2016 Mellon Workshop Forum

We’ve set up this page as a forum for the April 2 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?
  • How am I assessing student learning outcomes​ for my 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 at least a paragraph or two in the comment box below. (For reference, here is the 2015 Forum). And please read about what your colleagues are doing and how your projects might mutually inform one another (to see the original proposals, see the links here). We would like to have all reports posted by Friday, March 25.

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

40 thoughts on “2016 Mellon Workshop Forum”

  1. • Where does the project presently stand?

    The project is ongoing. During the past year we had some successes in incorporating digital technology into a service-learning format. During the spring of 2015 I incorporated this project into my Active Citizenship Course and partnered with the Texoma Council of Governments to enable the students to participate in the Beyond ABC Texoma – Kids Matter initiative. The Kids matter program builds upon the work done by the Children’s Hospital Beyond ABC program that provides data on four aspects of children’s well being in the region including health, safety, education, and economic security.

    The 16 students in the class were divided into groups of four with each group doing research and preparing a presentation to the community for the launch of the program in April of 2015. Two students who were not enrolled in the course, Tabatha Keton and Shutong Hao, also participated in the research and presentation.

    The students used a combination of descriptive data, interviews with community leaders, and GIS mapping data to prepare their presentation. We had several community leaders visit the class to give the students an introduction to community issues and a brief introduction to the software and data available to them.

    The kick-off banquet for the Kids Matter initiative was hosted at Austin College in April of 2015. Approximately 100 people attended the event. The students started the event with their presentation and a Q&A session. Following their presentation the students also helped lead a charrette exercise, working with community leaders as they decided upon priorities for the region.

    The link to the presentation is here: https://prezi.com/wsnplbqtmtyj/copy-of-tcog-april-14-2015/

    We also hosted a GIS workshop, taught by Michael Schmitz. Following that, several students did further work on GIS software through the AC Social Science Data Lab. Unfortunately, due primarily to schedule conflicts, only one student, Tabatha Keton, was able to fully engage herself in the program and continue to work on GIS. But Tabatha had, and continues to have, an outstanding experience working closely with TCOG on GIS initiatives. Tabatha provided the following statement about her experience:

    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.

    It is important to note that Tabatha continues to work with TCOG, and in one instance actually had to manage the entire GIS operation for a full week when both full-time staff members were out of the office. I hope to be able to replicate this experience for more students going forward.

    Other students who participated in the initial training, in the class, and in the Social Science Data Lab are also working on other projects in the community including the Chahta Foundation Digital Storytelling program and the development of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the Economic Development Administration (I serve on the steering committee for that project).

    • What are the objectives of the project, and how far along am I in reaching these objectives?

    The initial objectives were to provide training to students and to incorporate the use of GIS technology (or other relevant technologies) into the students’ curriculum so that they could contribute their knowledge to community projects. We have had some limited success, but I underestimated the extent to which students varying schedules and demands would interfere with their ability sustain their work in this area. We will hire a new batch of students for the Social Science Data lab in the spring and will continue to push forward with the project.

    • 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?

    I will not be able to teach the active citizenship course again until the fall of 2017 due to departmental demands and my sabbatical scheduled for spring of 2017. I will try to get up to four students engaged through the Social Science Data Lab starting in the fall of 2016 and hopefully continuing through the 2016-2017 academic year.

    • Where can I go from here? How can I build on this project to expand and deepen my understanding of digital pedagogy?

    As noted above, we want to continue with the model I initiated, but to try to work to make it more consistent and sustainable.

    • Thanks Don, very informative. I really appreciate the quote from Tabatha…I would love to have her develop that just a bit more and run it as a blog post on our website. For example, we could post some of the visualizations she refers to, and have her narrate the importance of spatial and geographical literacy. Getting student feedback is invaluable, and I encourage all grantees to look for opportunities to capture these kinds of student narratives about your projects. We want to publicize, ideally in their own voices, student successes with digital pedagogies.

