Collaboration: A Primer

Prepared for the ACS Strategic Planning Committee

by Amanda Hagood, Director of Blended Learning, Associated Colleges of the South, and Grace Pang, Program Officer, National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education

Introduction

This primer was developed from a study of sixteen case studies in digitally-mediated collaboration and the liberal arts published by the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) and the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) in the summer of 2014. Though the case studies covered topics as diverse as designing and implementing a hybrid course in Asian Studies or launching a program in digital humanities, each provided a fascinating example of how small institutions can marshal their oftentimes limited resources and personnel to achieve extraordinary things. The key to each project’s success lies in the strategy of collaboration—though, as we will demonstrate, collaboration exists along a continuum consisting of many different modalities for working together. This primer, drawn from a thoroughgoing analysis of these projects, will present four exemplary projects and will ask you to consider how their goals, strategies, and tactics reflect upon the goals, strategies, and tactics that should appear in the ACS’s 2020 Vision.

The aims of this primer are threefold:

  • To report why and how faculty and staff within and across ACS institutions are collaborating
  •  To explore how the goals, strategies, and tactics used by these practitioners align with the ACS’s mission to support the liberal arts by creating collaborative opportunities that improve the quality, while reducing the cost, of liberal arts education.
  • To stimulate the Strategic Planning Committee’s thinking about why and how our member institutions could collaborate.

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A Catalyst For Change: Developing A Blended Training Model For The Liberal Arts Institution

AUTHORS

SchulzCarrie Schulz is the director of Instructional Design and Technology at Rollins College.

 

 

 

jvargasJessica Vargas is currently an instructional technologist at Rollins College.

 

 

 

annalohausAnna Lohaus is currently an instructional technologist at Rollins College.

 

 

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Beginning as an institutional experiment, Rollins College developed a professional development program to assist faculty in redesigning an existing course as a blended offering. This training program asked faculty to use the best delivery methodologies for objective-based learning in their blended course design. It is in this training that faculty learned how to divide their class time between online and face-to-face while incorporating technology to augment learning.

This case study explores the process developed at Rollins College for providing professional development to faculty who are interested in building blended courses. It also evaluates the implementation of said program. This case study specifically addresses the program’s successes and areas for improvement using the results from an institutional survey conducted during summer 2013 and multiple summative evaluations collected during various instances of blended learning training program.

Student data collected in spring 2013 tentatively indicated that the program resulted in increased levels of student engagement as well as the amount students felt they learned. Data collected from faculty observations also coincided with this result. Finally the authors address the current progression of this program and the future effects on the faculty, students, and the culture of the institution. Such analysis can provide other institutions with the resources necessary to begin developing an institutional model for blended learning while still identifying the common challenges and benefits involved in this particular adaptation.

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THE DIGITAL DATABASE: A MODEL OF STUDENT, STAFF, AND FACULTY COLLABORATION

AUTHORS


boylstonSusanna Boylston
Boylston is the collection development librarian at Davidson College and oversees digital and print collections, e-resource access, and license negotiations. She’s also worked as a reference librarian and taught numerous information literacy sessions. Her current areas of interest include the development and use of digital collections to support student learning, patron-driven and curriculum-driven collections, digital humanities, and the history of book and periodical publishing.

ChurchillSuzanne W. Churchill
Churchill is professor of English at Davidson College. She is the author of The Little Magazine Others & the Renovation of Modern American Poetry and co-editor, with Adam McKible, of Little Magazines & Modernism: New Approaches. She has published on modernist and Harlem Renaissance magazines, poetry, and pedagogy in various journals and collections. She is also founder and editor of the website Index of Modernist Magazines (http://sites.davidson.edu/littlemagazines/).

EshlemanKristen Eshleman
Eshleman is both practitioner and director of instructional technology at Davidson College. The anthropologist in her is drawn to the intersections between technology and culture. Her current interests in digital scholarship include digital storytelling, data visualization, and text encoding. Her constant interests involve keeping up with her info-lit librarian husband, recreational running, all things Carolina, and guiding her daughter to be a responsible digital native.

ABSTRACT


With their emphasis on small classes, student-faculty relationships, interdisciplinary study, and undergraduate research, liberal arts colleges seem like ideal environments for the digital humanities. Yet these institutions often lack the resources, infrastructure, and research emphasis needed to generate and sustain digital humanities projects. Recognizing these limitations, Bryan Alexander and Rebecca Frost Davis recommend that small, liberal arts colleges forge a “separate path” in digital humanities: “one based on emphasizing a distributed, socially engaged process over a focus on publicly shared products.” At Davidson College, however, we have forged a path that actually combines a collaborative learning process with a publicly shared digital product. Collaboration is the key to our success.

