Author Archives: Heather Stafford

Using Multimedia Resources to Personalize Historical Perspective

When working with historical artifacts students try to relate to the piece from within the context of its time. This can be challenging to do, however C3 Post-Doctoral Fellow in Theatre, Nathaniel Nesmith has come up with a unique way to help students view artistic work with the aid of the artist’s point of view.

In this article Nathaniel describes to Librarian Amy Frazier how he utilized multimedia resources to help students relate to and study playwrights by listening to audio interviews. Using this method Nathaniel was able to help students build a connection to an individual living in a different historical context in an engaging way.

You can read the full story here.

American Libraries page on the Internet Archive

American Libraries page on the Internet Archive

Learning within a teacher community

American Mathematical Society - On Teaching and Learning Mathematics blog

American Mathematical Society – On Teaching and Learning Mathematics blog

Do you remember that feeling when you first walk into a class outside your comfort zone? Do you remember that exact moment when you feel your muscles tense and you wonder whether you’re going to be lost from day one, or whether you’ll hang in there through the first few weeks? I have to admit, I often had that feeling in math class, but recently I had the opportunity to meet with a Mathematics faculty member who reminded me of those teachers who are able and determined to see all students succeed regardless of their comfort-level with the content.

Professor Priscilla Bremser was kind enough to take some time during j-term to meet with me to discuss the ways in which she has transformed her math classes over several years teaching at Middlebury. In this article Professor Bremser outlines her inspiration, thought process and methods for making several changes in her classes, as well as her reflection on student responses and connection to the larger mathematics teaching community in Vermont and beyond. Priscilla’s teaching story is one of connection between educators as well as a deep attention to her students’ instructional needs.

Click here to read the story>>

Sharing our Flipped Classroom Practice – Brown Bag Lunches

This week the flipped classroom community of practice is excited to share the work of four faculty members. We invite you to join us as they explain and demonstrate their work and workflow as well an answer questions during two brown bag lunches.

Tuesday April 5, 12 – 1:30, Crest Room McCullough

In this session Pam Berenbaum, Professor of Practice in Global Health, and Vickie Backus, Senior Associate in Science will share the different methods that they are using to flip their classes, what they’ve learned through their process, and suggestions for others. Pam is working on using video to present lecture material in a way that frees up class time for discussion or active learning assignments. Vickie is exploring how animation can be used to help her provide digital explanations of some of the “muddiest points” that her students face.

Friday April 8, 12:30 – 2, CTLR Lounge

In this session, Jeff Byers, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, will share his use of the Microsoft Surface to create flipped classroom materials, and Ellie Gebarowski-Shafer, Assistant Professor of Religion will share her methodology for using video to help students become more comfortable with public speaking.

The RSVP forms here allow you to submit questions for the presenters ahead of time. We hope to see you at one or both of the sessions this week!

Support for Flipped Classrooms – Brown Bag Lunch

Date: March 25, 2016

Join us as we discuss the many components and supports that are available for creating a flipped classroom. If you have specific questions please email them ahead of time to hstafford@middlebury.edu. Please RSVP here.

This is the next session offered as a part of the flipped classroom community of practice.

Location: Wilson Media Lab (Davis 220)

Date/Time: Friday March 25, 12:30 – 2

Brown Bag Lunch: Student Considerations for Flipped Classrooms – March 15th

Date & Time: Tuesday March 15, 12 – 1:30

Location: CTLR Lounge

Over j-term a small group of faculty who are working on creating flipped classroom videos met to discuss their methods, questions and challenges. One area of concern was that as faculty work to create out of class content delivery methods and in class active learning scenarios, they wonder if the decisions they are making may have unintended negative consequence for some student learners. In response to this inquiry we’ve asked ADA Coordinator Jodi Litchfield, and Director of Learning Resources, Yonna McShane to join us as we explore this topic in more depth. Please bring an assignment, learning activity, or classroom method that you would like to share and examine with the group. Jodi and Yonna will share information at the start of the session, however the majority of our time will be spent in discussion around participant questions and scenarios.

Coffee, tea and dessert will be provided. Please RSVP here.

Using Animation to Explain

Some course concepts can be trickier for students to understand than others. These “muddy points” are often the areas where technology provides us with some tools that can approach the content from a different angle, and make a concept more visible. In this story, Vickie Backus, Senior Associate in Science Instruction in Biology, explains the iterative process she used to create and then fine tune an animation to help her students better understand the concept of how natural selection can lead to evolution.Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 9.23.55 AM

Vickie is a member of our flipped classroom community of practice and will be presenting additional information about this process at a meeting on Tuesday April 5th. We know this is a ways off, but you can sign up here to reserve a spot and receive an email reminder prior to her session.

Our next meeting will be on March 15th at 12 where we will discuss student considerations for flipped classrooms with ADA Coordinator Jodi Litchfield and Director of Learning Services, Yonna McShane. Additional details can be found here.

