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.
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.
- Send an email to email@example.com 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.
- 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.
Recycle your scraps and remember that advanced planning is often the key to success!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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
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.
After compiling the fall semester usage stats for the Wilson Media Lab one trend became apparent: increased usage. When compared with the usage stats for the fall 2014 semester we saw:
- Increase in hourly lab usage counts from 5525 to 7154 which equates to a 29% increase over the 2014 count.
- Peak hourly usage count increased from 454 to 657 (45% increase over the 2014 count). In 2014 this occurred during the 9 – 10 pm time block, in 2015 in occurred during the 3 – 4 pm time block.
- Increase of help requests from 884 to 1075 (22% increase over the 2014 count). In both years help requests peaked the week prior to finals (145 in 2014 and 200 in 2015). Kudos to the digital media tutors for handling all these questions!!
Below is an infographic of lab data. If you are interested in more granular information feel free to contact Heather at email@example.com.
Providing meaningful and helpful feedback on writing can be a challenging and time consuming process. There are physical limitations such as time and space on the page (why are the margins always so small?) but also instructional limitations that can make it difficult to give formative feedback to students that will provide just enough guidance to help them improve their work, without doing the work for them. These are just a few of the reasons that inquiries about annotation tools are very common and popular in the academic technology neck of the woods.
Louisa Burnham, Associate Professor of History was kind enough to share her experience with iAnnotate in the story “Trading in the Red Pen for an IPad” found on the Teaching at Middlebury site here.
As a part of our initiative to support communities of practice centered on pedagogy we would be pleased to create a community centered on methods and practices for providing feedback to students. Please let us know know if you would be interested in learning more about this opportunity and we will include you in future discussions either virtual or face to face. You can either email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out the online form at the bottom of the page here to express your interest.
We’re also actively collecting resources on providing feedback (like this one) and would be pleased to share your suggestions in this area as well.
Teaching at Middlebury WordPress Site
The Library and the Center for Teaching, Learning and Research have been working together to develop a site where Middlebury College faculty can share different teaching methods that are being used across campus. We will also use this site to collect, organize and share resources that can be used to achieve different learning goals. Examples of stories currently featured on the site include:
- Ways that faculty are using different annotation methods to provide feedback and emphasize close readings of texts
- Creating collaborative resources to highlight and contextualize course content and themes
We are pleased to share the start of the Teaching at Middlebury site and look forward to working with all of you to develop and refine the work that has already been done. It is designed to be a dynamic source of new content, connections and opportunities, so we hope you will engage, return, and share your work as you begin or continue your journey as educators at Middlebury. Please visit the site at http://sites.middlebury.edu/teach.
We look forward to featuring your work soon!