2015 Mellon Workshop Forum

We’ve set up this page as a forum for the March 28 grantee workshop. Our goal is to generate some discussion and input from you in order to shape the workshop activities and schedule.

In a previous email, Patrick suggested several questions for you to think about ahead of time regarding the status of your project:

  • Where does the project presently stand?
  • What are the objectives of the project, and how far along am I in reaching these objectives?
  • Do I need to consult with Mo Pelzel and/or Brett Boessen in order to get some help with the project?  Please describe any assistance needed.
  • Are there capital items that I need to purchase/request, in order to complete the project?
  • What is the revised timeline for my project?
  • Where can I go from here? How can I build on this project to expand and deepen my understanding of digital pedagogy?

Please use these questions as a prompt to update us about the status of your project and to consider what we can do at the workshop that would be most helpful for you and for the group. We ask that you post a response of a paragraph or two in the comment box below.

You will also see that each grantee has a page underneath the “Mellon Grantees” tab in the navigation menu above this page. Just mouse over that tab or click on it to access the list of pages. We’ve set these up as an ongoing place on the website where you can document and disseminate what’s going on with your project. Your initial proposal is at the top of your page–you can continue to add new material underneath that, and/or create subpages under your main page to hold additional materials. Please consider looking at what your colleagues are doing, think about how the projects are connected around common themes of pedagogy, and comment on one another’s pages.

At the workshop, we will demonstrate how to edit your page, create subpages, and make and edit blog posts. However, if you’d like to be able to do that ahead of the workshop, just let me know at morris.pelzel@gmail.com. I will get you your username and password, and give any help as needed. But, if you’d rather not mess with that just yet, you can send me things to post or to add to your page, and I’ll be happy to do so.

Thanks for your work on the projects and contribution to the group. We look forward to continuing our conversation here and at the workshop.

41 thoughts on “2015 Mellon Workshop Forum”

  1. We are using Classroom Salon in MUS 241 this semester. My project is to find a digital way for students to make comments on their required listening (to music that corresponds to the chapters we are doing in our text) and for me to be able to respond to those comments. In previous semesters the listening journal was a hand written or typed form that I could read when turned in, but it was never very clear what specifically they were talking about. Even if their question or comment was clear, I might not know the piece they listened to (that they listen was assigned, but specific pieces were not) or I might not know where exactly in a work that their comments referred to. With Classroom Salon students can post a Youtube video and comment on exact places. The comments are tied to a timing and also allow replies. I can also ask students to view and comment on a video that I post. This make it very clear and allows me to know and hear what they are talking about. This aspect of the app is great.

    What we are still trying to figure out is how to make this less cumbersome in other ways: they are required to listen to 1.5 hours of music a week. When these journals are handed in as written homework, I can mark them and give them back. Each week is a new set of pages they hand in. With Classroom Salon, we are trying to decide whether is makes sense to continue posting videos to the same salon (which will be quite messy with almost 20 hours of videos by the end of the semester) or whether they should create a new salon each week. For grading, there has to be an easy way for me to know what I have already checked of their posts when I look each week. Fast and convenient will trump the level of detail that this app allows. The answer, I think, will only come by using the app for the whole semester–and possibly working with it for a couple of semesters.

    At this time I do not need any further capital items.

    • Thanks Dan. If you’d like, I’d be happy to take a look at some of the salons to get a concrete sense of the issues you’re describing and how we might approach them. For example, it would help me to know how many videos a typical student is uploading in a week to get to their hour and a half requirement. What is the mean and median length of the pieces they are listening to? That would give me a sense of how many videos we’re talking about. With regard to the grading issue, again, it would help me to see for myself what you’re dealing with. Perhaps there will be a chance for that at the workshop; if not, then let me know if/when I could come over to your office and you could show me what’s going on.

    • It sounds like CS is causing a little of the old “drinking from the firehose” syndrome (image credit: davidmcelroy.us): whereas before the problem was too little information (about which piece and to which moment within it the comment is tied), now it’s too much information, at least if you decide to keep all the comments in the same virtual space (salon).

      I’ve seen similar issues in my courses as well. I use online fora regularly to help my students bring digital materials into their writing and projects an to encourage them to read each other’s work and provide feedback on it, and I have turned to a time-based system for my assignment evals. After my first block of evals/grading I note what day and time it is (although even that note is unnecessary, as my comments are time stamped as well). Then when I go to the site again to look at the next block, I look at everything that has been posted from that previous time stamp forward.

      Is that something CS provides? Is there a way to group all the materials so they’re visible by date posted? That might be a way to address the issue you’re having.

  2. Dan,

    This sounds like a great use of a digital tool. It sounds like this experience had allowed you the opportunity to try out Classroom Salon and see how to make it work for you and your students. Great job!