      The program being used here is ArcGis, correct? You mention the workshop with Michael Schmitz. Are there other resources (online tutorials, etc.) that students have used for learning ArcGIS? How can we develop the potential for GIS applications and projects more broadly across the curriculum?

  2. Andrew Carr-

    I am currently in the second year of the project. I have flipped chem 221 and chem 222. The videos are posted in Moodle and student have access 24/7 to the videos. Students in other sections of chem221 and chem 222 have access to the videos through guest access to my course. I have structured the amount of time to be approximately 40 min of video per lecture night. Student in chem 221 had in class quizzes utilizing Socrative (free smart phone app). Several students did not have reliable access to a smart phone/ or had connection issues to the network so they received paper copies. The quizzes were to check to see if student watched the videos on time. For the second offering of the flipped course, the majority of the scores would indicate that over 50% of the student in chem 221 watched the videos regularly. However a significant number of students did not do well on the quizzes in the second offering of the course. Looking at the number of views (in Moodle)on a daily basis it is clear to see that several students binge watched the videos on the weekends or before an exam. This defeats the purpose of the flipped class. Students then can not interact with the material in class with their peers.

    For chem 222, I have the same structure but I have Moodle quizzes after each viewing assignment. The quizzes have been small and relatively quick for the students to complete. I allow them to take the quiz twice with the higher grade being recorded. I am in the process of adding review questions from first semester to these quizzes. The idea is to force students to remember important material from chem 221 that is important to the organic chemistry they are going to utilize in the second semester.

    No new equipment is required for the project. Though I would like some information on how to increase the sound quality of videos already completed.

    As a side note the equipment and techniques I have learned have allowed me to make lab videos with the help of Dr. Felix for chem 221 and chem 222. I have also participated in the flipping of a section of chem 111 done by Dr. Richardson.

    I plan on Flipping chem 111 for the next academic year.

    • Thanks Andy. So, if I understand correctly, the main switch in CHEM 222 is to move the quiz outside of classtime (quizzes in Moodle instead of Socrative). Has that reduced the “significant number” of students who did not do well in the quiz in CHEM 221? And how do exam grades compare? How about the comparison of feedback between the Fall 2014 and Fall 2015 versions of CHEM 221? Any student testimonials or narratives about the project would be especially welcome.

      We should be able to address the audio issues by using an application such as Audacity to edit the audio track of your videos. If I could access some of those videos, I could experiment with some audio enhancement techniques.

  3. [Original proposal]

    This fall semester, I used my Historiography class, History 495, as the platform to begin developing my concept of an M-DIR Module, meaning a “Multicourse, Digitized Instructional and Research Module.” (Pronounced M-Dear) The instructional component section of the online M-Dir Module would contain PowerPoints, a study guide, links to relevant readings, access to images and moving images, bibliographies, and practice quizzes for students, along with other relevant digitized materials on its topic. The research component of the M-Dir Module would be oriented toward advanced students who did research projects on the topic. They too would work with the instructional section, but would also interact in the research section of the M-DIR with the primary documents, relevant online lectures, advanced bibliographies, historiographical information, interpretations, and tutorials that stressed both research methodologies and writing techniques, along with a blog or chatroom for the students detailing individual progress on their projects. Each student had a 1TB hard drive and all course work took place digitally. I crafted PowerPoints, online exercises, outside readings, and student writing as components of the M-Dear. The class never touched paper. I also used William Cronin’s historical research website at Yale as a tutorial. At the present time, I am taking these activities and developing an template that can present class activities to the students in final form. With modifications, this and other such modules can be moved from course to course by the instructor once they have been created. It is for that reason that they have multi-course applications. For example, the women in Texas history can also be used with modifications in several other courses I teach including historical research methods and history 162. It is for that reason that I am conceptualizing this project as the first step in creating a template which can be customized to create a module on any number of topics.

    • Thanks Light. We look forward to seeing more of this project in detail. Do you have anything that you can show us to illustrate how the modules work…in particular, student artifacts and/or evidence of student activity and feedback? What platforms and applications are used to construct the modules? Are they hosted online, so that you could provide us some links to access them? Also, I looked for Cronin’s historical research website at Yale, and could not find it…do you have a link to that?

