional,” face-to-face, liberal arts instruction and online tutorials that assessed and gave students feedback on learning. However, in the initial calls for proposals, it became quickly apparent that liberal arts college faculty were incorporating other types of digital technologies into their teaching, and doing so ways we had not anticipated. This presentation surveys the digitally enabled teaching approaches that have been included under the “blended learning” umbrella since 2011 and identifies “digital pedagogies” that might connect them.

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Where’s my remote? Shared upper level math courses across schools

Presentation Slides: PDF

LACOL 2017 Session 7
Speaker: Steven J. Miller, Assoc. Professor of Mathematics, Williams College
Date & Location: June 16, Vassar College
Related Links:

As small institutions cannot always offer the classes our students need at the time they need them, several people at various LACOL schools have been exploring how to remotely share classes. While there many not be enough demand at any one place for a certain topic, by combining students from several schools we can have a course. There are many challenges, especially keeping the small liberal arts feel and having all students engaged. We report on the beta test, Miller’s Problem Solving class at Williams. We’ll discuss the technology used, emphasizing how the content was delivered and connections were made between students and faculty, and the challenges in coordinating a course across several campuses.

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Adaptive Learning (and Adaptive Teaching) in a First Course in Applied Statistics


Session 9: Adaptive Learning (and Adaptive Teaching) in a First Course in Applied Statistics
Speaker: Denny Garvis, Professor of Business Admin & Mgmt, The Williams School at Washington & Lee University
Date & Location: June 16 at Vassar College

D. Garvis, Washington & Lee University
D. Garvis, Washington & Lee University

This presentation serves as a practical follow-up to the Candace Thille keynote from LACOL 2016. Specifically, adaptive learning courseware originally developed in the Online Learning Initiative (OLI) at Carnegie Mellon University has been used in the Applied Statistics course in the Williams School at Washington and Lee since 2014. Pedagogical advantages, trade-offs in teaching, and student learning outcomes from using the OLI Statistical Reasoning courseware, now hosted by Stanford EdX, will be discussed.

Additional Resources:

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Cracking an old chestnut? Brainstorm on shared collections for liberal arts teaching and learning.

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LACOL 2017 Session 5: Group Brainstorm
Presenters/Facilitators: Sean Fox, Brian Alexander
Date & Location: June 15 on the Campus of Vassar College (see program details)

S. Fox, Tech. Dir. SERC
S. Fox, Technical Director
SERC

Open educational resources and shared collections are hot topics; at the same time, these concepts have been with us for years. For LACOL, opportunities to develop shared resources (repositories) are frequently proposed … but how can we develop useful collections while avoiding common pitfalls? In this brainstorming session, Sean Fox, Technical Director of the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College will frame the issues as we invite all workshop participants to brainstorm on the what, the why, and the how of shared collections.

Key questions include:

  • What are common faculty strategies for seeking and finding teaching resources?
  • Can we foster effective processes to develop useful collections* through LACOL?

*these questions are pressing for the QS and Language Instruction working groups, but other opportunities exist for LACOL.  What do YOU think?

 

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The 2017 Lightning Round @ Vassar College

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Picking up from last year’s wildly popular 2016 Tech Lightning Round at Haverford College, this year’s consortium-wide workshop LACOL2017 at Vassar College will feature THE RETURN OF THE LACOL LIGHTNING ROUND over lunch on Thursday, June 15.

star2017 Lightning Round: The Lineup
Moderator: Steve Taylor, Director of Academic Computing Services, Vassar College

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 online/hybrid classroom.

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Digital Storytelling for Liberal Arts Teaching and Learning (Panel)

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Digital storytelling is a powerful narrative form for imagining, analyzing, and informing that typically combines images, text, recorded audio, video clips, and music.  The educational uses are many.
As Bryan Alexander says, storytelling just might be the most important cognitive tool of the 21st century.

This panel discussion at the LACOL2017 workshop highlighted how faculty and students at liberal arts colleges are using media-rich storytelling to spark creative expression in teaching, learning and research.

Moderator: Bryan Alexander, educator, author of The New Digital Storytelling

(more…)

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