Haverford is one of America’s leading liberal arts colleges, a close-knit intellectual community that combines the Quaker values of dignity, tolerance and respect with a rigorous academic program.
Our serene campus, located just outside Philadelphia, is a beautiful and stimulating environment:
200 acres of award-winning architecture and landscaping
more than 50 academic, athletic and residential buildings
a nationally recognized arboretum with 400 species of trees and shrubs, a 3.5-acre duck pond, gardens and wooded areas.
Recent campus additions include The Marian E. Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center and The Douglas B. Gardner ’83 Integrated Athletic Center and two new student residences: Kim Hall and Tritton Hall.
At Haverford’s recent Teaching with Technology Forum, Associate Professor of Classics Bret Mulligan demonstrated a variety ways he uses an iPad Pro and Pencil as a teaching tool in his classroom. As shown in the example below, recordings created with the Explain Everything app on the iPad can be easily shared with students online for later review.
SCREENCAST: B. Mulligan demonstrates the iPad/Pencil for a Latin lesson
Students in an environmental studies-based writing seminar at Haverford College recently completed a digital humanities project—Broken Treaties, Forgotten Archives: Philadelphia Quakers, Allegany Senecas, and the Fight for Sacred Grounds—through Haverford’s Special Collections that focuses on the politics of water, environmental justice, and Indigenous rights. In this first-year seminar taught by John Hyland, a Postdoctoral Fellow in Haverford’s Writing Program, “Ecological Imaginaries: Identity, Violence, and the Environment,” students interrogated how imaginings of the environment are inseparable from issues of social justice. They spent significant time studying the Theodore Brinton Hetzel Papers, a Haverford alumnus who, along with other Philadelphia Quakers, served on the Friends Kinzua Dam Project in the 1950s and 1960s, a project that collaborated with the Seneca Nation of Indians in a fight to stop the construction of a 179-foot dam on the Allegheny River in Warren, Pennsylvania. The dam, which was completed in 1964, flooded out the sacred grounds of the Seneca Nation, dispossessing them of lands that had been granted to them in 1794 by the U.S. Government.
On designing the assignment, Hyland says,
By preparing little-known historical documents for a broader online audience, students learned how to think critically about questions of literacy in a digital environment for the liberal arts. This project’s shift toward an online audience pushed students to consider how their work would be received beyond classroom, and they quickly felt that much more was at stake in their writing than the completion of a seminar assignment.
With generous support from Haverford’s library staff, including Sarah Horowitz and Michael Zarafonetis, students prepared a selection of materials from the archive for digital platforms and curated a public exhibition in order to tell this story of a fight for Indigenous rights, sacredness, and environmental justice. Through this multimodal project, students composed different genres of writing and learned about the rhetorical contexts for digital platforms. They completed annotations using Neatline, constructed a timeline, and composed labels to accompany and introduce the archival items while also producing prospectuses, annotated bibliographies, and articles. In completing this project, students sought to provide a historical perspective on current events such as the current fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. By the project’s close, students possessed a nuanced appreciation for the ways that archives illuminate contemporary moments.
Through four pivotal online media platforms, Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress, Professor Alice Lesnick, Director of the Bi-College Education Program, has invited her students at Bryn Mawr and Haverford to critically engage with these tools in order to understand how they play important, complex, and contested roles in education within and beyond classroom contexts. For each online media platform, a different guest speaker in Lesnick’s Education, Technology, and Society course spent time working with groups on learning one platform and applying this platform into the context of their field placement. For example, students who worked with high school students in a Philadelphia charter school read the Wikipedia entry on charter schools in order think about what needs to be added or changed. Prof. Lesnick noted:
The purpose of this project is to have students think more critically and creatively about their consumption and experience of online media so that they will become better decision makers and have the digital literacy to understand usability as well as the complexities behind these tools.
Bryn Mawr College Tech Talk: Education in the Age of Social Media
Over fall break, a dedicated group of students and faculty at Haverford College spent three days developing their own digital stories, bringing together traditional storytelling and modern multimedia production. The experience was jointly sponsored by the President’s Office initiative on Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Academic Resources and Instructional Technology Services as a way to illuminate personal stories that reflect many campus perspectives. Each participant arrived to the workshop with at least one story that they planned to explore over the course of the workshop. Their task was to create a 3-5 minute video which featured a recorded voice-over and personally curated still imagery.
