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BLOGS DOT MIDDLEBURY Update

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

We updated WordPress (the platform that powers this blog) late in August to version 3.0.1.  Below is a 3 1/2 minute screencast describing some of the new features introduced in this new version.

To learn more about these new features, see: WordPress @ Middlebury > WordPress Updates.

New Course Schedule Planner

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

We have just introduced a new course schedule planning tool to help students discover courses and arrange selections of them that avoid timing conflicts.

When browsing the online catalog at go/catalog you can now log in and save courses that you find interesting. Look for “Save” links to the top-right of course descriptions. Courses can be saved either from the search view or from the detail views linked-to from department course listings.

 

This screen-cast gives an overview of the Schedule-Planner and how to use it:

Notable features:

  • Save courses at any time as you come across interesting ones.
  • Create one or more schedules for a term to see how different course selections might fit together.
  • Ensures that discussion and lab sections are considered.
  • Time-conflicts are highlighted.
  • Schedules can be emailed to an adviser or anyone else.
  • Schedules can be printed to aid in finding classrooms.

Please note that this tool is designed as a planning and advising aid — it does not register you for classes. Also, it does not have access to individual student records and hence does not check that prerequisites have been met.

The Schedule Planner is still in Beta for the next few weeks, please try it out and provide feedback so that we can address any problems before new students arrive on campus.

Segue from Segue Open Sessions

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The Curricular Technology team has scheduled a number of open sessions next week on the Segue from Segue project in Library 145.  Here are the dates and times:

  • 10:00 – 10:30, Monday August 2nd
  • 1:00 – 1:30, Tuesday, August 3th
  • 4:00 – 4:30, Wednesday, August 4th
  • 3:00 – 3:30, Thursday, August 5th

We scheduled these sessions primarily to give Language School faculty an opportunity to discuss their technology needs and ask us questions about possible alternatives to Segue.   That said, these sessions are open to any Middlebury faculty, staff or students interested in technologies for teaching, learning and research.

NITLE Camp 2010 Days 1 & 2

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

NITLE Camp 2010 was 4 days of in-depth discussion and learning about assessment activities and the pedagogy and support of mobile devices. For me, it was a fantastic intro. to these topics and I have so much more to discuss than what you’ll see here (so find me and we can talk if you want to hear more!) but here are some highlights of what I learned:

Day 1: Assessment: Ideas for inquiry & student success

The focus here was on learning-centered / student-centered assessment (as opposed to teaching-centered) Ashley Finley, Director of Assessment for Learning at the American Association of Colleges & Universities, lead this day’s workshop

Assessment as a conversation

Consider the idea that both formative (continual throughout the learning process) and summative assessment (at the end of learning) approaches have a role to play within an overall assessment program, but that assessment is inherently continual–a conversation, if you will.

Planning for assessment

Create a plan using a logic model (create it from right to left and then implement the plan working left to right). Start by defining the goal/outcome, define the evidence needed, and define the resources needed to effect the change, then work through them in the opposite order. Make sure the plan involves clear steps to analyze and share the data with as broad an audience as possible, and a clear timeline for doing so.

Making assessment a campus-wide endeavor

Approach assessment as a holistic and integrated, campus-wide activity. Many departments are already involved in assessment work. Take stock of current assessment activities in other college departments (involves conversations). Establishing a map of currently ongoing assessment helps everyone identify redundancies AND places where potential collaboration may occur. Ask your institutional research, college advancement, alumni, student life, civic engagement, admissions, and (in Middlebury’s case) Commons offices what they are doing to assess student learning outcomes.

E.g. Say you work in LIS and talk to the campus Alumni office. Imagine that you find out about an annual survey that goes out to alumni 5 years out that asks them to reflect on the value of their college experience. LIS is interested in obtaining feedback about the effectiveness of its information literacy program and adds one question to this survey asking what technology skills they learned, found most useful (or wished they’d learned about) while an undergraduate. This tactic doesn’t create yet another survey but piggybacks on a tool already being used. It also provides a method of measuring an outcome beyond the traditional 4-year time period (continuing the conversation).

Implement and adjust

Make adjustments to the assessment program as needed while it is running. Following the run-through of the assessment program, take some time to evaluate the program’s effectiveness. Revise and amend the assessment program on a regular (yearly) basis!

