LACOL has been awarded an IUSE grant from National Science Foundation for a project titled, “Online modules for quantitative skill building: Exploring adaption and adoption across a consortium”. This three-year project will research the adaption and adoption of face-to-face and online pedagogies for teaching quantitative skills (QS) with the aim of improving understanding of best practices for the development of online modules to support students’ QS development. (more…)
Mini-Conference: Cultivating Student Leadership to Foster a More Inclusive Liberal Arts Classroom
Location: Amherst College Center for Teaching and Learning (Frost Library)
Date: April 5, 2019
Agenda: Student Leadership – April 5 Agenda
Invited Speaker: Bryan Dewsbury, University of Rhode Island
Host: Amherst College Center for Teaching and Learning in partnership with Being Human in STEM and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (more…)
Event: Exploring Complexity through Student Micro-Narratives with Sensemaker
Host: Sensemaker Team Leads (Kristen Eshleman, Brent Maher, Annie Sadler, Paul Youngman)
Date: April 4
Time: 1:00pm-5:00pm (optional group lunch at 12:00pm; details tba)
Location: The Powerhouse, Amherst College
Attendees: Sensemaker Teams (Davidson, Hamilton, Haverford, Washington & Lee)
Project Website: http://emergentedu.org
Event: Language Instruction Jam
Location: Bryn Mawr College, Canaday Library
Date: March 23-24
Agenda: Language Jam Agenda
Attendees: Language Instruction working group and project teams
Full agenda & highlights:
- CHIANTI: Ample time devoted to collaborative workshopping on CHIANTI, the shared teaching resource for college-level language instruction; participants will explore the resources that have been gathered so far (including student and faculty reflection videos on liberal arts language learning), brainstorm on ideas for the emerging platform, and work on building additional content.
- SKILLS DASHBOARD: Demonstration and brainstorming on the language skills question bank and dashboard prototype – initially developed for French last year, with future possibilities for other languages.
- DIGITAL TOOLS for LANGUAGE LEARNING: Colleagues across LACOL shared experiences with digital pedagogies and tools for language instruction.
Shared LACOL Course: Operations Research
Instructor: Professor Steven J. Miller, Williams College
Enrollment Info for Students: http://bit.ly/ops-research
Syllabus & Course Website: https://web.williams.edu/Mathematics/sjmiller/public_html/317Fa19
Course Flyer: Operations Research Fall 2019 PDF
Topics and Objectives:
- The real world is complicated, requiring mathematicians to approximate solutions and even the statement of real world problems!
- 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.)
- 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.
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:
- Understanding of basic concepts in Bayesian statistics and ability to apply Bayesian inference approaches to solve scientific research problems and real-word problems.
- Ability and skills to use statistical programming software (R/RStudio and JAGS) to realize Bayesian analysis.
- Practice of reading, discussing, and critiquing statistics research journal papers.
Renewed for Fall 2019!
In an increasingly globalized world, students are seeking ways to learn languages that are not commonly taught at schools in the United States. While self-instructional language programs (SILP) afford many opportunities to explore lesser-taught languages like Hindi, Korean, or Swahili, the scope of each program is limited. A new online collaboration will allow each program to tap into resources that other colleges in the consortium have, e.g. native speakers in the community that can serve as tutors, or advanced level instruction in certain languages. Students will have additional opportunities to explore new paths within their liberal arts education.
Many of the colleges within the consortium offer some form of guided self-instruction of lesser-taught languages already. The new LACOL project will launch a collaboration between the Self-Instructional Language Programs at Vassar, and Williams College, using online synchronous classroom-to-classroom interaction. As Lioba Gerhardi, Vassar’s Coordinator of the Self-Instructional Language Program and Adjunct Assistant Professor of German Studies says:
By sharing resources, the partners will be able to increase the number of self-instructional languages available to students in an innovative and cost-effective manner.
The self-instructional component of each language course will remain unchanged. Each student will enroll for the course at their home institution. For speaking and listening practice, students will join conversational tutorial sessions at a partnering college via video conferencing software, such as Zoom.
Event: Inclusive Pedagogies – Sensemaker Assessment Design Jam
Location: Davidson College
Date: October 18, 2018
- Kristen Eshleman, Director of Digital Innovation, Davidson College
- Brent Maher, Director of Academic Assessment, Davidson College
- Annie Sadler, Digital Design Fellow, Davidson College
- Paul Youngman, Associate Provost and Professor of German, Washington & Lee University
Update on the shared grammar resource, summer 2018.
Convened by Chico Zimmerman and Clara Hardy (Carleton College), about a dozen faculty and technologists met at the workshop to make progress on ideas that emerged from several separate Zoom meetings in the two months preceding the conference. Eventually, the discussions centered on three main elements to focus on moving forward in the near term:
- A set of videos featuring LACOL language instructors and students reflecting on the college-level language-learning experience. These videos will be available for sharing with all LACOL institutions by the end of the summer (see next bullet).
- A self-curated online digital library of shareable resources for LACOL language instructors, for which a proof-of-concept site has been created and tentatively named CHIANTI (as a more appealing version of MERLOT). The (currently WordPress) site would allow for submissions from LACOL language instructors and would be searchable by category and tags. The initial categories will be in the area of:
- General tips for college-level language learning, including research on adult L2 acquisition
- English grammar for L2 learners, including models or maps that integrate all aspects of language
- An interactive glossary of grammatical and linguistic terms from which instructors can draw for their own pedagogical purposes and to which they can contribute their own definitions and examples.