  3. I have successfully completed my first run of chem 221 with the flipped model. Over the course of the semester I learned how to edit videos and compress them so our server (moodle) could handle the large number of videos. Overall this has been a very satisfying project for me and for my students. Over 70% of the students in my section thought that learned much more or somewhat more than they would have in a traditional lecture. Many students have stated they liked viewing the lectures at their own pace instead of frantically taking notes during lecture. Besides student opinion, I had other markers of success. I had the lowest DFW rate in my career. I only had two students not complete the course and only two students not earn a C- or better. I started with 27 students and 23 moved on to second semester organic chemistry. Typically organic chemistry has had a DFW rate of 30% and as high as 56%. Grades were slightly higher than they have been in the past but not as a significant improvement as may have been expected given claims from other institutions. Since my students seemed to be benefiting from the videos and they were sharing them with their friends in other sections, I decided to make the videos available to the other sections of chem 221. So in total my videos were watched by approximately 80 students last semester. At the end of the semester students wanted to know which section of chem 222 I was teaching so they could make sure to say in the sections with the videos. I told them there may not be videos. This statement actually caused several students to beg and plead for me to continue making videos for chem 222. I was inundated by requests from students that were not even in my current section for me to continue the videos. I have never had students petition so strongly for anything like this other than a passing grade.

    As part of the next iterations of the course I plan on using the quiz feature in Moodle to keep track of student understanding of the videos/lecture material, and linking homework problems with the lectures better.

    Over all I think this has been a great experience for me and my students.
    I plan on Flipping chem 222 and making the videos accessible to all organic chemistry students.

    • Great work, Andy. Perhaps we could take some of the survey data from your first iteration and present that information as a chart on your page. This kind of assessment data is very valuable both for the ongoing improvement of your project and for reporting to the Mellon foundation on the success of the grant.

      • Excellent idea, Mo. In fact, we might be able to take your template, Andy, with your permission, and adapt it to other grantees’ courses to get a wider set of survey data. (Of course most of the rest of the grantees may not have the longitudinal surveys to compare these against, but even looking at surveys across the three required iterations of the grant would be very informative and allow all of us to make some adjustment over the coming years.)

  4. The project is proceeding… slower than I had hoped, but progress is being made. The objective to partner with UNT has been met. An enhanced partnership with UNT’s Portal to Texas History has been established; wherein, UNT will host and preserve AC’s digitized archival content on their servers and make it available to the public through the Portal to Texas History. Any content that we wish to digitize and make public, whether it’s related to Texas or not, will be hosted on the Portal. The objective to spend time training at UNT has been met; however, additional time in their digital projects unit would not hurt. I spent two days in the digital projects unit at UNT to better understand the workflow and the standards they have established, and to find out what hardware and software they recommend. That knowledge has helped me come close to meeting the objective to establish a digital projects unit at AC. Recommended scanners and software and monitors have been purchased and installed. I used the Archives budget to purchase the furniture and other necessities.

    I have run into a few problems, but such was to be expected. After having our software installed this week, I discovered that our computers needed some upgrading (more memory, a graphics processing unit, and a 64-bit operating system for the added memory). I am working with IT to solve this problem. The other problem I’ve run into is that the College’s IT service is close to running out of server storage space. They are unable to allocate sufficient server storage space to our project. Although our content will ultimately be uploaded to UNT’s servers for permanent storage, we have to store the digital files locally upon scanning the originals, while we do quality control on each image and add the metadata. Several of us are working to solve this problem. Once these problems are solved, all that will remain (I hope) will be to hire and train several student workers.

    I could use some suggestions and / or help setting up something like a private wiki (internal versus public access) that can be used by our digital projects unit for posting scanning instructions, metadata instructions, task assignments for each student worker, weekly and/or daily reports from student workers to me, etc. IT suggested I use Sharepoint for this. I would like to hear what Mo and Brett or other anyone else thinks would be good for this task.

    • Happy to help with the wiki setup Justin if you like – I use them for all my classes (one called PBWorks though there are other good ones).

      When you’ve got the setup up and running enough to demonstrate it, I’d like to come by (and I’m sure Mo would too) and see it in action. 🙂

    • Agree with Brett that I’d like to see the system in operation…and yes, the wiki setup should be pretty straightforward.

      We are trying to think about solutions to the server storage issue. There’s no free lunch when it comes to server space, but I hope that, going forward, prices will come down and new options will emerge, as in many dimensions of computing. We’ve spoken to the IT consultant about this, so at least we’re trying to get the issue on the table.

      Do you think your digital projects unit would be open to projects beyond the boundaries of the institutional archive? For example, if a faculty member needed some material digitized for a pedagogy or research project, could they work with you on that?

