Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee UniversityFounded 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.

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Inclusive Pedagogies – Assessment Design Jam Oct 18

Event: Inclusive Pedagogies – Sensemaker Assessment Design Jamwork with stories
Location: Davidson College
Date: October 18
Leads: 

  • 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

Agenda: https://emergentedu.org

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Data Science and the Liberal Arts: June 5-7

Event: Data Science in the Liberal Arts Workshop
Date: June 5-7
Location: Washington & Lee University
Hosts: Profs. Natalia Toporikova & Moataz Khalifa
Planning Group: TBA
Attendees: members of LACOL DS+ working group and other data science educators (max 30 people)
Registration Page: coming soon
Agenda & Program:

  • A think tank to more deeply consider data science in the liberal arts college context; how to fully connect data science education to the liberal arts ethos?
  • Hands-on workshopping to design and prototype useful instructional modules for data science
    Full agenda coming soon

Which schools are involved?  All schools are welcome to join, here are local points of contact.

Amherst College (contact Prof. Nick Horton)
Bryn Mawr College (contact Prof. Anjali Thapar or Mark Matlin)
Carleton College (contact Prof. Adam Loy or Prof. Katie St. Clair)
Davidson College (contact Prof. Laurie Heyer)
Hamilton College (contact Beth Bohstedt)
Haverford College (contact Prof. Helen White)
Vassar College (contact Prof. Monika Hu)
Swarthmore College (contact Ella Foster Molina)
Washington & Lee University (contact Profs. Natalia Toporikova or Moataz Khalifa)
Williams College (contact Profs. Mihai Stoiciu or Steven J. Miller)

About the Data Science+ Working Group: Sparked by conversations at the LACOL summer workshop at Carleton College in 2018, the Data Science + working group is an active forum for faculty and staff to explore the frontiers of data science education at liberal arts colleges – especially looking for ways that collaboration can help to advance shared goals. DS+ held a series of lively webinars in 2018 and also helped to incubate ideas for the LACOL “Introduction to Critical Data Science” class being offered online in Summer 2019.

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Under Development: Introduction to Critical Data Science (shared course)

Coming in 2019 …

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

Learning Objectives:

  1. Familiarity and expertise in basic coding (R or python, Excel).
  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 to be co-taught by 4-5 instructors (one from each participating campus)
  • Delivery is fully online with some scheduled and some asynchronous events.

Level: This class is intended for non-majors.  There are no formal prerequisites; preference will be given for students with no prior coding experience; preference will be given to students who have taken college-level calculus.  Enrollment must be approved by the student’s advisor at their home institution and by a lead course instructor.

Course Team: tba (more…)

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Measuring Complex Domains for the Liberal Arts

Session: Measuring Complex Domains for the Liberal Arts (Inclusive Pedagogies)
Date/Time: Thursday, May 31, 1:30-2:15PM
Resources:
Project site: https://emergentedu.org
About Sensemaker: http://cognitive-edge.com/sensemaker/#sensemaker-about
Lead Presenters:
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…)

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Inclusive Pedagogies & Measuring Complex Domains of Learning for the Liberal Arts – 2 workshops

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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
  • Speakers*:
    • 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…)

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Student DataCon@WLU, networking for data analytics, big data and statistical computing

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.

DataCon-692x768Reflecting on the experience, DataCon co-organizer Professor Denny Garvis noted:

We can tell already that we are tapping into an existing but quiet network of students, faculty and alumni who are really doing interesting work

The inaugural conference was so successful that another DataCon will be held next year. (more…)

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Adaptive Learning (and Adaptive Teaching) in a First Course in Applied Statistics


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

D. Garvis, Washington & Lee University
D. Garvis, Washington & Lee University

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.

Additional Resources:

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You Are the New Gatekeeper of the News

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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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Experiments in Virtual Reality at W&L’s IQ Center

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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.

Faculty and students, including a group from W&L Advanced Research Cohort (ARC), have launched a number of explorations this year that are highlighted in more detail on W&L’s Academic Technology Blog, including:

  • Interactive structural biology models (catalyzed phosphorylation reaction)
  • Photogrammetry models of campus buildings
  • Laser scan model of a Wooley Mammoth
  • Crystal structures in 3D
  • “Grabbable” MRI scans of the brain from the “Glass Brain” project
  • Motion capture animation from a dance class


Clip from W&L’s virtual reality lab


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