  4. Where does the project presently stand?

    As a reminder, this project involves a political campaign simulation conducted entirely online and utilizing digital video, social media, and group collaborative editing technologies.

    I have done the first iteration of the class (Fall 2015) and am planning to do a second in the Fall of 2016. This second run will happen congruent with the presidential election. I plan to do the third in Fall of 2018, in line with congressional midterms.

    What are the objectives of the project, and how far along am I in reaching these objectives?

    The following is a list of the goals I set out to accomplish, each followed with an early assessment of how they are working.

    Technical Objectives

    • Develop a web based platform on which the campaign will unfold. A place where a chronology of events and campaign material appear over the course of the campaign.
      • This has been accomplished and based on what I’ve learned will be modified in the second iteration. See next question for details.
    • Incorporation of social media into the simulation
      • Figuring out how to link a twitter feed and a blog feed into the Scaler platform was a major success. The students ended up using twitter as their main platform for campaign battling. It turns out Donald Trump, and an increasing number of candidates, enjoy this platform.
    • Assisting students with video editing as they make campaign ads.
      • I left them to their own devises and they did a pretty good job making their ads. I believe it was a better use of my time, and theirs, to evaluate their works in progress and tell them how they might be adjusted.

    Learning Objectives

    • Learn how modern campaigns operate.
      • I am very satisfied that they gained an appreciation, if not training, in campaign operation.
    • Learn to use technologies in the production of campaign material.
      • I think it is more accurate to say that they learned to apply and refine skills they had towards this type of project.
    • Through revision, stemming from group critique, produce better products.
      • This was especially evident on campaign issue statements. I think that their videos were revised and improved based on my comments. I had a hard time seeing the inner workings of how the groups produced their ads. I couldn’t get them to use annotation, it was just too inefficient. I think they would get together and do shooting, a subset would do editing and then they would send around and quickly work it up from there.
    • Through learning how campaigns operate, become more thoughtful citizens.
      • I hope so. When I was voting in the primary a few weeks ago, one of the students from the class walked in and gave me a thumbs-up as he walked over to a voting booth.

    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.

    Based on student comments following the simulation, I would like to consult on a transition from Scalar to something else, perhaps WordPress. I believe this change would make sense given what I now know about the simulation. Students preferred to create their material in a variety of ways including Google Docs, and simply emailing and texting copies of material around. They found the Scalar joint editing functions, to be cumbersome. Having a campaign space that links the instructor generated news feed and public response information with campaign twitter feeds, campaign ads, press releases, debate videos, etc; can probably be accomplished in a less cumbersome way than it was on Scalar. I would also like the platform to operate in a mobile application format.

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

    I do not believe so.

    What is the revised timeline for my project?

    Fall 2015 – done
    Fall 2016 – scheduled
    Fall 2018 – planned.

    How am I assessing learning outcomes?

    I have a collection of student produced campaign material from earlier (pre-Mellon) versions of the class, the first version of the Mellon class, and I will continue to collect it for the second and third versions. I plan to sample material from across the years, do rubric analysis, and expect to find Mellon class projects to be of higher quality.

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

    I hope in the second version of the class I can learn from experience, work out bugs, and get my idea flowing smoothly. After this, I want to explore the idea of adding new things in the final Mellon year and of course down the road in subsequent offerings.

    • Nate, thanks for a very thorough and detailed report. It seems that on the whole the first iteration was quite successful. If I recall correctly, one of the reasons that we went with Scalar as the “container” platform for all of the content being generated was its native video annotation feature. But we’ve discovered that the students didn’t find it to be an effective feature in the video editing workflow, and it did not afford you an inside presence in that workflow. Given that, a WordPress site is probably the way to go next time. Perhaps we can more closely analyze some real world political campaigns (and even communicate with some of them) to identify exactly how they organize all of their digital elements and make the whole thing mobile-friendly.