  5. Hello everyone. I’m very sorry I won’t be at the workshop. As I told Patrick, before this date came up, my family got tickets to Frozen on Ice. If I don’t go it could cause serious issues between me and my 3 year old daughter.

    I’d like to answer these questions anyway.

    Where does the project presently stand?
    I’m doing the first run of my class this coming Fall with my CI class. My students will divide into two teams and work in a campaign simulation. I’ve conceptually mapped out what I want to do and will be spending the summer making sure I have the abilities.

    What are the objectives of the project, and how far along am I in reaching these objectives?
    I want to do the following things.
    – I want to have a digital space where the two campaign teams can co-edit campaign plans, fundraising letters, campaign ad scripts, data analysis, etc.
    – I want to help students create 30 second campaign advertisements (filming, adding music, cutting together stuff, adding text, pictures floating by, etc.).
    – I want to have digital space where they can co-edit/comment on these campaign ads. Where they can comment maybe on how something should be changed in second 12 and the music should fade out better in second 28, etc.

    Do I need to consult with Mo Pelzel and/or Brett Boessen in order to get some help with the project?
    – Yes.

    Are there capital items that I need to purchase/request, in order to complete the project?
    – Not that I’m aware of.

    What is the revised timeline for my project?
    – Its going this fall as planned.

    Where can I go from here? How can I build on this project to expand and deepen my understanding of digital pedagogy?
    – Where can’t I go from here?

    • Lots of interesting things in here, Nate. As we’ve discussed via email, wikis might be a good choice for the “digital spaces” for the two teams, though we might also consider WordPress pages and also Scalar pages. I think all of these options would give you the kind of co-authoring, commenting, and annotating features that you’re looking for. As for producing the campaign ads, my sense is that many students would already be fairly proficient with a number of the tools commonly used (iMovie, MovieMaker, etc.), though of course we will provide support with that. Presumably they will need more guidance (from you and us as needed) on the genre of the campaign ad and the movement from brainstorming ideas through the development of a script, selection of audio/visual assets, storyboarding, and production.
      One thing that comes to mind is the possibility of adding a mapping component to this project. We don’t want to complicate things, but I think visualizing electoral information via maps (and other charts and diagrams, for that matter) will be very effective. We could explore the possibilities for having interactive displays that not only visualize the current state of the election (by state, by congressional district, etc.) but also allow projection of future outcomes depending upon changing variables.

  6. The digital project in my Span 236 class is progressing nicely. I have learned that Voice Thread, which I originally planned to use, is not the best tool for the purposes intended. Instead, I have decided to use Classroom Salon (CS). The CS “salon” for Span 236 has been created and all students have been entered into the account and are ready use the tool for the assignment. For this project, each student will write a short story to be included on our CS account. Students upload their work, having applied specific grammatical points as well as techniques and styles from authors studied in class to create their own literature. With CS students can then read each other’s works and are then required to analyze the works as we would with the literature studied in class. Students can highlight specific phrases or portions of the text and indicate what was effective (or ineffective) about it. Students will also be able to address grammatical issues and peer edit the works for content and grammar. Once everyone has commented we can then look through it as a class and determine the exact points where students found areas especially effective in their writing or engage in discussion about the the more problematic areas. CS also offers the ability to do analytics with the material, providing more specific insight and tracking of student assignments and comments. At this point, students are working individually on the creative pieces. Once they are all completed we will begin to engage more directly with the digital component, via Classroom Salon.

    • Glad to hear things are progressing, Elena. Most of the people I’ve helped with CS are using it for video annotation, so I’ll be very interested in seeing how it works out for text annotation. There is a new text annotation tool that I’ll be blogging about soon called Hypothes.is, and I’d like to get some sense of how it would compare with CS.

      Are you still going to have students create digital stories with their scripts? That is, recording their works in a video narration with an accompanying sequence of images/photos?

  7. 1. Where does the project presently stand? planning and development stages;
    Still collecting readings and planning; will teach first time in fall.

    2. What are the objectives of the project, and how far along am I in reaching these objectives?
    I want students to be able to produce and edit digital marketing plans and digital ads and display those ads for review by other students. Not very far. Need help with both technical video production and website management.

    3. Do I need to consult with Mo Pelzel and/or Brett Boessen in order to get some help with the project? Please describe any assistance needed.
    yes. Need help with both technical video production and website management.

    4. Are there capital items that I need to purchase/request, in order to complete the project?

    5. What is the revised timeline for my project?
    on target for fall implementation

    6. Where can I go from here? How can I build on this project to expand and deepen my understanding of digital pedagogy?
    too early to know

    • David, just let us know when you’re ready to turn your attention to this again, and we’ll get moving on it. As we’ve discussed with Nate, there are several options to do the kinds of things you want students to do.

