|Module Purpose: This module guides students on key concepts for working with linear functions in different disciplinary contexts.
Module Authors: Adam Honig, Amherst College, Jim Rolf and Yale ONEXYS, with additional problems contributed by LACOL faculty, instructors and QS/QR tutors.
Notes on Strategy:
|STUDENTS: Access the ‘Linear Functions‘ Q-bit in your LMS!
Carleton College: contact the Academic Technology team in ITS for access in Moodle.
Haverford College: https://moodle.haverford.edu/course/view.php?id=646
Williams College: contact the OIT team for access in GLOW.
Choosing a Graph Type to Visualize Data
|Module Purpose: This module guides students on steps to think about the variables they’re exploring and select the best graph type to visualize them.
Module Authors: Ming-Wen An, Vassar College; Albert Y. Kim, Amherst College, with additional problems contributed by LACOL faculty, instructors and QS/QR tutors.
Notes on Strategy:
|STUDENTS: Access the ‘Choosing a Graph Type’ Q-bit in your LMS!
Carleton College: contact the Academic Technology team in ITS for access in Moodle.
Haverford College: https://moodle.haverford.edu/course/index.php?categoryid=44
Vassar College: http://moodle.vassar.edu/course/view.php?id=11931
Williams College: contact the OIT team for access in GLOW.
[COMMENTS CURRENTLY CLOSED]
Faculty Talk: Where’s the Remote? Upper-Level Math/Stats Hybrid Course Sharing for the Liberal Arts
Presentation File: PDF
Date: Tuesday, January 30
Location: EDUCAUSE ELI 2018, New Orleans, LA
Project: Explorations toward a LACOL course sharing framework
As one possible avenue to expanding curricular offerings for math and stats majors at small liberal arts institutions, partner schools of LACOL have been exploring ways to remotely share classes using hybrid/online delivery modes. Professors Steven J. Miller (Williams College, pictured above) and Jingchen Monika Hu (Vassar College, at left), two faculty members at the forefront of this collaboration, will describe their experiences in designing hybrid courses and teaching with a mix of digital pedagogies. We will emphasize how connections were made between students and faculty, how well local and remote students were able to engage the material, and the various challenges in coordinating course delivery across several campuses.
For students of advanced mathematics and statistics, the liberal arts model offers a deep level of engagement in learning with faculty and peers; however, due to practical limitations, small colleges cannot always offer the breadth of course subjects available at larger institutions with graduate programs. To explore collaborative models that may help to enrich curricular offerings, faculty and technologists from several leading liberal arts colleges are experimenting with a consortial online/hybrid course sharing model. In this talk, the professors will share results from three recent course pilots: Steven Miller’s Spring 2017 Problem Solving course from WIlliams College (involving students at Williams, Swarthmore and Amherst Colleges), Monika Hu’s Bayesian Statistics course from Vassar College, and Stephan Garcia’s Advanced Real Analysis course from Pomona College (Fall 2017).
Event: Webinar – Update on Q-bits Testing in the Fall 2017 Pilot / What’s Next?
Location: ZOOM (details below)
Date: Wednesday, November 15
Time: 12:00 noon – 1PM Eastern
Presenter: Prof. Melissa Eblen-Zayas & 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.
NB: A recording of the webinar will be shared for those who cannot join in person.
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. We will be looking for input on approaches to revising the existing Q-bits, choosing topics for the next several Q-bits to be developed, and lowering barriers to contributing to the project.
- Status of the Q-bit project — goals, what makes this project different, overview of what we have done
- Lessons learned so far
- Seeking input on some next steps
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.
- 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)
- Course Sharing for Self-Instructional Language Learning (SILP)
- Sharing Courses in Self-Instructional Language Programs through Online Conversation
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
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.
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…)
Curious about Q-bits? Watch the webinar (30 min):
This video presents a half-hour webinar training with Prof. Melissa Eblen-Zayas of Carleton College and members of the QLAB Project core team. Melissa provides an overview of Q-bits and answers questions about testing in the upcoming term.