      • Based on your explanation here, I can see why Scalar was probably cumbersome for your students. And I agree that WordPress is probably more flexible, although there might end up being a cost involved there if students want to move beyond the free options for themes/templates. We can talk more about this, though.

  5. The goal of the project is to expose students to Japanese Buddhist traditions and cultures and contemplative studies through courses and collaborative activities with AC faculty and staff, an outside Japanese Buddhist scholar from Louisiana State University, and staff from the Crow Collection of Asian Art Museum in Dallas. This project involves an ongoing preparation in courses with final art exhibitions scheduled for spring and fall 2017. The end product of two courses in 2017 will be the development of two art exhibitions (one with original works and the other a virtual world exhibition) of the Zen ink paintings of the late Japanese artist and research biologist Iwasaki Tsuneo (1917-2002), who interlaced Buddhist and scientific principles. The courses in 2017 will cover the introduction and application of Buddhist and scientific concepts and a partnership with Mike Higgs’ computer science course, “Holistic Videogame Development: Not for Gamers”. Currently, I have been concerned with familiarizing myself and students to Iwasaki Tsuneo’s work and with digital programs in order to prepare us for the two courses that are linked with the exhibitions in 2017.

    Last semester (fall 2015) in my REL 110. Introduction to Buddhism course, I was able to expose students for the first time to Iwasaki Tsunseo’s paintings while they learned about Buddhist concepts throughout the course. I assigned students to do a final group project concerning the application of Buddhist concepts to the paintings utilizing the digital program Scalar. The students had to do an oral presentation and exhibition of their work to the class. Scalar is an open source, publishing platform that allowed students in the course to assemble and juxtapose writing and different media from diverse sources. Although there were challenges regarding learning how the program worked and problems with access at times, guest lectures with Mo Pelzel helped all of us become familiar with the program. The most beneficial result of this experience was that students had to apply concepts they learned through traditional written sources to visual sources and in creative digital formats.

    What I found interesting about using Scalar was that it somehow replicated what the artist himself was trying to do in his work, a juxtaposition of concepts, ideas and mediums. I think I will continue to use Scalar in the future as one of several tools to help students think and apply themselves outside the box of traditional learning. I do need to extend my subscription with Scalar since I only requested for two years of funding for this. The only challenge I expect we may encounter is having enough funding for the virtual world exhibition that Mike Higgs is planning in order to make it a first rate exhibit and not a work in progress. The Crow Collection just applied for funding on our behalf for a grant and hopefully, other funding will become available. If this funding does not materialize, we may need to rethink how to do these exhibitions but I won’t know this until probably mid-summer.

    • Thanks Ivette…I certainly agree when you say that “The most beneficial result of this experience was that students had to apply concepts they learned through traditional written sources to visual sources and in creative digital formats. What I found interesting about using Scalar was that it somehow replicated what the artist himself was trying to do in his work, a juxtaposition of concepts, ideas and mediums.” To continue using Scalar, we will simply renew your domain and web hosting account with Reclaim Hosting on a yearly basis.

  6. Where does the project presently stand?

    My Mellon digital pedagogies project consists of adding online, digital video, and social media components to my marketing class, with the outcome being an online marketing campaign.

    I completed the first iteration of the class in Fall 2015. The first iteration was successful. I scaled back somewhat by canceling the optional part that involved interacting with Nate Bigelow’s political campaigns. We both found that bringing the classes together took more time than we had available in the semester. I will do a second iteration in the Fall of 2016. I will not try to interact with Dr. Bigelow’s class.

    What are the objectives of the project, and how far along am I in reaching these objectives?

    • Present a very carefully constructed marketing campaign plan (using PowerPoint or a similar program).

      This goal was successfully completed. With Mo Pelzel’s assistance, the class used Scalar as a delivery platform. Students presented results to a client, Karen Tooley of Sherman Downtown Now, who expressed high satisfaction. An unexpected benefit was that since Ms. Tooley could access the students work in progress, we were able to head off potential problems before the project was completed. The projects were a disaster at mid-semester, but turned out well by the end of the term.

    • Use statistical software to develop an elegant presentation of demographic and economic data related to a target marketing area such as a congressional district.