  8. I am currently in the middle of the “digital revamp” of Chinese 101 & 102. This has involved two things: 1) using the flipped model and 2) going to computer input of Chinese characters over the traditional method of emphasizing orthography. 用电脑打字比用手写字容易多了。

    The objective was to make Chinese more accessible, hopefully 1) upping enrollments, 2) lowering the drop rate, and 3) enabling me to cover more ground in the few courses I am able to field as one full-time faculty member.

    Results so Far: 1) Obviously, we can’t yet track enrollment impact. 2) I had no voluntary drops in Chinese 101 for the first time in my four times through the course here and we retained 87% of Chinese 101 for enrollment in Chinese 102 (we typically retain in the 60-70% range—Chinese is hard). More data is needed before I declare this a trend, but I am cautiously hopeful. 3) I am not seeing as much of a gain in material covered as I was hoping for, but this may be the result of a few other variables (the composition of this Chinese class is very different than it has been in years past). I don’t see any evidence that I’m hurting them, so that’s good.

    The Chinese characters are causing some issues with the quiz functions on Moodle, which I rely on heavily. Computer Science thinks they can help me, but we’re all busy and haven’t had time to work out the problem. Moodle quiz is providing preparation testing for the students outside of class so that they get immediate feedback—it’s acceptable in its functionality, but I’d really like something that can integrate within the video lectures themselves and where quiz design is less cumbersome. I know Adobe Captivate has this kind of functionality, but I don’t know what’s involved in integrating it with our LMS. Also, Adobe Captivate is expensive (and it is the cheapest I’ve found of these kinds of e-learning suites). So that’s what I need help with… that and more hours in the day. 🙂

    Capital items needed are possibly Adobe Captivate (but again, I need to grasp what my options are for supporting it). Some “loaner” devices would still be nice… the room I’m in has some desktops, but they run badly and are segregated from the rest of the class.

    Time shortage has been a serious issue in the project, so the first year Chinese curriculum is not yet comprehensively flipped. But, I have developed some core materials that I will continue to build. “Comprehensive” may require one more summer.

    This model is being expanded to a new course I’m rolling out in the Fall, Chinese 203. (It’s the only way intensive intermediate Chinese is possible).

    • Excellent update, Jennifer, thank you. 🙂 (Google Translate tells me your characters translate to: “Computer typing much easier than writing by hand.” Is that close? 😉

      Re: character recognition in quiz mode on Moodle, have you looked around for quiz-only tools (i.e., not full LMS suites) that can handle the characters and are run online? I’m not sure if there is such a thing, though I’m sure Mo would help you search if needed. But perhaps you don’t need an entire suite like Captivate to solve that issue.

      Re: loaner computers, would Chromebooks work for your purposes? They can be pretty cheap. I was thinking about getting a couple for my classes since I often sortof “spring” device use on them (my syllabus tells them they should bring a device to every class meeting, but we never have 100% adherence due to broken/lost/forgotten machines). Not sure if they would work for what you’re thinking about – maybe we can talk more about the issue at the workshop.

      As with Andy’s data above, it sounds like we could work some of your data in a visualization (chart, graph, etc.) to add to your page on the site. What would you think of that?

      • Pretty close, Brett. 🙂

        Chromebooks should work. Touch screen functionality would be great, but I worry about the long-term viability of tablets that see that much use. Also, I need word processing and that only works on the top price-point tablets (read: the iPad).

        At UCLA (I know, much bigger budget) they had a program through the library where you could check out laptops or tablets in four hour increments. I wonder if establishing that kind of loaner program (obviously on a much smaller scale–we don’t have 35,000 students) is a viable option here? Centralizing the equipment would make it much easier to keep track of and insure that we’re getting use out of what we buy “for campus”. And it would provide relief for students when their devices die (UCLA let you renew your loaner once if there was no waitlist, for a total of 8 hours of use before you had to return it).

        I’ve thought about quiz-only tools, but my students HATE having to set up multiple accounts and going all over the internet to get their work done. Also, allowing students to have a constantly updated cumulative grade via Moodle has been very good for them. I don’t think I want to give up that convenience. I’m hoping against hope that IT has a solution where I can import last semester’s moodle quizzes into current iterations of the course.

    • Very interesting, Jennifer, thanks for the update. One idea that comes to mind is to give me (and Brett if he wants) access to your Moodle site, so we can get a concrete sense of how you are putting your activities together there. You obviously have quizzes, but you also mention video lectures. How are you producing those? I’ve taken MOOCs that have quizzes built into the videos, but I don’t know how they were produced, whether they used Captivate or some other program.