The CHIANTI site will continue to be built through the summer and populated with some initial resources for testing. A prototype submission form has been drafted and will be tested and finalized through the summer as well. The group will be soliciting contributions once these elements are finalized.
Session: Measuring Complex Domains for the Liberal Arts (Inclusive Pedagogies) with Sensemaker
⇒ Project site: https://emergentedu.org
⇒ About Sensemaker: http://cognitive-edge.com/sensemaker/#sensemaker-about
⇒ Kristen Eshleman, Director of Digital Innovation, Davidson College
⇒ Brent Maher, Director of Academic Assessment, Davidson College
⇒ Annie Sadler, Instructional Design Fellow, Davidson College
⇒ Paul Youngman, Prof. of German, Chair, Digital Humanities, Washington & Lee University
WATCH! Intro video (15 min)
Innovations in assessment can directly address a key challenge for our institutions – demonstrating our value in a time of increasing skepticism about the liberal arts.
On April 27, Davidson College and Washington & Lee University hosted a LACOL workshop to explore an assessment tool and method called Sensemaker that has the potential to manage and account for the complex domains of learning. Pursuing a research design as a network of allied liberal arts institutions provides evidence at scale while building capacity for experimentation and innovation at each of our institutions. (more…)
For related research, see also: Measuring Complex Domains (summer/fall 2018)
Emerging pedagogies for inclusion are keen topics of interest across the liberal arts. 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 these conversations, two interrelated workshops will be held in the Spring of 2018:
WORKSHOP 2: Measuring Complex Domains of Learning (Inclusive Pedagogies)
- Date: Friday, April 27
- Location: Davidson College
- Workshop Leads:
- Dr. Brent Maher, Director of Academic Assessment, Davidson College
- Kristen Eshleman, Director of Digital Innovation, Davidson College
- Prof. Paul Youngman, Chair of the Digital Humanities Working Group and Professor of German, Washington & Lee University
- Workshop Resources: Readings & Videos
- Program: https://emergentedu.org
WORKSHOP 1: LACOL Dialogue on Inclusive Pedagogies
- Date: Friday, March 9
- Location: Haverford College
- 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: Agenda
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…)
Sessions: QLAB discussions at LACOL 2018
Discussion Leads – QLAB Core Team:
- Melissa Eblen-Zayas, Professor of Physics, Carleton College
- Jonathan Leamon, Director of Instructional Technology, Williams College
- Laura Muller, Director of Quantitative Skills Programs and Peer Support, Williams College
- Janet Russell, Director of Academic Technology, Carleton College
Presentation file: QLAB overview summer 2018
The QLAB core team led a workshop session to update QLAB participants on the latest developments with the project. The team presented a redesign for the next phases of the project, reflecting a perspective shift from crowdsourcing new or curated materials to adapting existing, validated materials with the multi-campus faculty team. Several lessons learned from the fall 2018 QLAB pilot were discussed. Participants engaged in brainstorming around the applicability of the problems in the validated online skill building modules “The Math You Need When You Need It” for Geosciences and Economics and “Math Bench” for Biology. Discussion focused on the possible scope of each Qbit, and ways to engage faculty in appropriately framing the Q skill for use in their course(s). (more…)
Event: Information Session – Update on QLAB / What’s Next?
Date: Wednesday, April 25
Time: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Eastern
Presenter: 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.
Read more about the pilot: https://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. Based on a new proposal developed by the core team over the winter and spring, the team welcomes your input on the next phases of the collaboration.
- Status of the Q-bit project — overview of what’s been accomplished to date and the latest thinking toward the next phase of the collaboration.
- Lessons learned so far
- Seeking input on some next steps
To assist our students with readiness for their quantitative work across the curriculum, and to investigate the role that online resources may play in this, the Liberal Arts Collaborative for Digital Innovation (LACOL) has kicked off a multi-campus development and educational research initiative, nicknamed QLAB. The QLAB project provides a framework for creating a series of modules called Q-bits. Each online Q-bit module focuses on a particular quantitative skill or concepts and provides instructional and review content that is “wrapped” by pre/post knowledge and confidence checks, contextual guides, and applications problems in several disciplines. (more…)
The Language Instruction Working Group is currently (Spring/Summer 2018) exploring an idea for a online resource built collaborative by/for LACOL faculty and instructors that will guide language learners on foundational grammar concepts.
There is an emerging plan for collaboration toward Shared Grammar Resources for Beginning Language Students. This concept has been discussed with enthusiasm in some earlier LACOL meetings, and Carleton Professor of Classics Chico Zimmerman has drafted a proposal to articulate more of the vision – see link above and below.
Four small teams are actively collaborating across several schools on the following module topics:
- General Advice to Learners
- General advice to incoming students about language-learning at college.
- This includes some student voices on their learning experiences, but also could include some more general data/research findings on the benefits of L2 acquisition and the potential interferences of L1.
- Map of Language Learning
- An “overview” or map of the different domains that language takes in, including “grammar” broadly construed and its relevance
- Glossary of Grammar Terms
- A glossary of grammar terms with English examples; perhaps including sentence diagramming
- Phonetics and Phonology
- Phonetics/phonology module (perhaps with differing emphases depending on the target languages)
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…)