- What are Q-bits? (Presentation Slides)
- Q-bit Testers Guide (includes links to Q-bit modules for preview)
Please feel free to forward this post to colleagues who may be interested in Q-bits! The webinar is an great way preview a Q-bit and learn more about our multi-campus collaboration to develop and test ways these modules may help to support students with their quantitative work in different disciplinary contexts.
Q-bit Training Outline:
- What are Q-bits? (a brief tour)
- Our pilot study – research goals
- Options and steps for testing Q-bits with your students
- Key dates
- Resources for Q-bit Testers
- Q-bit Testers Guide
- Support team contacts
Inclusivity in the classroom and on campus (physical and virtual) is a priority at all LACOL institutions. Liberal Arts Colleges face a growing need to diversify and align to the demographic shifts in college age populations. For this and many reasons, we must ensure that our institutions are welcoming and inclusive.
LACOL has two related initiatives underway. The first is a series of dialogues across stakeholders to share insights on institutional and classroom strategies that enhance access and inclusion. The second is a shared experiment in assessment; how might be used to gain better evidence on aspects of the liberal arts experience?
Inclusive Pedagogy Dialogues:
- Haverford Workshop (March 2017)
- Spring 2019 Workshop (more details soon)
Innovations in Assessment with Sensemaker:
- Measuring Complex Domains for the Liberal Arts
- Inclusive Pedagogies – Assessment Design Jam (Oct 2018)
Presentation Slides: PDF
LACOL 2017 Session 7
Speaker: Steven J. Miller, Assoc. Professor of Mathematics, Williams College
Date & Location: June 16, Vassar College
- Fall 2017 course pilots: https://lacol.net/hu-garcia-math-stats-pilots
- Project Page: https://lacol.net/upper-level-math
As small institutions cannot always offer the classes our students need at the time they need them, several people at various LACOL schools have been exploring how to remotely share classes. While there many not be enough demand at any one place for a certain topic, by combining students from several schools we can have a course. There are many challenges, especially keeping the small liberal arts feel and having all students engaged. We report on the beta test, Miller’s Problem Solving class at Williams. We’ll discuss the technology used, emphasizing how the content was delivered and connections were made between students and faculty, and the challenges in coordinating a course across several campuses.
This blog channel is your gateway to Q-bits, online modules designed by our faculty to support students with quantitative skills and reasoning across the disciplines. In the posts below, you can find information and links to each Q-bit that is hosted in your campuses learning management system (LMS) for easy access.
⇒ Students, please leave us a comment about your experience using any of the Q-bits in the posts below. We invite your suggestions on how to improve current modules, or what other topics might be useful to you!
⇒ Faculty, for more information about using Q-bits with your students, we invite you to watch this short video: Q-bits Tutorial.
Q-bits available in Fall 2017:
In May 2017, LACOL’s Language Instruction working group held a 3-day intensive workshop (also known as a hack-a-thon) to prototype a shared online diagnostic and refresher framework. The face-to-face event was organized by Mike Jones, Director of the Language Resource Center and Media Lab at Swarthmore College, guided by a core team of faculty and language technologists at the participating institutions.
Workshop Program: click here
Workshop Report: click here
Christopher M. Jones
Teaching Professor of French and Computer-Assisted Language Learning
Carnegie Mellon University
Christopher M. Jones is Interim Head and Teaching Professor of French and Computer-Assisted Language Learning in the Department of Modern Languages at Carnegie Mellon University. He was Director of the Modern Language Resource Center from 1993 to 2016 and founder and Director of the Masters in Applied Second Language Acquisition from 2010 to 2016. He has spoken, published and consulted widely in the area of technology-enhanced language learning. His materials development experience includes textbook authoring, CD-ROM design and programming, and on-line courseware creation in French, Chinese, Spanish and Arabic. He was a participant in the interdisciplinary Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center and continues to be an active member of the Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon.
