Digitally Shared Course Offerings (2020 – 2021)

Sharing courses as a consortium enhances curricular opportunities and provides a forum for our faculty and students to explore digitally-enhanced, collaborative modes for teaching and learning in the liberal arts. Browse below for the latest classes available to students in the LACOL network.

Faculty take note!  LACOL’s Advisory Councils have issued a Call for Proposals inviting your ideas for novel shared course opportunities.

Data Science, Mathematics & Statistics

Introduction to Data Science (Summer 2020)
Team taught, fully online course

Operations Research (Spring 2020)
Prof. Steven J. Miller, Williams College

Bayesian Statistics and Data Confidentiality (Spring 2020)
Prof. Monika Hu, Vassar College

Languages & Literatures

Intermediate German Link (Fall 2020)
Prof. Sunka Simon, Swarthmore College; Prof. Matt Miller, Colgate University

Shared Conversation for Portuguese (Fall 2020 / Spring 2021)
Prof. Lioba Gerhardi, Vassar College; Jane Canova, Williams College 

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Intermediate German Digital Link-Up (Fall 2020)

Prof. Simon Swarthmore College

Professors Sunka Simon and Matthew Miller teach Intermediate German as an intensive language class that meets four days a week on campus at Swarthmore College and Colgate University respectively. The curriculum is built to enhance the four language skills (oral, aural, reading and writing composition) through a combination of up-to-date, authentic print and audio-visual geo-political and cultural material to move students from A2 to B1 level proficiency within the span of one semester. Both classes work from a textbook (e.g. Stationen) that integrates Landeskunde (learning about the specificities of German-speaking regions and cities) with B1-level grammar and vocabulary lessons.

Prof. MillerColgate University
Prof. Miller
Colgate University

We carved out the potential of holding a synchronous class together once a week as a joint web conference. Asynchronously, cross-college teams of students will prepare didacticized assignments consisting of blog-posts, a discussion forum and Zoom video-conferencing tools utilizing newly acquired linguistic concepts to react to consecutive weekly episodes of German-language original dramas such as Dark, Skylines, Dogs of Berlin or Berlin Babylon. The semester will culminate with a virtual symposium and/or video-essay student presentations.

On the benefits of linking courses across two campuses, Professor Simon notes:

Our linked class creates a broader cohort of language learners. We are “in it together.”

As the course wraps up, digital student projects will be shared with the LACOL language community, including web-published symposium papers and final video essays.
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Liberal Arts Lecture Exchange (hosted by LACOL)

Liberal Arts Remote Lecture Exchange

LACOL is hosting a Liberal Arts Lecture/Lesson Exchange.  This concept was proposed by faculty at our member schools and is starting to roll out as a response to remote teaching needs.The exchange is open to the liberal arts community. Consider contributing!

Liberal Arts Remote Lecture Exchange

Post to the exchange: http://bit.ly/lac-remote-lesson-form

View the list: http://bit.ly/lac-remote-lesson-exchange

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Call for Proposals – LACOL course sharing framework (2018 – 2021)

Attention Faculty!
2020 Call for Proposals is Open!

Do you have an idea for a digitally shared (hybrid/online) or team taught course?

The Liberal Arts Collaborative for Digital Innovation (LACOL) invites proposals from its members for small grants to fund creative and collaborative projects in the liberal arts. Proposals and accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.  Areas of particular interest include:

  • Digitally Shared Courses
  • Effective Digital and Inclusive Pedagogies
  • Data Science / Quantitative Skills
  • Language Instruction

Contact your local LACOL Faculty Advisory Council Representative for more information and how to apply.

Or email LACOL to pitch your idea!  [See also: proposal template, budget template]

Background: Exec Summary / Call for Proposals (PDF)

About the Exploration

Sharing courses as a consortium can enhance curricular opportunities for students and faculty, lead to efficiency gains by combining expertise and curricular resources, and provide opportunities for our faculty and students to explore digitally-enhanced, collaborative modes for teaching and learning in the liberal arts.

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Operations Research – Shared Course Opportunity, Spring 2020

Shared LACOL Course: Operations Research
Instructor: Professor Steven J. Miller, Williams College
Enrollment Info for Students: http://bit.ly/ops-research (Fall 2019, Spring 2020)
Syllabus & Course Website: https://web.williams.edu/Mathematics/sjmiller/public_html/317Fa19
Course Flyer: Operations Research PDF
Topics and Objectives:

  1. The real world is complicated, requiring mathematicians to approximate solutions and even the statement of real world problems!
  2. While the chess scenario pictured above might appear to be a make-work problem, the efficient solution illustrates one of the most powerful ideas in mathematics, and allows us to tell in many cases how close we are to the optimal solution (even if we cannot find the optimal solution.)
  3. In this class, you will learn powerful methods from classical algorithms to advanced linear algebra and their applications to the real world, specifically linear programming and random matrix theory.
Video - S. Miller, Williams College
Click to Watch Video – S. Miller, Williams College

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Introduction to Data Science (shared course)

In Summer 2019 …

Introduction to Data Science (co-taught course, shared digitally)

Syllabus and FAQ: See course gateway

Learning Objectives:

  1. Familiarity and expertise in basic coding (R/RStudio).
  2. Understanding of theory and application of basic concepts in statistics.
  3. Ability to write and present technical material to diverse audiences.

Course Sequence:

  • Intensive 8-week course with data lab component (fully digital)
  • Student centered learning design including pre-recorded lectures, real-time lectures, and laboratory/supported work time
  • Course co-taught by instructors from LACOL schools 
  • Delivery is fully online with some scheduled and some asynchronous events.

Course Team: see course gateway

Lightning Talk – Learn about this project in just 6.5 minutes!