Poster Printing in the Wilson Media Lab

At a certain point in the semester the digital media tutors and I begin to develop a love/hate relationship with our plotter. Everyone loves the ability to create and print large scale graphic representations of our work but we hate the error messages, ink stripes, and “Plotter is down” signs on the doorway to the lab.

Finals week spring term 2014. Not a pretty day for the plotter.

Finals week spring term 2014. Not a pretty day for the plotter.

Like any piece of mechanical equipment that is heavily used, the plotter will occasionally break. Although we usually have no warning when this is about to happen, there are a few things that everyone can do to help us tame the plotter.

Professors –

  • Send an email to library-at@middlebury.edu to notify us of the timeframe when your students will be working on and printing poster projects. (The earlier – the better! First week of class = PERFECT!) If you can send us a copy of the assignment – even better!
  • Be sure your students know how to use the best tools to create a poster. (A lot of students come to the lab with PowerPoint files that can be challenging to scale correctly. We recommend using Illustrator and provide docs for how to do this too!) Faculty can also request a poster tutorial session for their class by submitting a helpdesk ticket here.  
  • If you are requiring posters for your class and want your department to cover the cost of poster printing follow these instructions early in the semester.

Students –

  • Don’t underestimate the amount of time it takes to create a visual piece of work. It might seem like it will come together faster than a paper, but often there is just one component that you can’t get to look just right, or a feature in Illustrator that is not working the way you expected.
  • Make an appointment with a digital media tutor if you need help with more than a couple of questions. This will allow us to dedicate more time focused on you rather than reloading paper and ink in the plotter and helping everyone else in the lab. (We’ll schedule another tutor to do that.)
  • Fully proof your poster on the screen before sending the file to print on the plotter.

Everyone

Recycle your scraps and remember that advanced planning is often the key to success!

 

Summer Help with Media Projects for Your Courses

Over the course of the summer the library employs, trains, and mentors students as they assist faculty with various digital projects. If you are interested in receiving assistance with a digital project this summer whether curricular or research related, we’d like to hear from you!

If you have any interest in participating, please send an email to hstafford@middlebury.edu  with all the information  you currently have available about the project that you’d like to pursue (for example, a general description or interest in a conversation about an idea). We will use this information to determine the number of students to recruit as well as the technical and academic skill sets needed for the projects. In addition, it will help us match your project with a staff mentor and a student.

Past projects have included:

  • Conversations and planning around innovative ideas you may have for classroom projects, and/or using digital methods in your scholarship and the scholarship of your students.
  • One on one instruction in a variety of software applications, including, but not limited to: image and document creation (including posters and diagrams); audio (podcasting, voiceovers); video (digital stories, other video applications); digitization of audio and video, and social software (blogs, wikis, LMS).
  • Consultations to discuss what is possible, and help you decide what technologies would best suit your needs
  • Development of course web sites in WordPress or Moodle

These projects will be completed during the months of June, July and August. Please be sure to specify in your email message if your timeline is different from this schedule.

I’ll be in touch with you towards the end of the spring semester to set up an initial meeting and connect you with your student tutor. We look forward to hearing from you!

-Heather Stafford, Multimedia/Curricular Technologist

Using Timelines to Help Create Context for Learning

Think back to the most confusing learning experience of your life. Did you feel like you understood the context of what you were learning? When Assistant Professor of Physics Michael Durst began teaching PHYS 0301: Intermediate Electromagnetism he envisioned an assignment where “students would explore more deeply the history of electricity and magnetism” as well as the “chronology of…experiments which led to our current understanding of electricity and magnetism.”

Through a discussion with Academic Technology staff in the library, Michael decided that the JS Timeline plugin for WordPress would allow a means for students to place people, discoveries and real-world applications of electromagnetism in the context of time.

In this article Professor Durst describes his process of creating and revising the assignment as well as how it has become a collaborative class resource among multiple cohorts of students.

Sample Timeline Entry

Sample Timeline Entry

How Questions Guide Learning

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 11.04.56 AM

Professor Glen Ernstrom leading a session in CTLR about POGIL

As Assistant Professor of Biology and Neuroscience Glen Ernstrom read articles about the effectiveness of active learning activities in the sciences he began to consider how he could integrate some of this teaching methodology into his classroom.

In this article Glen explains how he uses process-oriented guided inquiry lessons to help students work through some of the more difficult concepts in his class. Using methods to encourage metacognitive understanding Glen guides students through activities that allow them to work

“…in groups and compare[ing] the results of their work in class, they can measure themselves with their peers and see how well they are in doing. They get immediate feedback on their understanding.”

Glen was kind enough to share links to supporting research and resources to help others learn more about POGIL and how they can try it out in their own classes as well. To read the full article and view resource links please visit the Teaching at Middlebury site here.