Day 2: Assessing instructional technology community meeting

Examples of assessment activities at other colleges and universities

DePauw Univeristy, Carol Smith, Director : assessment as a way to inform institutional priorities in IT
Colgate University: Collaboration for enhanced learning
St. Lawrence: ECAR, HEDS, CIRP, MISO, etc. and “run, don’t walk, to your institutional research officer”
Colgate University: Institutional research, planning, assessment effectiveness survey review
AAC&U and MISO: Inter-institutional assessment; VALUE rubrics and MISO survey
Stonehill College: Information literacy assessment program
Centre College: Assessing student literacy through new first year course
Trinity University: Information literacy quality enhancement plan “Expanding Horizons
Meeting participants resolved to check in on progress of assessment activities at home institutions sometime in September.

Poster Session

In the evening on day 2, I attended a poster session presented by other camp participants. Click to view a pdf of all the poster abstracts. I think I gravitated towards the posters on the topics for which I wasn’t attending workshops or meetings (moodle, digital storytelling). 2 highlights:

Woodle (Moodle at Wooster) findings

I particularly enjoyed hearing from Matt Gardzina, Director of Instructional Technology at the College of Wooster, about his school’s experiences with learning management system (LMS) Moodle (nicknamed Woodle :) . As the poster abstract explains, and he related in person, the faculty at Wooster ended up not really using Woodle for much more than course readings and a parking spot for their syllabi. They used Woodle elements like quizzes and forums far less. As a result, the instructional technologists at Wooster have started to downplay Woodle and amped up support for their blogging and wiki platforms as alternatives to the LMS. I mentioned the Curricular Technology team at Middlebury’s recommendation to support a suite of tools as opposed to a single LMS, and he agreed that it was a good recommendation, especially given his findings at Wooster. (Kudos to the CT team on validation for their recommendation from a comparable institution! I bet Matt would be willing to discuss this further if you wanted to learn more about the specifics of the Wooster findings.)

Before and After: Augmenting Digital Story Projects

When we teach with technology how can we ensure a balance between student technology fluency and the other student learning outcomes for the course? Brett Boessen, Associate Professor of Media Studies at Austin College, shared some good examples when he explained how he has begun integrating formative accompanying materials (like storyboards) and self-reflective elements (students’ author statements) into a digital storytelling assignment in one of his classes. He played some delightful (and quite good) examples of videos ranging from video screencasts to mashups created by students in his course on Participatory Cultures. By embedding planning and reflective elements in the assignment requirements, Brett seems to have struck a good balance between successfully engaging students with their own process of creating and sharing a story, and achieving technology fluency.

WordPress Update

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Earlier this week, we updated WordPress (the platform that powers sites.middlebury.edu).  Along with updating the WordPress codebase, we also updated all the Midd blog themes and a number of plugins.  There were many changes made to the backend of Midd blog themes to make them more flexible and easier to use.

Options have been added for what sidebars get displayed when viewing single post pages, as well as pages for categories, tags, authors and search.  Lots of small design refinements has been made to make make blogs easier to read.  For a full list of changes, see:

WordPressThemesChange Log

New blogs will now be created with the Translucence theme and a default set of sidebar widgets.  Documentation has been added for many of plugins, for example see: Geo-mashup

Faculty Innovators Tell Us What They Need

Categories: Midd Blogosphere, video

Our first priority with the Segue from Segue project is to make sure there are technology solutions available to meet the needs of as many faculty, students and staff as possible. That said, we would like to also be able to support innovative uses of technology, particularly those innovations that may eventually be useful to the broader community.

To this end, the Curricular Technology team invited a number of faculty who are innovators to show us how they have been using technology and tell us what they need.  Faculty who participated included Jeff Byers (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Hector Vila (CTLR), Enrique Garcia (Spanish), Hope Tucker (Film and Media Culture) and Roberto Veguez (Spanish).  A number of academic liaisons also participated in this session.  To learn more about what these faculty have been doing, see:

Segue from Segue » Presentations by Faculty Innovators

Campus Tree Map

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

I’ve just posted a case study to the Teaching with Technology blog.  Tim Parsons, the campus Horticulturalist, created his Campus Tree Map with the help of our GIS Interns and others.  He used it most recently in a Winter Term course called Trees and the Urban Forest.  Read more.