      This was delayed until a future semester.

    • Develop marketing campaign implementation plans for a candidate or other “product.”

      This aspect was successfully completed. Students developed 5 separate marketing campaigns for “Sherman Downtown Now,” a marketing organization encouraging reinvestment and development in downtown Sherman. Each group project promoted one event or activity in down Sherman during the Fall 2015 year.

    • Use new media as well as direct mail and event marketing to raise funds and “sell.
      We did not literally sell products, but students did develop advertising and promotional aids to be used by Downtown Sherman Now in marketing and fundraising efforts.
    • Create a collection of carefully produced digital marketing campaign ads appropriate for either television or Internet.
      We were successful. The output can be found at the site below. http://scalar.acdigitalpedagogy.org/downtown-sherman-now/index

    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.

    The class was able to use Scalar to accomplish most of the assigned tasks with heavy assistance from Mo Pelzel. He met with student groups as a class on at least 3 occasions, and met with individual groups as needed to fine-tune their work. I learned the basics of Scalar, but I expect I will continue to need Mo’s help in future semesters to become more adept at some technical issues.

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


    What is the revised timeline for my project?

    Fall 2015 – done
    Fall 2016 – scheduled
    Fall 2017 – planned.

    How am I assessing learning outcomes?

    I plan to maintain samples of student work from the pre-Mellon class. I hope to maintain the Scalar website to preserve the post-digital work as well. I also use rubrics to assess the projects every semester. I can use the rubrics and sample content analysis. I plan to sample material from before and after the digital divide to determine whether the digital projects are of greater sophistication and quality compared to the pre-digital work.

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

    I hope to make the projects more complete each semester. This semester require a lot of fighting with the technology. I hope that in future semesters I can increasingly focus on content more than technique.

  7. Thanks David, a very thorough update. We can talk at some point to discuss whether to continue using Scalar in the next iterations of the class, or consider another platform such as WordPress.

  8. Where does the project presently stand?

    My Mellon digital pedagogies project consists of finding a more satisfactory way for students in music history courses to interact and listen to pieces and make comments of these pieces.

    I completed the first iteration of the class in spring 2015 and continued each semester since then (there are two semesters of music history and the listening component is in both semesters). These semesters have showed more the weakness of the program that I have used (Classroom Salon) than its strengths. It does allow a certain neatness for comments and for marking specific places in music for comments by students. But it is cumbersome and seems to make more work than it saves. I am still trying to make myself work this into a regular part of the weekly routine to check on students’ salons.

    What are the objectives of the project, and how far along am I in reaching these objectives?

    To find a way for students’ listening journals to be completed digitally with a better way to make comments in “real time” (the actual running time of the music on Youtube).

    This goal is somewhat satisfied.

    To digitalize materials for delivery into the classroom. I have had a large number for slides from European trips that I could not use in the classroom.

    This goal is met. This past semester 225 slides were digitalized and are now being worked into teaching materials.

    To find an overall platform for my digital materials in order to streamline delivery of pictures, video, and music into the classroom.

    This goal is not far along. Nothing more than finding time is required here.

    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.

    I still plan to work with Scalar to see if it will do what is needed for the materials organization. I will meet with Mo sometime in the future to kick start that.

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


    What is the revised timeline for my project?

    Fall 2015 – done
    Fall 2016 – scheduled
    Fall 2017 – planned.

    How am I assessing learning outcomes?

    At this point, I am only assessing by my own observations. In the summer I plan to rework the listening component of the course and see if it can be improved in a way that is supported more by the programs available.

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

    See above.

  9. Dan, whenever you’re ready for me to come over and look more closely at some of these issues, just let me know. With regard to getting the digital materials organized for classroom presentation, I think we’ve looked at Scalar in particular for its ability to set up a series of audio or video tracks to play sequentially and for each of them to be cued to begin at a point in the track that you preselect (not necessarily the beginning). This allows for a smooth and time saving procedure during class.

