Pop-up MOOC: Engagement in a Time of Polarization

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Prof Deckard in pop-up MOOC studio
Prof. Deckard in the pop-up MOOC Studio

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.

Students will:

  • 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.

This is the third class from Davidson Now, a digital learning series from Davidson College on edX.org. (more…)

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In Awe: A Virtual Reality Experiment at Hamilton College

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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…)

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

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C. Born, Carleton College, presents at ELI in Jan 2018
C. Born, Carleton College, presenting at ELI
Jan 2018

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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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
  • Registration: Registration is closed; contact Liz Evans (eevans@haverford.edu) to join the waitlist.
  • 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. 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: Tentative Agenda
  • Participants: List

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 Maher, Director of Academic Assessment, Davidson College
    • Kristen Eshleman, Director of Digital Innovation, Davidson College
    • Dr. Andrea Nixon, Program Director, Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation and Director of Educational Research, Carleton College
    • Prof. Paul Youngman, Chair of the Digital Humanities Working Group and Professor of German, Washington & Lee University
  • Program: https://emergentedu.org 

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.

(more…)

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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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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

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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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Unpacking My Library: The Book in Augmented Reality

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See also: The Life of Books

This semester, students in Professor Andrew Rippeon’s “Unpacking My Library: The Book, The Burke, and the 20th Century” (Literature & Creative Writing) are introduced to the history and practice of the book in a long arc from the pre-Gutenberg era into the present.

With a focus on the 20th century, Rippeon’s students consider “the book” and “the library” as literary, theoretical, and material engagements: what does it mean to curate a library? How do technological developments bear upon information? How do authors and artists respond to these questions? Over the semester, and in addition to reading in these contexts and to writing their own original critical essays, students make letterpressed broadsides and books, curate micro-libraries, and produce (as a hard-copy book) an anthology of their writing.

Students put the finishing touches on a book making project.
Above: Students put the finishing touches on a book making project.

Top: Prof. Andrew Rippeon demonstrates setting type to a group of students.

In this iteration of the course, students will create their own charged technological context for the book: how does an augmented-reality book further pressurize the context we’re discussing? Students will use 3D technologies (3D printing and the Sprout Pro learning station), and augmented reality applications to produce a book that has a much broader material-technological footprint, at once engaging with and commenting upon the status of the book in the 21st century. We intend to produce an augmented-reality book that documents its own context and production.

(more…)

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Building the Campus of the Future: EDUCAUSE-HP Research Project

Hamilton College is pleased to announce its participation in the Building the Campus of the Future: 3D Technologies in Academe EDUCAUSE/HP research project. This exciting initiative seeks to identify the 3D modalities that hold the greatest potential to result in improvements in learning and research outcomes, as well as enhancements of student engagement, faculty satisfaction and other qualitative metrics. The Research & Instructional Design Team (Library & IT Services) will be leading the initiative at Hamilton. (more…)

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Language Skills Dashboard – drill down on data visualization

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UPDATE: Join Carly Born for her Dashboard Poster Presentation at ELI this January

As a sequel to last summer’s Hack-a-thon Toward a Collaborative Language Diagnostics and Refresher Framework at Swarthmore College, a dedicated group of language learning technologists and Carleton’s student “Data Squad” gathered this fall at Carleton College to work on platform requirements for a dashboard prototype.  Led by Michael Jones  and Carly Born, this two-day mini-hack-a-thon focused on solving technical pieces of the puzzle that will enable the flow of useful data from a language skills diagnostic test into a data-rich visual display. 

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The dashboard is just one piece our faculty’s vision for the shared framework drafted at the meeting last May. Elements include a language skill map, a self-assessment survey, diagnostic/placement tests (question banks) and the dashboard that can help faculty visualize the data for better placement and advising.

Language Learning Skills Map / Top Level Categories:

  • Grammar
  • Comprehension
  • Discourse
  • Vocabulary

Diagnostic visualizations also may point to trends in language skills development within and across our liberal arts programs and language curricula.  A user-friendly dashboard tool can ultimately help students gain feedback on their skill levels and close gaps as they traverse the liberal arts language sequence. (more…)

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The New Online Pomona College Chinese Pronunciation Guide

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Prof. F. Xiao and students developed the guide.
Prof. F. Xiao and students developed the guide.

The Pomona College Chinese Pronunciation Guide is a free online learning module on Chinese pronunciation. This new resources aims to help elementary and intermediate level Chinese learners improve their perception of Chinese. This site was developed by Assistant Professor of Asian Languages and Literatures Feng Xiao and his students. Reflecting on the project, Xiao’s student Benjamin Hogoboom, Pomona ’19, says:

The Pomona College Chinese Pronunciation Guide is something that I was very interested in developing both as a Computer Science and Chinese language student. I was eager to take on the challenge of building my own website from scratch, something I had never done before, and to help out introductory Chinese students with one of the most difficult aspects of acquiring Chinese: pronunciation. I am happy that I was able to team up with Professor Xiao, Edward Gao, and Nina Zhou to create what I believe is a truly useful learning tool for students new to the Chinese language.

The Guide covers pronunciation of all new words in the textbook Integrated Chinese (3rd) Level 1 and 2.  Indexed by lesson, each new word has four audio recordings and requires the user to choose the correct one (see banner image above). The built-in reset button for each word allows multiple uses of the exercise and minimizes practice effect.

Professor Xiao is also a contributor to the LACOL Language Skills/Diagnostics Dashboard project.

To use the Pomona College Chinese Pronunciation Guide, visit:

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Teaching with the iPad Pro and Pencil

Faculty are exploring Apple’s new IPad Pro and its companion Pencil for teaching, presenting, grading and even classroom activities. Initially prompted by a faculty member in Swarthmore’s French section, Technologist Alexander Savoth has been exploring various ways to incorporate these new technologies into the classroom. The following video is a brief screencast, which highlights three particularly useful apps.


    Screencast demo of three teaching tools: Notability, Zen Brush and MyScript Memo.

(more…)

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