To begin, Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing Nimisha Ladva led a group discussion on various story arcs and how change agents can affect characters to ultimately provide some form of realization or epiphany. Breakout groups were formed in order to share stories and provide critical feedback. As one student reflected,
Sharing the story in groups and getting feedback were good experiences, and also were helpful to articulate my thoughts and elaborate my story. Also, I really liked the workshop’s small, relaxing community.
As the workshop progressed, Digital Media Specialist Charles Woodard and Instructional Technology Specialist Alexander Savoth guided the group as they assembled images and recorded their voice-overs using a suite of tools including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere and Audacity. Images were laid into a timeline in Adobe Premiere, synched to their recorded voice-over and keyframed to add the illusion of motion. Participants shared their work and received very positive feedback in a screening held on campus three weeks following the workshop. Students also shared reflections on the experience which are detailed on Haverford’s Instructional Technology Blog.
In September 2016, a team of mathematics faculty, technologists and instructional designers from six leading liberal arts colleges (LACOL member schools Amherst, Haverford, Pomona, Swarthmore, Vassar and Williams) are launching a new collaboration to explore blended course sharing for select topics in advanced mathematics. The goal of the project is to experiment with models for shared course delivery which can supplement residential classroom learning and expand curricular offerings for math majors. Inspired by some independent experimentation and brainstorming between faculty team leads, Assoc. Prof. Steven Miller at Williams College (pictured above) and Assoc. Prof. Stephan Ramon Garcia (pictured at right), a group of six mathematicians from across LACOL began talking about possibilities for a multi-campus collaboration in early 2016. These conversations eventually led to a full project proposal which gained strong support from LACOL’s Faculty and Administrative Advisory Councils. The project was officially approved in July 2016 as a two-phased initiative. In the first phase (academic year 2016/2017), a feasibility study is planned which will execute several experiments and “proofs of concept” involving online/blended course elements such as lecture capture, online coaching and problem solving sessions (synchronous and asynchronous) and peer mentoring. With support from the multi-campus project team, these efforts will be spearheaded by Miller at Williams College in connection with his Spring 2017 ‘Problem Solving’ course. In phase two (academic year 2017/2018), findings from phase one will be brought to bear in a pilot course offering, ‘Real and Functional Analysis’, taught by Garcia. In a fully realized vision, the course would be offered both face to face at Pomona, and also opened virtually to interested students at all LACOL campuses. Local faculty and support contacts at each campus would help ensure students experience the best aspects of on-campus and on-line liberal arts learning.
Since mathematics faculty at all LACOL schools already teach a variety of advanced topics, this project will investigate how online/blended sharing may expand access to a richer array of options to meet student interests. Miller notes:
While liberal arts colleges excel in engaged faculty and personal interactions with students, we do not always have the course offerings available at larger institutions with graduate programs. Though often our students are ready for such classes, at each institution there are practical limits to offering them every year. Our goal is to increase the wealth and frequency of the advanced classes our students need, both for graduate study and to delve deeply in the subject.
Launch of the ‘Upper Level Math’ project has stirred excitement across the Consortium. The math team’s work is seen as an opportunity to collaboratively experiment with emerging online/blended pedagogies that might be useful in a variety of disciplines. It is also a chance for the schools to explore related policy issues of faculty and student credit in the context of online/blended course delivery and consortial partnerships. In considering these issues, the team will draw on experiences from peer institutions and other consortia who have been investigating these new models in a variety of ways. Swarthmore College Professor of Cell Biology Liz Vallen, who evaluated the project in-depth as a member of LACOL’s Faculty Advisory Council, commented:
This [project] seems exactly aligned with LACOL’s goals as it is leveraging the consortium to increase course offerings and availability at partner institutions. The other big benefit of this work is that it is a concrete example that will be a great pilot experiment to see if this is something feasible and beneficial within the LACOL framework.
I learned about The Early Novels Database when my English professor, Emily Vasiliauskas, told me about a joint END/LACOL effort to include more undergraduate students through summer internships. The project offered a unique combination of scholarly research available to undergraduates in the humanities with an introduction to a rapidly emerging sector of my own field I knew very little about. Throughout the summer, I worked with peers and mentors from Swarthmore College, University of Pennsylvania’s Van Pelt Library, Haverford College, and the Tri-College Digital Humanities initiative to gather metadata on early English novels. The experience acquainted me with the breadth and depth of works beyond the traditional literary canon. It also provided me with a rare opportunity to learn unfamiliar skills in the digital humanities in the context of my own discipline.
