Combining a High-Touch Vision with High-Tech Practices in Teacher Education

Authors

Nakia_BioDr. Nakia S. Pope is the director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Pope has been the director of the CETL since 2012. Prior to moving to Texas, he was an assistant dean and associate professor at Winthrop University in South Carolina. He’s interested in educational technology, philosophy of education, and popular culture in the curriculum. He also hikes and collects comic books.

Martinez_BioDr. Carlos A. Martinez is the dean of the School of Education at Texas Wesleyan University. He began his teaching career at Palacios Independent School District, teaching English as a Second Language to Mexican and Vietnamese immigrants in the mid-1980s. He has been training teachers at the university since 1991.

Hammonds_BioMrs. Lisa Hammonds works as an instructional designer in the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Texas Wesleyan University. Mrs. Hammonds assists faculty with effective pedagogical applications that promote active learning innovation. She began her professional career in computer science. Her areas of expertise include information technology, course design, distance education, and faculty development. Mrs. Hammonds holds a Master of Science in education with a specialization in professional studies in adult education.

 

Executive Summary

This case study examines a partnership between the School of Education and the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Texas Wesleyan University in developing a technologically mediated course in a teacher preparation program. A course was developed and is currently being taught using teleconferencing technology to reach multiple sites. The course also employs a learning management system for assessment and distribution of materials, as well as using Google+ Hangouts for virtual office hours. One of the objectives of the course development and implementation was to develop a model for other education courses to follow. Just as importantly, the course development process informed the philosophy of hybrid and online course development within the School of Education as the school reconsiders delivery formats in order to better meet student need.

Continue reading

How to Flip and Land on Your Feet: Strategies for Empowering Faculty to Use Flipped Classrooms

Decker_Bioby, Emy Nelson Decker, Unit Head, E-Learning Technologies Unit; Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library

Emy Nelson Decker holds an MLIS from Valdosta State University and an MA in art history from the University of Chicago. She is an active member of the American Library Association and a frequent presenter at both national and international library conferences. She has previously published work in library journals such as Library Hi Tech and Collaborative Librarianship. Her current interests are centered on emerging technologies as well as new uses of existing technologies in the modern academic library setting.

Executive summary (Abstract)

While the “flipped classroom” model is often appealing to faculty who would like to create a more hands-on experience for their classrooms, gain more “class time” for projects, or simply integrate more technology into their teaching, many faculty are unsure how to get started with flipping their classrooms. During the 2012-13 academic year, the E-Learning Technologies Unit of the Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library offered workshops about flipping the classroom. These workshops centered on technology training and were attended by faculty from each of the four campuses the library supports. However, faculty indicated that this technological training alone was insufficient in enabling them to teach in this format and that they needed help charting more personalized plans for flipping their classrooms. This case study discusses the ways in which initial flipped classroom workshops fell short of empowering faculty to teach in this engaging style and how library staff subsequently developed targeted methods for “teaching the teachers” how to do a flipped classroom. Readers will glean insight into faculty hesitations in trying this new teaching style and will acquire a model for teaching faculty members in any discipline the information and techniques they need to be successful in this teaching style.

Keywords/Tags

customizable plans, faculty-to-faculty discussions, flipped classroom, technology training, workshops

Case presentation

The flipped classroom model, as described in this case study, is a teaching method wherein video-recorded lectures are reviewed as homework outside of class so that class time, in turn, can be used for engaging directly with the materials, classmates, and the instructor.[1] As observers have noted, “the flipped learning instructional model is growing in popularity throughout the world.”[2] Faculty are adopting the flipped classroom model of teaching because it opens up classroom time that would have previously been taken up with a lecture. The flipped classroom model allows students to do activities with each other and with the instructor that they would not have been able to do under a more traditional lecture-and-homework model.[3] The pedagogical reasons for flipping a classroom address several contemporary challenges. These challenges relate to the need to engage students with new technologies, provide students with opportunities to apply what they learn during lectures, and to allow the instructor to gauge learning outcomes more effectively.[4]

Continue reading

Blended Learning: The “Hazards & Risks”

 

GawronskiVincent T. Gawronski is associate professor of political science at Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama. He received his B.A. in history and Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin (1987) and his M.A. (1993) and Ph.D. (1998) in political science from Arizona State University. He is currently the coordinator of the Latin American Studies program at Birmingham-Southern and chair of the Teaching Committee of the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs. Dr. Gawronski’s area of expertise is Mexico and Central America, where he has maintained primarily four research tracks: 1) political and socioeconomic development, 2) disaster risk reduction, 3) “politics of disaster,” and 4) push-pull migration factors. Dr. Gawronski has contributed to several sponsored projects focusing on disasters and political change in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Dr. Gawronski has authored or co-authored publications in International Studies Perspectives, Peace Review, Hemisphere, International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos, Cambridge Journal of International Affairs, and Latin American Politics and Society. vgawrons@bsc.edu

HoltWilliam G. Holt, Ph.D./J.D., is coordinator of the Urban Environmental Studies Program at Birmingham-Southern College. Holt received his B.A. in geography from the University of Georgia where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Holt has a Master’s in city planning from Georgia Tech where he worked on the 1996 Summer Olympics planning efforts. Holt was a community planner with the National Capital Planning Commission in Washington, D.C., working on the 2050 Monumental Core Plan update of the 1791 L’Enfant Plan. Holt received his Ph.D. in sociology from Yale University and his J.D. from Vermont Law School specializing in energy law. He edited two books: Urban Areas and Global Climate Change (Emerald 2012) and From Sustainable to Resilient Cities: Urban Efforts/Global Solutions (Emerald, forthcoming 2014).