Since 1999, several generations of Davidson College students have built an online, open-access bibliographic database, an Index of Modernist Magazines, as part of a collaborative research seminar. The Index serves as model for how faculty, librarians, and instructional technologists can collaborate to create, support, and sustain undergraduate digital research projects that promote undergraduate learning while furthering scholarship in new areas of study. It also attests to the value and importance of bibliographic research in an era of proliferating digital information and archives. This case study discusses the pedagogical practices that make the Index of Modernist Magazines a model of sustainability (the project is ongoing and ever-expanding), scope (it is manageable for students while also requiring significant research), and impact (it allows students to contribute to a vibrant, expanding field of scholarly inquiry).

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Digital Projects and the First Year Seminar: Making Blended Learning Work at a Small Liberal Arts College.

Authors

Pete Coco is the digital learning strategist at Wheaton College in Norton, MA, where his work focuses on faculty development with a technological bent. He holds an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and an M.S.L.I.S. from the University of Illinois.

Leah Niederstadt is assistant professor of museum studies/art history and curator of the Permanent Collection at Wheaton College in Norton, MA. An anthropologist by training, she holds postgraduate degrees from the University of Michigan and University of Oxford. Her research focuses on expressive culture in Ethiopia and on the management and use of academic collections.

Coco_Niederstadt

Photo credit: Jack Brotherton, Wheaton College Class of 2017.

Executive summary

To blend her first-year seminar at Wheaton College, Assistant Professor Leah Niederstadt collaborated closely with Digital Learning Strategist Pete Coco and other technology and library staff to deliver a course focused on digital projects. As the seminar explored the concept of cultural property, students spent considerable time on two digital projects tracing provenance, the chain of custody for cultural objects, and repatriation, the process by which misbegotten cultural objects are returned to their rightful owners. By altering the goal of blended learning away from reduced seat time and toward enhanced seat-time, Niederstadt and her students were able to succeed in creating two ambitious digital projects without losing class time for other important uses. These included student-focused discussions, training relevant to the course’s core digital projects, field trips, and workshops led by a variety of staff, all covering content germane to the course topic and to the process of adjusting first-year students to college.

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Discipline-Specific Learning and Collaboration in the Wheaton College Digital History Project

Authors

KTomasekKathryn Tomasek, Associate Professor of History, Wheaton College (Massachusetts).

 

 

 

hamlinScott P. Hamlin, Director of Research and Instruction, Library and Information Services, Wheaton College (Massachusetts).

 

 

 

StickneyZephorene L. Stickney, College Archivist & Curator of Special Collections, Wheaton College (Massachusetts).

 

 

 

WheatonBookMegan Wheaton-Book, Assistant Archivist and Records Manager, Wheaton College (Massachusetts).

Executive summary (Abstract)

A long-term project that has combined undergraduate students’ transcription and markup of local archival sources with goals for online publication of those sources, the Wheaton College Digital History Project employs high-impact educational practices to teach students basic skills of historical research. The process-oriented goals of teaching and learning have been to some degree at odds with the product-oriented goals of archival-quality publication, but the project has been largely successful in achieving its educational goals.  Cross-institutional collaborations have been essential to the ability of Library and Information Services to develop a publication tool and markup recommendations to facilitate the goals of the project.

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The Globally Connected Language Classroom: A Case Study of an International Project in Two Intermediate Level German Courses between Denison University and the American University in Bulgaria

Global Project Partners and Authors:

dillmann_gabrieleGabriele Dillmann, Julian H. Robertson Jr. Endowed Associate Professor of German, Modern Languages Department, Denison University, Granville, OH, 43023, USA (Dillmann@denison.edu and dillmanngabriele@gmail.com)

Gabriele Dillmann teaches German language, German, Swiss and Austrian literature and culture, and special seminars on psychoanalytic theory in the Modern Languages Department at Denison University. In her teaching, she makes use of the newest technologies to enhance not only student learning in regards to all things German, but also to help her students learn skills in intercultural competencies and global learning. She is dedicated to CLAC pedagogy and team-teaching as a pedagogical approach. Her scholarly interests are increasingly vested in how digital technologies shape how we learn and teach now and in the near future. Her more traditional scholarship is in the area of German Romanticism and psychoanalytic theory, specifically suicide studies. Last year, she was awarded the Robertson Endowed Chair at Denison for her work in teaching, service, and scholarship.

StantchevaDiana Stantcheva, Associate Professor of German, Department of Arts, Languages, and Literature, American University in Bulgaria, 1 Georgi Izmirliev Sq., Blagoevgrad 2700, Bulgaria. (dstantcheva@aubg.bg and diana.stantch@gmx.de)

Diana Stantcheva earned her M.A. in German linguistics, Spanish studies, and New German literature at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, and received her Ph.D. in German linguistics from the same university. Dr. Stantcheva also has an additional teacher qualification for German as a Foreign Language from Humboldt University in Berlin and is a certified and sworn translator and interpreter of German and Bulgarian. Dr. Stantcheva has taught at Humboldt University in Berlin, at Goethe-Institute Sofia, and was a research fellow at Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, Germany. Since fall semester 2005, she has been teaching at the American University in Bulgaria. She teaches all levels of German, from beginners to advanced, as well as specialized language courses. Dr. Stantcheva has published two books and several scholarly articles and chapters in the areas of phraseology, lexicography, corpus linguistics, and linguistic historiography. Her current researchinterests are in foreign language didactics, phraseology, lexicography, corpus linguistics, language and gender, translation studies,terminology, and linguistic historiography.

