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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Open Access and Institutional Repositories: The Future of Scholarly Communications

by Greg Crane, Winnick Family Chair of Technology and Entrepreneurship, Tufts University

Originally Posted December 16th, 2007

Institutional repositories were the stated topic for a workshop convened in Phoenix, Arizona earlier this year (April 17-19, 2007) by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the United Kingdom’s Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). While in their report on the workshop, The Future of Scholarly Communication: Building the Infrastructure for Cyberscholarship, Bill Arms and Ron Larsen build out a larger landscape of concern, institutional repositories remain a crucial topic, which, without institutional cyberscholarship, will never approach their full potential.

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The Bates College Imaging Center: A Model for Interdisciplinarity and Collaboration

by Matthew J. Coté, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Bates College Imaging and Computing Center, Bates College

Originally Published December 16th, 2007

The Bates College Imaging and Computing Center (known on campus simply as the Imaging Center) is a new interdisciplinary facility designed to support Bates’s vision of a liberal arts education, as codified by its newly-adopted General Education Program. This program reflects the increasingly porous and mutable nature of disciplinary boundaries and emphasizes the effectiveness of teaching writing as a means of improving students’ ability to think, reason and communicate. The Imaging Center strives to further expand the reach of this program by promoting visual thinking and communication–serving as a catalyst for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary work. In many ways the Center embodies most of the ideas underpinning Bates’s new General Education Program and is a model on this campus for the kind of transformative work cyberinfrastructure will enable.

Cote_Figure1_2007

Floorplan image courtesy of the Bates College Imaging and Computing Center.

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New Directions for Digital Collections at Academic Libraries

by Mark Dahl

Originally published 23 September 2013

Digital collections at academic libraries have come of age. College and university libraries have invested in digital collections since the early 2000s, and they are now an established function of the library organization. At U.S. liberal arts colleges, it’s almost a given that the library hosts unique digital collections and has some kind of formal program supporting them. As I will argue, however, it is time for academic libraries to seize new opportunities around digital collections that add value to the process of learning and scholarship.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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