Founded in 1866, Carleton College is a small, private liberal arts college in the historic river town of Northfield, Minnesota. Best known for its academic excellence and warm, welcoming campus community, Carleton offers 37 majors and 15 concentrations in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences.
Carleton College is committed to providing a true liberal arts education, a curriculum that challenges our students to learn broadly and think deeply. Instead of training for one narrow career path, Carleton students develop the knowledge and skills to succeed in any walk of life. (more…)
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…)
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 (email@example.com) to join the waitlist.
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
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…)
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.
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:
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…)
This January, LACOL’s Quantitative Skills working group held a 3-day intensive workshop (also known as a hack-a-thon) to explore a shared framework for review of online modules designed to strengthen students’ quantitative skills (QS) and quantitative reasoning (QR). The face-to-face event was designed by a core team of faculty and technologists from the QS group. The workshop was hosted at Carleton College, with support from the Office of the President, Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching, and Office of Academic Technology.
Goals for the LACOL QS hack-a-thon:
Identify aspects of existing QS/QR curricula, frameworks, and methods to be adapted as an online module/program by participating colleges. The goal for the collaboration is to enhance, not replace, local offerings.
Plan for participating campuses to pilot one of the frameworks and agree to a process for assessment and sharing results among campuses.
Document workshop outcomes and recommendations to share with colleagues across the liberal arts.
Throughout the year, the QS working group has been exploring ideas for a collaborative framework to curate or build online tools and resources – including metadata on related pedagogical practices – to support students with QS/QR. Earlier this year, QS group members contributed to a joint exercise informally titled “What do we mean by quantitative skills?” to generate a shared list of key skills across the quantitative disciplines that students will need to have or acquire early in their academic careers. This common skills list provides input into strategies for helping students identify and close gaps. (more…)
Colleagues with wide-ranging expertise and disciplinary interests from seven LACOL schools spent three days sharing, working and learning side-by-side at the hack-a-thon. Together, the team developed an initial draft and prototypes of a collaborative framework for creating/curating and evaluating online QS/QR modules that can boost students success and improve access. With inspiration from special guest Jim Rolf from Yale ONEXYS, we delved deeply into collaborative strategies for design, implementation and measuring effectiveness. A grand time was had by all … and more to come! (Read more about the project.)
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Debrief on Carleton’s CUBE pilot (online summer bridge program for quantitative skills)
On October 19, LACOL held a webinar with special guests Melissa Eblen-Zayas and Janet Russell from Carleton College. In this one-hour session, Melissa and Janet shared their experiences running the first iteration ofthe ‘Carleton Undergraduate Bridge Experience’ or CUBE, a new online summer bridge program designed to support entering students with quantitative skills and reasoning. Carleton’s creative approach to developing CUBE riveted the audience at the June LACOL workshop as the pilot was just getting underway. Now in this “debrief” session, you can hear all about what went into running the program in the first round, how students responded, and the lessons that were learned. The meeting was held in Zoom with ample opportunity for Q&A and discussion. Contact Liz Evans (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Melissa Eblen-Zayas, Associate Professor of Physics and Director of the Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching, Carleton College
Janet Russell, Director of Academic Technology, Carleton College
At the LACOL workshop in June, classicist Chico Zimmerman from Carleton College shared a short plenary talk entitled, “Toward a better Latin placement test”, also known as, “A Tale of Two Arcadian Friends, a Homocidal Innkeeper, and a Pile of Manure.”
In their teaching, faculty strive to meet students where they are, but often must ask, where exactly ARE they? For incoming students at Carleton, the Classics department found that their Latin placement test was not giving enough granular diagnostic information, especially for less experienced students. To address this need, Zimmerman and his colleages are investigating a variety of adaptive tools and platforms with the potential to help them better understand and guide their students at the appropriate level.
In the video clip below, Zimmerman shares details on Carleton’s experiments thus far with Moodle, Assistments, Smart Sparrow, and other tools. Similar themes of adaptive and digitally-enhanced support for language instruction and other disciplines were explored in sessions throughout the two-day workshop program.
Chico Zimmerman explores tools for better language placement at the LACOL workshop.