Abstract

The language classroom is a most fruitful place for intercultural, global learning. Digital technologies allow us to make intercultural connections like never before and in the process language-learning benefits from real communication about real issues. Connecting two language courses globally requires overcoming many obstacles and challenges (time difference, collaboration, technology, funding, resources, etc.) but a strong belief that the benefits outweigh the costs serves as a constant source for pushing on.

The goal of our project (started in Fall semester 2013) was – and continues to be – to enrich our connected courses with an intercultural perspective through the direct exchange between students and faculty members as we discuss shared small group assignments via Google+ Hangout and Google doc shared writing assignments (of course, “traditional” technologies such as email and skype compliment the exchanges) all the while expanding and enhancing student’s language skills in German.

Our paper provides a research summary, describes in detail how we pursued the described goals with a special focus on the digital technologies we used and their pedagogical value, and gives a candid assessment of what worked well and what needs further exploration. We also briefly discuss the next step of the project, namely aligning the courses synchronously via video-conferencing technologies in addition to the Google+ Hangouts.

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Adapting Content from a Massive Open Online Course to a Liberal Arts Setting

Fowler_BioRyan Fowler, adjunct professor at Franklin and Marshall College, the Lancaster Theological Seminar, and the University of Southern Maine and a fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C.

 

Meinking_BioKristina A. Meinking, assistant professor at Elon University

 

 

Morrell_BioKenny Morrell, associate professor of Greek and Roman studies at Rhodes College

 

 

Norman Sandridge_BioNorman Sandridge, associate professor of classics at Howard University and a fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C.

 

Walker_BioBryce Walker, assistant professor at Sweet Briar College

Summary

Sunoikisis (www.sunoikisis.org) offered S-Iliad in the spring of 2014, involving faculty and students from an online humanities course of twenty-five students at the University of Southern Maine, a five-person introductory classics course at Elon University, a lecture course with forty-seven students at Howard University, and a seminar for fourteen first-year students at Sweet Briar College.

Participating faculty members collaboratively designed the course on Homer’s Iliad, incorporating and supplementing content from CB22.1x: The Ancient Greek Hero, a MOOC offered by Gregory Nagy through HarvardX (www.edx.org). Once underway, students completed reading assignments on their own and met with their respective professors by arrangement or according to institutional schedules. They collaborated as members of cross-institutional working groups and posted written responses to a writing prompt each week, and all students and professors participated in weekly synchronous meetings using Google Hangouts on Air.

This case study discusses efforts to (1) achieve a productive, equitable, and consistent level of participation from each student over the course of the semester, (2) establish inter-institutional connections and foster an inclusive sense of community, and (3) generate a meaningful, collaborative engagement with the poetry through moderated conversations, peer-to-peer commentary, and direct feedback from professors.

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Broadcasting Science Writing: Media Translations in Liberal Arts Pedagogy

Fiss_BioAndrew Fiss, Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing and History, Davidson College. Andrew Fiss is a visiting assistant professor in writing and history at Davidson College, where he teaches classes in the history of American science and also science writing. He received a doctoral degree in history and philosophy of science from Indiana University in 2011 and has also taught at Vassar College. In fall 2014, he will start as an assistant professor at Michigan Technological University.

Vest_BioMatthew Vest, Music Librarian, University of Virginia. Matthew Vest was the music librarian at Davidson College until the spring of 2014, when he joined the University of Virginia. At Davidson, he taught library instruction sessions, coordinated reference services, and managed music collections. He has a master of music degree in composition from Butler University and a master of library science from Indiana University.

Keywords

Science writing; Podcast writing; Information literacy; Liberal arts pedagogy

Executive Summary

Our case study discusses an assignment that asks students to translate a specialist scientific article into a short broadcast segment: in our case, a podcast in the style of National Public Radio’s A Moment of Science (http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/). The small environment of a liberal arts college facilitates this project through encouraging collaborations between classroom instruction, technology workshops, and information literacy sessions.

The assignment challenges students to not only communicate specialist information at an appropriately broad level but also to do so in an audio-only format. Also, the students work with the familiar, popular, and public outlet of radio or podcast, but in an unfamiliar way: as an academic endeavor. So, while students translate specialist texts to non-expert audiences, they also begin to consider the possibilities and limitations of digital broadcast content.

The case study provides further context for the assignment, giving learning outcomes and sharing the specific challenges and solutions the authors encountered while planning and implementing the assignment. It builds a theoretical framework around the nature of expertise in science writing. In doing so, it proposes a blended plan for teaching scientific and digital literacies in a liberal arts setting.

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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.

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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]

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