Presented May 22, 2019 at the Bryn Mawr Blended Learning Conference

Course Topics Include: (more…)

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Bayesian Statistics – Shared Course Opportunity, Fall 2019

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

Shared LACOL Course: Bayesian Statistics
Instructor: Professor Jingchen (Monika) Hu, Vassar College
Syllabus & Enrollment Info: http://bit.ly/bayesian-stats
Course Flyer: Bayesian Statistics PDF
Topics and Objectives:

  1. Understanding of basic concepts in Bayesian statistics and ability to apply Bayesian inference approaches to solve scientific research problems and real-word problems.
  2. Ability and skills to use statistical programming software (R/RStudio and JAGS) to realize Bayesian analysis.
  3. Practice of reading, discussing, and critiquing statistics research journal papers.

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Course Sharing Brainstorm at LACOL 2018

Session: Course Sharing Brainstorm
Date/Time: Friday, June 1, 1:30-2:50pm
Location: Weitz 235
Background Reading: Straw Models
Facilitators:

  • Liz Evans, LACOL Director
  • Lioba Gerhardi, Adj. Asst. Professor of German and SILP Director, Vassar College
  • Jingchen (Monika) Hu, Asst. Professor Statistics, Vassar College
  • Steven J. Miller, Professor of Mathematics, Williams College

Sharing courses as a consortium can enhance curricular opportunities, lead to efficiency gains by combining expertise and curricular resources, and provide opportunities for our faculty and students to explore digitally-enhanced, collaborative modes for teaching and learning in the liberal arts.

Building on pilots and proofs of concept conducted in 2017,  faculty and staff across the consortium worked together in the spring of 2018 to explore opportunities and a framework (processes and infrastructure) that could support strategic course sharing.

https://lacol.net/category/collaborations/course-sharing

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Course Sharing for Self-Instructional Language Learning (SILP)

Colleges within the consortium offer some form of guided, self-instruction of lesser-taught languages. In Fall 2017/Spring 2018, Vassar College and Williams College launched a collaborative exploration to share online, synchronous classroom-to-classroom interactions across their across their Self-Instructional Language Programs in Portuguese.  Through online web conferencing, the classes on each campus shared a tutor and teaching resources for students learning practicing their Portuguese pronunciation and conversation skills. 

Learning Design:

  • Two one-hour synchronous sessions each week with all students and the tutors
  • Up to ten hours of independent study in preparation for the tutorial sessions

Students enrolled in a Self-Instructional Language Course meet twice a week with their tutor and other students in the course. Each student is expected to prepare thoroughly for these sessions, using detailed study guides, a textbook, and multimedia materials. The focus in SILP lies on communication, not on grammatical analysis and literary study. Hence tutorial sessions are conceived as review sessions, unlike more traditional language instruction where new material is often introduced during class.

The tutor’s role is to facilitate the active use of words and structures learned by students beforehand, and to model the use and pronunciation of the language. A shared course differs from a regular course in SILP only in the addition of remote learners to the host institution’s class. All students and the tutor interact with each other in real time via videoconferencing technology. In addition, tutorial sessions are recorded and may be used for further review.

– Project lead L. Gerhardi (Vassar College)

Related Posts:

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Upper Level Math & Stats Course Exchange

As one possible avenue to expanding curricular offerings for math and stats majors, partner schools of LACOL have been exploring ways to remotely share classes using hybrid/online delivery modes.

Math/Stats Pilots: In Spring and Fall of 2017, several LACOL colleges collaborated to pilot three shared course offerings for advanced mathematics and statistics:

  • Putnam Problem Solving, Spring ‘17 (Prof. S. Miller, WIlliams College)
  • Advanced Real Analysis, Fall ‘17 (Prof. S. Garcia, Pomona College)
  • Bayesian Statistics, Fall ‘17 (Prof. M. Hu, Vassar College)

The goal of this exploration is increase the wealth and frequency of the advanced classes our students need, both for graduate study and to delve deeply in the subject.

Learning Design: For these shared courses, each professor opened their course to students across LACOL, sharing lectures, assignments and other class activities through both asynchronous (e.g. recorded lectures and screencasts) and synchronous (e. g. online problem solving sessions and office hours) means.

In these pilots, students reported positive experiences and some adjustments to learning through digital modes:

Before I took Professor Miller’s class, I was already very interested in problem-solving and participating in math competitions […] I was really excited to hear that there was a professor at Williams who was teaching a class on Putnam. I wanted to improve my problem solving skills systematically. The biggest advantage was that I could watch the videos whenever I wanted, and take classes that I otherwise could not fit in my schedule at Swarthmore. I also watched Professor Miller’s other videos, including the ones on number theory or complex analysis, to fill in gaps of my knowledge.
– John Fan, Swarthmore ’19

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You Are the New Gatekeeper of the News

video gallery button_edited-1Event: Online Pop-Up Discussion, April 4th 2017
Title: You Are the New Gatekeeper of the News
Discussion Leader: Aly Colón, Knight Professor of Media Ethics, Washington and Lee University
Audience: Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumnae/i
Background Reading: You are the new gatekeepers of the news (The Conversation, Feb 7, 2017)

Aly Colón, Professor of Journalism Ethics, W&L
A. Colón

Discussion Topic: News consumers today face a flood of fake news and alternative information. In this online meet-up, journalism ethics professor Aly Colón explores forces of change in the new media landscape as we become responsible for deciding how we filter what’s news and what’s not. Professor Colón frames the conversation with historical examples and point to emerging trends in the digital age of news where Velocity + Volume = Volatility. As an ethical agent of journalism, how can you cultivate a mindset of open inquiry and deepen your capacities to handle challenging or uncomfortable views, especially in online settings?


Highlights (9:52)

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