2016 Mellon Digital Pedagogy Grantee Workshop–Saturday, April 2

We’ll be a day late for April Fools, so there’ll be no fooling around this Saturday as Austin College Digital Pedagogy grantees gather for their annual workshop at Abell Library. So far, twenty-three faculty members have been awarded stipends of $5,000 to support the implementation of innovative digital pedagogy practices in their courses. (In the coming year, an additional seven stipends will be awarded…details on how to apply will be coming soon). Here on our website you can learn more about the original grant from the Mellon Foundation and find links to the project proposals from the 2014-15 cohort and the 2015-16 cohort.

Last year’s workshop featured showcase demonstrations of projects by Andy Carr (chemistry), Jennifer Johnson-Cooper (Chinese), Dan Dominick (music) and Jim Hebda and John Richardson (biochemistry), as well as several breakout discussion sessions  on topics suggested by the grantee reports. We published blog posts to further highlight the projects of Carr (“Flipping Out Over Organic Chemistry“) and Hebda/Richardson (“Using Tablets for Presentations and Grading: A Biochemistry Case Study“) as well as breakout sessions on student-created video projects and open collaborative web spaces.

This year we anticipate another stimulating day of presentations and conversation. We asked all the grantees to prepare updates on the status of their projects and post them on the 2016 Mellon workshop forum page, where you can read them. For this year’s showcase round, seven grantees will make brief presentations about their project to the group as a whole. Each of these will be about 15 minutes or so, including time for questions, comments, and discussion. We’ll be hearing from Don Rodgers (political science) Randi Tanglen (English), Kirk Everist (theater), Brian Watkins (anthropology), David Griffith (business), Nate Bigelow (political science), and Ian MacFarlane (psychology). Follow the links to see their project updates. These projects involve a wide range of pedagogies and digital resources, including geographical information systems (GIS), digital publishing and annotation platforms, student blogging and social media practices, multimedia content creation, and faculty web domains.

Ultimately, of course, what we really want to highlight in these digitally enhanced classes is the learning, knowledge creation, and reflection of students. So we encourage the grantees to share evidence and examples of student work and articulation of learning. For instance, in a recent blog post Brooke Reiche, a student in Ivette Vargas-O’Bryan’s “Introduction to Buddhist Traditions” class, describes creating her own depictions of Buddhist art in a project using the Scalar digital platform. And in his project report, Don Rodgers includes an account from one of his students, Tabatha Keton, on her work with GIS projects:

My journey started with an internship that allowed me to see GIS, or Geographical Information Systems, used in an interesting way: documenting the location of indigenous ancestral sites. I conducted research in books, on the web, and in old, never-before-seen transcripts to locate sites then watched as a specialist put all the information I had gathering in the GIS program. Through the help of Don Rodgers, I was able to obtain an internship that allowed me to learn this program. With my newly acquired knowledge, I documented zoning changes for local governments, created visualizations for research I had conducted in childhood poverty, food scarcity, lack of community resources, and used the system to view how different demographics related to voting practices. I not only was able to gain the knowledge of an up and coming new technology that is also highly sought after in the job market, I was able to visualize my research in a novel way involving spatial elements. This enabled me to view information in a tangible way with real world applications and created a visual that added to my understanding of each of the topics.

We look forward to sharing more of the outstanding work in digital pedagogy and scholarship that our faculty and students are creating here at Austin College.