Executive Summary

Birmingham-Southern College (BSC)’s Exploration Term in January affords instructors and students opportunities to create innovative projects that might be developed into semester-long courses. Drawing on BSC’s Urban Environmental Studies Program (UES), we planned this course to cross our traditional subject boundaries in political science and sociology with the natural sciences. The course focused on environmental hazards (tectonic-earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, weather extremes, hydrological flood and droughts as well as disease epidemics) and urban social risks (poverty, war, starvation, and crime). We employed blended and flipped learning strategies as well as games and simulations. We conducted several field activities in the Birmingham metropolitan area as well as a three-night trip to New Orleans to examine post-Katrina redevelopment. The project drew upon academic publications, resources from local, national, and international governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and guest experts; we also relied heavily on Internet resources. The compressed January Exploration Term created some scheduling and pedagogical challenges. For example, it was not always possible to schedule remote class visits. Students had shorter times for class preparation and reflections, and we had little time to overcome technological problems. We realized our goals were too ambitious for a four-week session. We plan to offer the course again as full-summer term course to address time constraints and make use of better weather for field excursions. Indeed, there was a learning curve for both the professors and the students, but we are confident we successfully introduced and reinforced the course learning outcomes.

I would definitely take a blended learning course again. I learn best by watching, listening, and interacting. Blended learning almost seemed to cater to my ability to focus and learn.
–Student Comment

This course was different from many other classes that I have taken so far since our learning came from many different sources, trips, guest speakers, simulations, and lectures.
–Student Comment

Continue reading

Blended Learning at Small Liberal Arts Colleges

This report was submitted by NITLE to the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) on December 5, 2011. The ACS now makes it available as context for its January 2014 call for proposals for case studies in blended/hybrid learning (deadline for submissions: February 21, 2014). This report was developed by Rebecca Frost Davis, then program officer for the humanities at NITLE. Dr. Davis is currently the director for instructional and emerging technology at St. Edward’s University.

Historically one of the strengths of liberal arts colleges—their small size—has also been one of their weaknesses: They are limited in the number of classes they can offer, and courses with small numbers may not have the critical mass to justify the expense of offering them. Despite these challenges, however, small colleges can expand their course offerings while retaining their “high-touch,” personal approach to education through shared academics, which are academic experiences that transcend the borders of a single campus by connecting students, faculty, and staff in pursuit of common academic goals.  By partnering with other institutions and leveraging technologies such as high definition video conferencing and collaborative software, colleges can connect students to learning experiences beyond their local contexts and faculty to larger educational communities. Furthermore, by strategically pooling resources, small colleges can collectively develop a shared academic program with the depth and breadth needed to meet the needs of today’s students.

Continue reading

Launching the Digital Humanities Movement at Washington and Lee University: A Case Study

Barry, Knudson, Youngman, SprenkleBy Jeff Barry, Associate Professor and Associate University Librarian, Julie Knudson, Director of Academic Technologies, Sara Sprenkle, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Paul Youngman, Associate Professor of German

 

 

Abstract: This paper offers a case history of the development of digital humanities (DH) at Washington and Lee University. We will focus on how we informally and then formally implemented DH, especially the meshing of the various partner constituencies, the design of our program as it has evolved over time, and the technological environment within which we are supporting DH. We will conclude with an analysis and evaluation of our work in progress and detail our short term and long term future.

Keywords: digital humanities, collaboration, information technologies, library

Introduction

We faced a challenge at Washington and Lee University (W&L) in the summer of 2012: how does one start a movement – in this case, amovement in the digital humanities (DH). The state of DH on campus at that time is best expressed by Suzanne Keen (then interim dean of the college, now dean):

Everybody was working independently, and didn’t really even know about one another’s projects. I felt that if you said “Digital Humanities,” that relatively few W&L faculty would have any idea what that even meant (Suzanne Keen, e-mail message to author, March 11, 2014).

Her vision for the end state of a DH program on campus is compelling. She foresees DH permeating the curriculum widely and gaining broad acceptance among faculty, staff, and students. Moreover, she foresees liberal arts graduates who are information fluent, able to work with digital artifacts, and for whom working with large data sets is a matter of course. The difficulty we face is building a bridge from the current state of DH as Dean Keen describes it to her exciting vision.

