Founded in 1749, Washington and Lee University is named for two men who played pivotal roles in the University’s history: George Washington, whose generous endowment of $20,000 in 1796 helped the fledgling school (then known as Liberty Hall Academy) survive, and Robert E. Lee, who provided innovative educational leadership during his transformational tenure as president of Washington College from 1865 to 1870.
The University is located in the historic city of Lexington, Virginia (population 7,000), a warm, welcoming and historic college town located in the Great Valley of Virginia between the Blue Ridge and the Allegheny Mountains. W&L’s 35 principal buildings include the picturesque Washington College group forming the Colonnade facing Lee Chapel, where Robert E. Lee is buried. The Colonnade and Lee Chapel are National Historic Landmarks.
The gerrymandering controversy in American politics offers an ideal subject for a blended learning class that draws upon racial justice, electoral behavior, electoral reform, law, political science, data analysis, and the use of geographic information systems technology. We combined each of these themes into a class that entailed the practical application of GIS and data analysis skills to a contemporary public policy issue that animated the news as the U.S. Supreme Court prepared to issue its second gerrymandering decision in as many terms.
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Data Journalism as a Liberal Art Prof. Amelia McNamara Department of Computer & Information Sciences University of St. Thomas
One of the main ways the general public encounters products of data analysis is through journalism. Data journalists strive to explain complex stories using visualization, statistics, and heavy use of contextualization. As we incorporate data science into the liberal arts, data journalism provides a case study as a field in which the sciences and the humanities are consciously linked. In this talk, I’ll discuss the history of data journalism, how I see it fitting into a liberal arts framework, and experiences from a class I taught on data journalism.
Session: Measuring Complex Domains for the Liberal Arts (Inclusive Pedagogies) with Sensemaker Resources: ⇒ Project site: https://emergentedu.org ⇒ About Sensemaker: http://cognitive-edge.com/sensemaker/#sensemaker-about Leads: ⇒ 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…)
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)
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…)
In November 2017, Washington and Lee University held its first DataCon, a new event for students. The two-day program was designed to highlight the impacts and career paths for data analytics, big data and statistical computing across a variety of industries. The gathering brought together students, faculty, staff and alumni for a series of discussions and networking opportunities around data sciences in both academic and professional life, including ways that analytics are used in the fields of advertising, finance and technology.
Session 9: Adaptive Learning (and Adaptive Teaching) in a First Course in Applied Statistics Speaker: Denny Garvis, Professor of Business Admin & Mgmt, The Williams School at Washington & Lee University
Date & Location: June 16 at Vassar College
This presentation serves as a practical follow-up to the Candace Thille keynote from LACOL 2016. Specifically, adaptive learning courseware originally developed in the Online Learning Initiative (OLI) at Carnegie Mellon University has been used in the Applied Statistics course in the Williams School at Washington and Lee since 2014. Pedagogical advantages, trade-offs in teaching, and student learning outcomes from using the OLI Statistical Reasoning courseware, now hosted by Stanford EdX, will be discussed.
Event: 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)
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?
Students, faculty, and technologists at Washington & Lee’s Integrative and Quantitative (IQ) Center have been experimenting with virtual reality (VR) for a couple years, starting with cell phone-based VR systems like Google Cardboard. This year W&L upgraded to a dedicated VR headset, called the HTC Vive. These new VR headsets provide a compelling (and immersive) way to visualize and interact with content but there is very little educational content currently available, especially for higher education. This means that, for the time being, getting the most out of these systems requires either creating original content or adapting existing material to work in VR.
Fortunately, when it comes to visualization, many of the workflows for generating and manipulating 3D content such as molecular modeling, 3D animation, motion capture, photogrammetry, geographic information systems, 360-degree photography and video translate well to VR platforms with a little work and a healthy respect for the current limitations of the hardware.
According to IQ Center Academic Technologist Dave Pfaff:
Developing interactive scenes for VR takes a little more work and some specialized skills, but the potential for creating educational tools that facilitate active and blended learning at all levels of education are virtually limitless.