      The major alternatives to Captivate in the e-learning market that I am aware of at this point are Camtasia Studio and Articulate Storyline. I’m sure there are others, and perhaps even an open source solution. I believe that all of these support various forms of quizzing and are SCORM compliant, which means that at least in principle they should integrate with the Moodle gradebook. I will look into these alternatives in terms of pricing and functionality.

      As for importing quizzes into a Moodle course from a previous Moodle course…that shouldn’t be any problem, but then again I’m not on the Moodle support team here, so I’m not sure what to tell you with that. I was a Moodle admin at a previous school, and I believe that should be no problem.

  9. John and I are mid-semester through our first use of tablets in Biochemistry 2 for untethered, dynamic PowerPoint-style presentations and electronic grading.

    We have assessed the hardware available and settled on the Samsung Note 12.2 for its price point, extremely usable stylus technology, and ability to wirelessly mirror the display to a projector with a $25 dollar accessory.

    We are using a Google Chromecast to wirelessly mirror our displays to allow us to give powerpoint style presentations while being able to move freely about the classroom without losing all computer functionality but slide progression. We are continuing to assess the best software for this and are experimenting with Explain Everything and Papyrus. Both allow display of slides that can be marked up with the stylus during the presentation. These slide can then be saved and posted on Moodle as the result of our in-class discussions. Explain Everything also has the capacity to record audio and turn the presentation into a screen-mirrored movie, which I have done for most of my lectures this semester.

    We have settled on Papyrus for importing uploaded student assignments (they upload pdfs rather than turn in paper documents) and providing feedback with the stylus. Papyrus has Dropbox support to allow easy import and export of files from the tablet. These documents are then uploaded back on Moodle in such a way that students can only retrieve their own graded work. This has been very useful as it keeps a record of all our feedback to each student, rather than lose it upon return.

    The objectives of the project were to integrate tablets into lecture and grading, using the smaller Chem 352 as a pilot course. We have done that and are continuing to refine the apps and software that best allow us to do what we want. I am confident this approach can be taken with a large class like Chem351.

    We have no large capital expenses remaining, although a backup Chromecast may be needed for John and I to be able to continue to use this technology at the same time outside of Chem352 this semester.

    I look forward to incorporating student use of the tablet during lecture as a novel way for students to “go to the board” without having to get up. I also would like to explore the use of class response tools like Socrative, which would be used to increase the interactive nature of lectures in the larger Biochemistry 1 course next semester.

    • As described, it sounds complex, but I’m sure to you it has been an organic process of development and problem solving. Would you be interested in doing a guest post on the blog in which you demo the process?

      Also I’m curious, how are you having students create pdfs in the first place for uploading? Are they doing work that can easily be produced on their machines (“born digital”) or are they having to take photos or scan their paper work in?

    • Outstanding, Jim…I think you guys are pioneering some practices that will be of interest to many of our colleagues. It sounds as though the hardware/software combinations are working together very well. We do look forward to some demos.

      What kind of informal student feedback have you received so far? I would be very curious to know what they think and how the classroom dynamic compares to a more traditional format. Are they accessing those annotated slides frequently outside of class? I am sure you’ll gather some valuable feedback at the end of the course…let us know if you’d like help with that.

      Incorporating student access to the presentation document during class, giving them real-time access along with yourselves, would be phenomenal. Socrative is a fine classroom response tool, though I would also encourage looking at the Learning Catalytics response tool as well.

  10. The first iteration of my project was implemented last fall in Genetics with students in the labs (organized in teams of 3-4) each having access to the Wiki page and instructed to use the space as a digital archive of their lab activities. As expected for the pilot course, some teams ran with it and were quite successful, others were not quite sure what to do. As I now have successful examples to point future students toward, I expect future iterations to be more successful. The second portion of the project, incorporating the use of MacVector software into a sophomore level Genetics, was also successful with the anticipated growing pains of teaching students to use the software. Key to future success will be incorporating screen-shot format instructions for how to use the software into their lab manual that I write and they purchase from the bookstore. This will be a summer project in preparation for next fall.

    The objective of starting a digital archive for future courses to build upon has been realized with the Wiki page established. The objective of introducing the students to MacVector has also been realized. The future goals, having students in Genetics fall 2015 build upon the work of students in 2014 class will not, by design, be realized until next semester. The future goal of students being familiarized with MacVector, and thus be more proficient in upper division courses (BIOL 343 and BIOL 344) will again, by design, not be realized and until next year.

    Nor formal consultation from Brett or Mo is required, though casual conversation for ideas to get students more fully engaged with the use of the Wiki might be good. On a whim, I tried to incorporate the use of a Wiki in my current BIOL 344 Molecular Biology course, however, that is been on lightly used by the students. However, considering the incorporation was not as intentional and deliberate as it was for Genetics, I am not surprised.