Continue reading

The Professor and the Instructional Designer: A Course Design Journey

Authors: Adrienne J. Gauthier and Thomas Jack

  • GauthierAdrienne J. Gauthier, M.Ed., Instructional Designer, Dartmouth College
    Adrienne is an instructional designer in the Educational Technologies team at Dartmouth College. She focuses on blended course design, active learning strategies, and pedagogically appropriate use of technology in teaching. Dartmouth gained her expertise in November 2012 after her ten-year run at the University of Arizona in the Department of Astronomy where she worked on teaching, technology, astronomy outreach, and faculty support. Her Master of Education is from the fabulous Instructional Technology program at the University of Virginia and her undergraduate B.S. was earned from the University of Massachusetts.

 

  • JackThomas Jack, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College
    Tom is a Professor of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.  Since arriving at Dartmouth in 1993, he has taught a wide range of courses in the broad area of genetics, molecular biology, and developmental biology. Since 2012, he has become involved in national efforts to reform undergraduate biology education as a PULSE (Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education) Leadership Fellow.  Tom’s research laboratory aims to elucidate the gene products and molecular mechanisms controlling flower development in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

 

Continue reading

Data-Driven Liberal Arts: the Library Role

 by Mark Dahl,

Dahl_BioMark Dahl, director of the Aubrey R. Watzek Library at Lewis & Clark College and a NITLE Fellow, outlines guidelines to help college libraries move from building digital collections to developing digital initiatives centered around faculty and student scholarship. Mr. Dahl has presented and written extensively on library technology and digital initiatives. His professional interests include digital initiatives, student engagement with library resources, and the future of the liberal arts college library.

Introduction

The April 2013 Association of College and Research Libraries biennial conference in Indianapolis featured no less than fourteen sessions about academic library data services. Topics ranged from data and statistical sources for reference and instruction, to data literacy for scientists, to the development of data curation services.

Clearly, data services are a hot area in academic libraries. But how is this trend playing out in libraries at teaching-focused institutions, specifically liberal arts colleges? As I will illustrate below, there are rich opportunities to expand library reference and instruction services to support quantitative reasoning initiatives and data-intensive undergraduate research. Data curation and management services, a major interest at research libraries, are also an emerging opportunity at liberal arts institutions as are the collection and management of field research data.

Continue reading

Digital Scholarship and the Tenure and Promotion Process

by Kristine M. Bartanen

Bartanen_BioKristine Bartanen is academic vice president and dean of the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, a position she has held since 2004. She has served Puget Sound as director of forensics, professor and chair of the Communication and Theatre Arts department, associate academic dean, and vice president for student affairs and dean of students. Dr. Bartanen’s work has included particular attention to development of academic-residential programs on the campus, including residential first-year seminars; growth of the interdisciplinary curriculum, most recently in neuroscience; and support of civic scholarship, such as the Sound Policy Institute and the Race and Pedagogy Initiative.

Many liberal arts college faculty members are interested in and increasing their use of digital resources in teaching and scholarly work. Some have been developing digital teaching resources for nearly two decades, some have begun to publish scholarship in on-line journals and other digital venues, and some are doing ground-breaking work in open source, collaborative scholarly projects. Others, particularly pre-tenure or pre-promotion faculty, are reticent to venture into digital work out of concern for how that work will be acknowledged, valued, and rewarded in existing faculty tenure, promotion, and merit award systems. That reticence lives in tension with recognition that advances in technology-enabled teaching and scholarship are progressing in other institutions – academic and non-academic alike – and that professional currency in the academy demands new or amended frameworks in the liberal arts college for evaluation of digital work.

Continue reading

Games with a Purpose: Interview with Anastasia Salter

Salter_BioAnastasia Salter is an assistant professor at the University of Baltimore in the Department of Science, Information Arts, and Technologies. Her primary research is on digital narratives with a continuing focus on virtual worlds, gender and cyberspace, games as literature, educational games and fan production. She holds a doctorate in communications design from U. Baltimore and an M.F.A. in children’s literature at Hollins University. She is on the web at http://selfloud.net.

This interview was conducted by Mike Roy, editorial board member of the Academic Commons. A founding editor of the Academic Commons with long-standing interest in the impact of new technology on the meaning and practice of liberal education, he is currently the dean of library and information services and chief information officer at Middlebury College.

Continue reading

This Is Not a Game (It’s a Class): Lessons Learned From An In-Class Alternate Reality Game (ARG)

 by Brett Boessen

Boessen_BioAlternate Reality Games (ARGs) are a little-known but fascinating storytelling genre that blends digital, networked, and live face-to-face components engagingly in a unique way (when done well). In a learning scenario that seeks to encourage deeper understanding of the ways these elements interrelate in contemporary culture, playing an ARG can be an exciting and deeply meaningful pedagogical tool.

However, the ability to participate in an ongoing ARG as part of a college course in a useful way is usually hindered by at least three problems. First, scheduling is prohibitive, since ARGs often unfold over many months, making them hard to pair with a fall or spring semester schedule. Second, most ARGs operate under the TINAG principle — “This Is Not A Game” — and as such do not readily reveal themselves to players even as they are being played, which can make it difficult even to be confident one is playing a game at all until significant resources have been invested. Finally, most popular, high-profile ARGs are built around a commercial imperative driven by marketing and advertising needs that do not necessarily fit comfortably with typical learning objectives.

Continue reading