A major highlight of Saturday’s plenary session at the June LACOL workshop was a presentation from Carleton College on their new online/hybrid bridge program called ‘Carleton Undergraduate Bridge Experience’ or CUBE. Associate Dean and Professor of English George Shuffelton opened the session with some background on the motivations for designing the new program to support incoming students with their quantitative skills and reasoning which pilots this summer. Director of Academic Technology Janet Russell has worked closely with the program’s director, Physicist Melissa Eblen-Zayas, and the Carleton IT team to guide the learning design for the first cohort of ~24 students. Janet described various elements of the program, including on-campus and online mentoring, videos and connections through social media. Workshop participants, especially those involved with the Quantitative Skills working group, applauded this excellent presentation and are excited to learn from Carleton’s initial experiences this summer. The QS group is exploring various ways the colleges might collaborate to support students with quantitative skills and reasoning as they arrive on campus and progress with their studies.
Carleton’s G. Shuffelton and J. Russell share a look at the CUBE for QS/QR.
On April 27th, five expert panelists from across the Consortium gathered online with an audience of faculty, technologists, and campus administrators for a discussion entitled, “Learning Data. What do we know? What do we want to know?” The session began with some thought-provoking remarks from the panelists, followed by two case studies, leading into free flowing conversation around several themes noted below in the video highlights.
The goal of this online conversation was to set a broad frame for faculty perspectives on learning data as it is useful in guiding teaching and student success in the liberal arts. As indicated by audience feedback, this area has rich possibilities for exploration and potential collaboration as a Consortium. We will be looking for opportunities to foster further conversation and collaborative investigation on specific aspects of this important topic.
Video Gallery – Online Panel
The who of learning data for the liberal arts.
• Dr. Audrey Bilger, Professor of Literature and Faculty Director of the Center for Writing & Public Discourse, Claremont McKenna College; incoming Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, Pomona College
Levels of data that may inform teaching practice and institutional structures.
• Dr. Catherine Crouch, Associate Professor of Physics, Swarthmore College
How can liberal arts colleges collaborate on data that guide teaching and learning?
Carleton College has been using Moodle for nearly 10 years without having ever done a real evaluation of our use. Recent data from our participation in the MISO survey suggest some dissatisfaction with Moodle on our campus. And many current conversations (this Educause white paper is a great place to start) in ed-tech are centered around the changing role of the LMS or even whether an LMS is really needed anymore. But how do we know? And how do we know what we need?
That is why we are taking a step back and trying to engage the campus on attempting to understand our use of Moodle on a deeper level. The Moodle Evaluation & Needs Assessment project is designed to answer this question:
Does Carleton College need to investigate new technologies to support the functions currently provided by Moodle? Before we can answer this question, we are carrying out an assessment to gain a deeper understanding of the how we are using Moodle now, how we feel about it, and what it is that we actually need.
I’ve designed this evaluation project to try to assess Moodle from a number of different angles in order to get a more complete picture. There will be database diving, surveys and oh, so many focus groups!
Survey to assess the satisfaction with Moodle
A survey was distributed in March 2016 to all faculty at Carleton and also to staff who have logged into Moodle more than 5 times in the last year at Carleton. A separate survey was also distributed to a representative sample of Carleton students. I have some anecdotal information on general feelings towards Moodle, but it will be so much better to get some quantifiable feedback to specific features of the system.
Survey to assess the importance placed on features typically served by tools like Moodle
This is arguably more important than the questions about satisfaction, and is the heart of the needs assessment portion of this study. I’m hoping to get responses from everyone, even those who don’t use Moodle so that we can understand more about what it is that we need.
I am spending a lot of time up close and personal with the Moodle database. Moodle tracks a lot of information, and so I’m hoping to take advantage of that to understand our current usage patterns. Some questions I will be looking at include:(more…)
One of the most important things for any institution, especially ones that know that their survival isn’t threatened by the changes in the ecosystem, is to try to be a model of reinvention, to try to reimagine what it is that we most deeply value that is now existing in the world. The most important design question to ask is what kind of experimentation does an institution need to do so that institution can live fully in its time.
In June 2014, the Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning (LACOL) held its first consortium-wide workshop. Teams of faculty, librarians and academic technologists from all eight LACOL colleges gathered together on the Pomona College campus to share ideas and explore collaborative experiments in online and hybrid approaches to teaching and learning for the liberal arts. In this clip, President Steven G. Poskanzer of Carleton College welcomes the group, and shares his thoughts on LACOL’s promise.
President Steve Poskanzer of Carleton College welcomes workshop participants