    No additional capital equipment is needed at this time.

    The timeline for my project continues as originally proposed, continue the use of MacVector software each fall with Genetics, and continue to have students archive proposal ideas and data collection on the Wiki.

    As for where to go from here, as noted above, I am exploring the use of the Wiki as a digital archive in my upper division courses. Because the incorporation was deliberate last fall in Genetics, I was more successful. My feeling is that this goal will be more successful in a year when some current sophomores (exposed last fall) will be students in my upper division Molecular course, and thus the use of the Wiki will not be “new.”

    • You hit on a key element of success with digital networked projects in the classroom: having solid existing examples to show future participants. Because of the radically new (though it’s slowly becoming less so) and constantly changing nature of digital networked technologies and practices, the medium is still very much in flux. Compared to more established media like film/video or print, there just aren’t nearly as many established conventions for working with these materials. So students come in with literally no idea about what you want them to do when we say “collaborate using a wiki.” In some ways this is true of any non-standard assignment (I have the same issue with certain video assignments, even though students have seen thousands of hours of video by the time they reach my class). Now that you have had some groups manage to produce solid examples, I’m sure the next iteration of the assignment will go more smoothly.

      And yes, we’re happy to sit down again and talk about the assignment in terms of engagement. I don’t think you’re alone in thinking about that – maybe we can put together a mini-session at the workshop about that topic.

    • Yes, I would agree that having established examples to look at will help students that are somewhat hesitant to grasp what you want them to accomplish with the wikis. As you establish a culture of this kind of digital engagement within your curriculum, I think students will also be in a position to offer peer instruction to one another…more specifically, students in upper-division courses, who are veterans in the practice of creating digital archives, can mentor those in the introductory genetics course.

  11. 1. Where does the project presently stand?
    a) My project is a bit different from some of the others. The focus is on providing students with GIS and data analysis training as they work on a community development project. We currently have 5 students who are learning GIS and collaborating with TCOG on the Beyond ABC project and on the Craft Beverages program. These students, and students from my Active Citizenship class are going to take the lead in presenting maps and data for the upcoming Beyond ABC Texoma symposium/workshop. (Beyond ABC Texoma is a program focusing on health and well-being of youth in the region) One of our students played a central role in putting together the Craft Beverages strategic plan. I am having weekly meetings with Michael Schmitz from TCOG’s GIS program to work on formalizing training and project development. We have students from my Active Citizenship class divided into four groups. Each group is focusing in on one of the components of Beyond ABC (Education, Health, Economic Security, Safety). They are starting with collection and mapping of data and then providing a narrative to better explain the significance of the data.
    b) I still want to try to introduce GIS as a component of my class but need more training to feel qualified.
    2. What are the objectives of the project, and how far along am I in reaching these objectives?
    a. The objectives are to introduce as many students as possible to GIS software and to help them apply their knowledge to engaging in regional development initiatives. We still have some way to go. The primary difficulty has been in scheduling training and ongoing consultation with the students, but we are making progress. We have the students focused in on specific issues and data and are now working to provide them with better skills. I believe we will have made significant progress by the end of the semester and will be able to have things more firmly established as go into the summer and fall semesters.
    3. Do I need to consult with the Mo Pelzel and/or Brett Boessen in order to get some help with the project? Please describe assistance needed.
    a. Not immediately. The real issue has more to do with coordination with the GIS training. We are currently working to improve that process, but this requires the assistance of GIS professionals. Where I will eventually want some assistance will be with finding an appropriate method/platform for sharing this work with others, including people on campus, in the community, and other students who we want to bring into the project.
    4. Are there capital items that I need to purchase/request, in order to complete the project?
    a. I do not need capital items at this time. I might need some additional funding to support training. But I believe I can pull that from the Community and Regional Development budget.
    5. What is the revised timeline for my project?
    a. Not necessarily revised, but still looking at next academic year for the project to be fully implemented.
    6. Where can I go from here? How can I build on this project to expand and deepen my understanding of digital pedagogy?
    a. I am not sure yet. This is what I want to think about and discuss going forward.

    • Maybe we can build in some time during the workshop to discuss next steps for projects like yours that focus on learning a specific digital tool. Think in terms of how that tool can then be implemented in the classroom to help students solve important problems differently or in new ways.

    • I would certainly like to explore more ways to promote GIS usage among students and in classes across the curriculum, and hope this project can indeed be a catalyst in that direction. My impression is that ArcGIS is installed on most lab computers on campus, but I am not aware of its use (or the use of any other geospatial software) outside of your project. My hope is to acquire enough training myself to be able to offer workshops and tutorials on campus, and perhaps create some screencast videos.