Goals for the LACOL Language Instruction hack-a-thon:
1. Explore development of shared diagnostic and bridge/refresher framework for language instruction that could support students in identifying and closing gaps in knowledge and skills.
2. Engage faculty as content creators, working with professional staff and students for technical support and data input.
3. Build prototypes of a diagnostic test and refresher module; these could serve as models for further development of online testing and teaching materials for sharing across the Consortium.
4. Document results and recommendations for continued collaboration.
Background and Rationale:
To assist our students with readiness for their quantitative work across the curriculum, LACOL’s Quantitative Skills working group is launching a multi-campus initiative, nicknamed QLAB. Through this collaboration, faculty and technologists are teaming up to build a shared framework for curating, implementing and assessing instructional modules for quantitative skills (QS) and quantitative reasoning (QR). The strategy draws on a body of research in higher education and experience at our institutions showing that online modules can be a beneficial component of an overall QS/QR support program.
According to project co-lead Melissa Eblen-Zayas, Associate Professor of Physics and Director of the Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching, Carleton College:
The QLAB project addresses a challenge that many of us are facing — we want all students to be successful regardless of their high school math preparation. Currently, each faculty member teaching a course that makes use of basic quantitative skills (QS) must find ways to support students with weak QS preparation. Rather than having faculty members develop all of their own support resources, this project will develop shared online modules – Qbits – that can be deployed for just-in-time review and skill-building in a number of disciplines.
Developing online resources that can be used in multiple contexts to help students strengthen their quantitative skills serves two purposes. First, by showing how these skills are relevant in various disciplinary contexts, students learn to view quantitative skills as fundamental and transferable skills that they can draw on in many areas of their liberal arts experience. Second, as a consortial effort, we will have more students using these modules in a variety of contexts so that we can collect meaningful data about the effectiveness of the various modules, and improve them accordingly.
Groundwork for the project was laid during the QS Framework Hack-a-thon held at Carleton College in January 2017. At that workshop, faculty and technologists created module prototypes and explored research questions based on the common needs and challenges the partner schools experience as small, residential liberal arts institutions.
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 Pomona, 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.
In connection with LACOL’s Upper Level Math collaboration, Assistant Professor Jingchen (Monika) Hu at Vassar College is opening her Fall 2017 Bayesian Statistics course to students from across the consortium. As the course unfolds, Prof. Hu plans to share bi-weekly lectures and screencasts with the class and engage with remote students via video conferencing and online office hours. On each participating campus, a local faculty liaison will be on hand to guide students as needed. Technical support will be provided in partnership with instructional technology/academic computing groups on each campus. In exploring the opportunity for the pilot experiment, Hu said:
To me, this shared/hybrid model can be a great way to get students on our campuses the access to upper level statistics courses. After collecting some data, I am very amazed at how rich the upper level statistics offering [across LACOL] could be if we can share the resources in some way.
The Bayesian Statistics pilot will complement another hybrid/shared offering in Real Analysis from Associate Professor Stephan Garcia at Pomona College. Because sharing Garcia’s course lectures will require capture of his mathematical notations on several blackboards, he is testing a robotic camera rig that can be positioned to record high definition video all around the classroom.
Project Background: Throughout the liberal arts curriculum, there are numerous ways, old and new, that reading skills and related habits of mind are taught. A rapidly evolving technology landscape is also shaping the student experience. To help document emerging pedagogies for reading, LACOL’s Active and Engaged Reading working group is embarking on an survey of faculty and academic staff across the disciplines at our member institutions. The survey tool was developed jointly by the AER project team with guidance from the Institutional and Educational Research offices of participating colleges.
The purpose of the survey is to gather insights into how our faculty cultivate various reading skills and practices for students at all levels of the curriculum, with a particular focus on the digital dimension. Results of this survey will be used to inform Active and Engaged Reading working group projects, including a collaborative thought piece on reading for the liberal arts in a digital age.
Instructions: The survey consists of several short answer questions and may take 15-30 minutes to complete, depending on the level of detail you can share. Your input is invaluable to the project. Thank you for your time!