The daily routine of paging through dozens of never before cataloged early modern novels might seem repetitive on the surface. In practice it acquainted me with a new way of close reading distinct from what I was accustomed to in my academic courses. I learned about preservation and handling techniques essential to maintaining special collections and preserving aging works. I became fascinated with the question of the book as object. Specifically, I was interested in books which had been physically torn, annotated, or stitched together, and books which comprised edited compilations of other works. One of the most interesting examples of alteration to the book as object is the popular 18th century practice of binding together periodicals received over a subscription period to form one larger volume. Certainly, there is a sense of continuity or comprehensiveness, even status, that comes with a complete set of matching volumes, a gilt-edged collection of encyclopedias. I wonder whether at least a portion of the appeal of this completeness might have been the pretense of omniscience, or appearance of omniscience, it conferred on the owner.
At one time, owning a complete set of encyclopedias might have connoted possession of nearly all officially recorded, general knowledge—a possession that, in the digital age, is simultaneously impossible in physical form as information is constantly generated, and accessible to everyone via the Internet.
The practice of interacting constantly with dozens of rare books gave rise to my final project, Imagined Distance: Visualizing Place and Space in Faux Epistolary Travel Novels. I had the opportunity to peruse a variety of epistolary novels. Many of the characters wrote to one another across divides of cultural and physical geography, age, gender, and class background. My project focused on how epistolary novels ignore, honor, or attempt to collapse those distances: geographical, emotional, or even spiritual. I sought to contrast and quantitate, when or if possible, the various types of distances in a novel as the author conceived of them with the distances I could map through various digital tools that use a standard Mercator projection. I used a corpus of literature that eventually organized itself around a particular subgenre, one both oddly specific and widely published in the 18th century.
This genre, faux epistolary travel fiction, emerged as a way for Europeans to read about the adventures of primarily non-white travelers–except those travelers were actually white British writers impersonating people of color.
What I found so interesting, even alarming, about the faux travel fiction trend in particular is that it creates and then purports to collapse a fictional distance from the dominant culture that the writer does not actually have to negotiate in the first place.
I used the intentionally blunt tool of mapping out locations I noted in the novels, noticing which details fell off the page. I was particularly interested in those distances that defied my attempts at modelling. After completing close readings, I used the Stanford Name Entity Recognizer tool to identify locations in the novels I’d selected. I created in Google My Maps a map of each of the novels, with their geographical references displayed on a standard Mercator projection map, and I used Google Fusion Tables as a further tool for exploration. I brought together my newfound facility with digital tools and my love for geography in literature in a final public presentation supported by faculty and my peers. Examples of the maps I created can be found at the top of this post and below.
At the June LACOL workshop, Associate Professor of Chemistry Casey Londergan demonstrated his techniques for flipping the chemistry classroom as part of a multi-disciplinary panel on faculty and student experiences with online, blended and active learning.
In a Physical Chemistry class primarily for juniors, Londergan and his colleague Joshua Schrier have experimented with a mixture of just-in-time and active learning techniques with their students in order to maximize the use of class time for problem solving work. Content delivery through readings and videos happens mostly through the LMS so more active learning can happen in the classroom. Modular videos allow students to re-watch sections of the lecture. Pre-class questions in the LMS also help Londergan adjust each class to focus on the areas where students have the most questions.
For students, the active classroom learning design pushes them to focus and improve in the most challenging areas. Using a tablet and stylus linked wirelessly to the projector, Londergan is free to move around the class and help individual students and groups get “unstuck” as they work on problems together.
Prof. Casey Londergan demonstrates his flipped chemistry classroom at Haverford.
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?
Have students ever come to your office hours confused about the material because they did not quite understand a concept discussed or may have written something incorrectly while trying to take notes and listen at the same time? This situation is what led Fran Blase (Provost & Associate Professor of Chemistry) to apply for a Haverford Teaching with Technology grant in 2011. She received the grant and worked with Haverford’s IITS team to implement Panopto (lecture capture system) in her classes.
This short video shows the experiences of three Haverford students who are taking classes that use lecture capture.
Recorded lectures can be beneficial to students with diverse needs. Some students need notetakers, some want to review materials later, and some miss class. Think about the Universal Design for Learning (UDL). (more…)
LACOL was proud to co-sponsor Haverford’s Teaching with Technology Forum for Fall 2015 which was organized by Instructional & Information Technology Services (IITS). Eight Haverford College faculty members shared their approaches and experiments in using digital teaching and learning tools that help to increase student engagement with course material, their classmates, and faculty. Hiroyo Saito, Director of IITS’s Instructional Technology Services and her team work closely with faculty in planning this semi-annual event.