      As for sharing student work with others, there are a number of platforms and possibilities. We can discuss this further when you are ready to move to this phase.

  12. Hello all,

    Sorry this is a bit late. I have been swamped lately!
    I am currently preparing to begin a digital story project with my Mesoamerican Mythology class. They will begin work this week! Although this is not the chosen Mellon Digital Pedagogy course, it will allow me to get my feet wet and begin to work out unforeseen kinks in assigning the students digital story projects. For this preliminary test project, the students will need to create a digital story based on a Mayan, Aztec, or other Mesoamerican myth. They will read texts that I will provide them recounting the myth and find images to accompany their narration. I have consulted with Mo Pelzel recently and will be giving my students the guide developed by Brett Boessen to help them with the technological issues. It seems that recently students have needed little help in using Moviemaker or imovie. Please let me know if there are additional guides that have been particularly helpful in this area. I am guessing that they will be able to do the audio recording fairly well with their smartphone or computer microphone.

    I would also like to begin to look at how I might have students share their digital stories online and comment on them in some type of forum.

    In preparing for the interviews I will be conducting in Mexico, I would like to purchase a good quality, small digital audio recorder. I believe it would be useful to have at least three more of these recorders for Terry Hoops’ students to use in their interviews with immigrants in North Texas.

    My revised timeline is as follows:
    Spring 2015 – The first test of a digital storytelling project in Mythology class.
    2015-16 – Audio interviews of Asian immigrants in México and Perú.
    Fall 2016 or Spring 2017 – teach Mellon course on Asian immigration in Latin America including digital stories using audio interviews, images, and subtitles in English and Spanish.
    2017-18 – Teach Mellon course again with additional stories and digital reflections on previous stories.

    • The digital story project is a very accessible entry point, especially since you will be providing students with their scripts. I’m not sure that Brett has a specific guide that he has developed…I think what I mentioned to you was the schedule for a workshop that he did a couple of years ago (though obviously he will clarify that for us!) The blog post on Digital Storytelling points you to some further resources as well. I will try to edit that post to expand the resource list a bit further, especially if I can find helpful tutorials for using iMovie and MovieMaker.

      As for an online space where digital stories can be connected, shared, commented upon, and annotated, there are a number of possibilities for this kind of content management. WordPress pages and Scalar projects come to mind, though wikis might work as well.

  13. a. I taught a dual-level class on digital research, History 250/ 495, in the fall of 2014. Because I am teaching C/I this fall, I plan to offer the sophomore level course, History 250, again in the spring of 2016. When I next offer it I plan to introduce a number of changes to the course. These changes will introduce students to digital means of creating and manipulating citations and data. Technical support from Mo Pelzel will be needed to instruct students in the use of relevant software and web applications, so that I will be able to concentrate on the uses of this digital technology for historical research and its dissemination.
    b. My objectives for the course were to increase history students’ understanding and use of digitized finding aids and databases, as well as give them some experience with software useful for the management and dissemination of historical information. I hoped to do all of this while teaching them (and having them practice) basic historical methodology. I met with mixed results. The students became more comfortable and more effective in finding historical materials using digitized databases such as JSTOR, ACADEMIC SEARCH COMPLETE, THE PORTAL TO TEXAS HISTORY, THE NEW YORK TIMES HISTORICAL NEWSPAPER and THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS HISTORICAL. Students also practiced using Microsoft Word to properly format and edit historical research papers. A single lesson in Excel showed them how to express simple data sets (2 variables) visually in charts and graphs. Most students were conversant with Power Point, so only some fine points of 2013 were covered. I abandoned my original plan to introduce the students to NotaBene and was unable to find time to show them the uses of ZOTERO. Since completing the first teaching of H250/495 I have had time to reflect on my experience and do additional reading on the theory and practical application of digital pedagogy to historical research and writing. I found the articles in Tony Weller, ed. History in the Digital Age. New York: Routledge, 2013 and Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki, eds. Writing History in the Digital Age. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2013 to be of particular relevance to my interests. In addition to what was covered in the first offering of the course, next time I hope to introduce students to using ZOTERO and Optical Character Recognition software as well as teaching them to create webpages, blogs and wikis. To add all of this material, I will increase the amount of class time from 160 minutes per week to 200 minutes per week. I will also need a great deal of technical support from Mo Pelzel. In making these changes to the course, I will keep in mind that while we must be forward looking – taking advantage of the new technology’s ability to enhance/improve/ energize traditional research methodology -the fact is that most historians have yet to embrace the possibilities for the digital dissemination of their work. Therefore, I plan to focus on teaching students about the organization and content of digital databases, wikis, blogs and websites. As well students will encounter ways to enhance the speed and broaden the content of research through the application of digital technology.
    c. One of the things I learned from my reading in History in the Digital Age and Writing History in the Digital Age was the necessity of extensive and strong technical support for this type of course. The instructors and their goals varied in these articles, but their projects seemed to have one thing in common, strong technical support. The historians chose the databases, software or web features that they wanted the class to utilize for research and/or dissemination purposes. Then technology specialists, rather than the historians, would come and teach the class the computer skills necessary to use them. I will need this type of support for the next offering of the class.
    d. Optical Character Recognition Software, about $150.00.
    e. I plan to be ready to tech this in spring 2016 if I get the technical support I need.

    • Do you think it would be useful to have a session in the workshop on Saturday on planning a digital pedagogy project? Thinking about elements of curricular design intermingled with the logistics of working with specific platforms and/or technologies?

      Even just reading through everyone’s responses on this thread, it’s clear you’re not the only one to overestimate what you could reasonably accomplish in a single class on your own.

    • Thanks for a very thorough and detailed response. I will try to take a look at the Weller and Dougherty/Nawrotzki books that you mention. Certainly Zotero is a solid choice in the category of managing bibliographic citations and organizing research notes, and I would be happy to help with tutoring and support for that. Are you set on using Zotero, or do you still want to consider other alternatives?

      Developing “digital spaces” (wikis, blogs, websites, etc.) should be straightforward enough…the challenges here will not be primarily technical but rather conceptual…what exactly do you want students to do in these spaces?

      OCR software seems like the kind of investment that we would support. Do you have a particular program in mind at this point?

  14. Where does the project presently stand?

    At the moment, I have much raw data – unedited footage, documents, electronic files – but no consistent storage medium or platform for its collation and delivery. I’ve integrated video segments into text analyis in class for several texts – Prometheus Bound and Oedipus at Colonus in particular – and will be working some into our discussion of Amphitryon, which begins this week. One significant change is that, in the interest of experimenting with different delivery methods, I’ve broadened my approach to include multiple texts and video sources, rather than just the two plays mentioned in my proposal.

    As yet, I haven’t constructed a viable and dependable platform or repository which students can actively use to (a) comment on video while consulting the written text, or (b) contribute to annotations collectively by creating a discussion space around the work primarily in a digital medium. The issues have to do with stability, consistency, and of course the complications involved in fair use (many video hosts will only work with Vimeo and YouTube sources, for instance).

    I’ve experimented with Salon in C/I and THEA 143. Students had issues accessing the site and using it, but their difficulties weren’t insurmountable. The basic format of an annotation project seems promising in terms of the results in student work: the analysis is more disciplined, more grounded in the text, and more likely to analyze than merely summarize. The experiments are already showing an impact on student writing. The main obstacle at the moment is consistency and dependability: I can’t count on Salon in its current state to consistently deploy material to classes in a dependable format. This suggests that the idea is sound, but that I need to find better software and/or hosting services to create an environment that I can count on not only for assessment, but for preserving the students’ work and carrying it forward for future students and discussion.

    It would help considerably to secure a large hard drive or two for backing up and collating the video, since breaking large files down into smaller ones has proven to be a necessary step. I would request assistance with membership fees for Vimeo, for instance (which are required for the file sizes and frequency of use I need), except that those fees are typically ongoing, and I’ll need either (a) funding to continue that support, or (b) a solution that doesn’t involve ongoing membership access fees.

    I’m in a position to put together a few demonstration documents to show the progress of the work so far at the end of the semester, and to indicate by comparison some of the specific needs (as well as possibilities) for continuing development and dependably implementing it.

    • Indeed, Scalar seems perfect for this project. Let me know if/when you’re really to give it a go.

      I’d like to learn more about your issues with Salon. I find the interface clunky and somewhat cumbersome, and I wonder about its future levels of development and support. Regarding the consistency and dependability issues…that might be affected by your choice of browser. In working with other faculty on Salon, I’ve found that using Chrome gives the best results. That said, I think Scalar will be a preferable solution for putting all your material in a single interactive and accessible space.

      The video storage issue is one that we are grappling with across the board. Vimeo Pro has a nice package of features, but at $199/year is pricey. I am presuming that the college is not in a position to acquire a media server, though I would be happy to be proven wrong. We’ll need to continue researching solutions.

  15. I should add that since I have multiple students working in groups on different components of a larger project, another thing I want to add is a good platform for them to share information with each other. I want each group to be able to post information, data, maps, etc. so that the other students/groups can see what they are working on and comment. This is important since we only meet twice a week but the final product will be a combination of their efforts.


Leave a Comment