    To be honest, I am still trying to get my head around the exact issue with Classroom Salon and the “cumbersomeness” that you have reported with it. Again, I need to look at this with you more closely. There are a couple of other video annotation platforms out there (such as VideoAnt) that we might consider. I’m wondering how much of the issue is that students are creating a greater volume of commentary than previously, and how we can track what you’ve reviewed of their work and what you haven’t.

  10. My project has been to implement digital annotation software (Hypothes.is) into my upper level course in anthropological theory. Though the semester is far from over, I can say that it’s going better than expected. For every day in class, I have assigned short and challenging texts by significant figures in the history of the discipline and which are relevant for my plan for that day. Using Hypothes.is, each student must make three annotations to those texts prior to class. After a few days of mostly linking certain concepts to wikipedia articles, the students have started to engage the texts and each other, and happily, it spills over into class. I have been bringing some of those comments into class to provoke the same kind of discussion. I’ll say that I have never had a group of ten students go so deeply into discussion about Lewis Henry Morgan’s Ancient Society or Malinowski’s Kula text. The challenge in class so far has been to reign in the discussion and re-orient it toward the theoretical content. In the past, such discussions have generated only an unfocused smattering of commentary. Some early indicators:

    – Every student in the class is so far meeting the standard set by the assignment
    – Within the last month, students have begun to debate points between themselves on Hypothes.is, even if it takes them beyond the three annotation requirement.
    – Student performance on the first exam has been better than in previous years, though these exams do not test the same close reading practices exactly. Rather, the close reading practices may be enriching student understandings of the theoretical content of the various authors.

    Do I need to consult with Mo and Brett?
    Though I have benefited from counsel from Mo Pelzel, I will not need any additional support this
    semester. I do plan to draw upon his knowledge and technology to digitize additional texts later.

    Capital items?
    This project need nothing extra, so long as Hypothes.is remains open-source.

    Current project timeline?
    The project is at its midpoint, ending its first round in May.

    The final exam contains questions which will be used for assessment, which is all I’m saying about that in an online forum. The assessment will involve a close reading and a critical, theoretical analysis.

    Where can I go/How can I build on this to expand my understanding of digital pedagogy?
    There may be ways, digital or otherwise, to make activities shared and somewhat social without making them group activities in a more conventional sense. This particular activity does not really fit with my other courses, where the focus is usually on longer texts and in class lectures, but it does offer one solution wherever students working in isolation is a hindrance to learning.

    • Brian, I am of course very pleased to hear of these early results of the project. Kudos to you and the students for trying Hypothes.is and exploring the possibilities of digital annotation. I have every confidence that Hypothes.is will continue to remain open-source and free, that the developers will continue to improve the platform, and that open web annotation will become a more widely used practice. Looking forward to your giving us some further demo at the workshop.

      Just wondering, though, in your final section, why you would say that “This particular activity does not really fit with my other courses, where the focus is usually on longer texts and in class lectures….” Why would the length of the texts preclude an annotation practice similar to what you are doing now? Even if those other courses are more lecture-based than this one, I think the students might continue to benefit from having the opportunity for the kind of close reading that Hypothes.is offers. But those are design questions that we can further think and chat about.

      Also…nice job of embedding a screenshot in your comment!

      • Thanks for your reply, Mo. My comment about longer texts and lectures was not to close the door unnecessarily on annotation’s possibilities in those courses. I was merely referencing the realities that some of these books aren’t digitized, and that I would have to think carefully about how online annotation would interact complexly with student reading practices, which is an open question. Though any text can be digitized, I would also have to think about copyright implications of my current implementation in Moodle with full length texts. These are questions worth thinking about, because the result has been very positive with this batch of advanced students.

  11. 1. Where does the project presently stand?

    Our project focus was to integrate a newly purchased Epson Smart Board and iPads into our own teaching as a way to model current and effective technology use for teaching and learning in K-12 classrooms. We had hoped to focus on training early in the 2015-2016 school year and to move to implementation of lessons during the same school year. The project has been slowed down due to additional and time-sensitive campus responsibilities for both grant recipients and the need for support with purchasing needed software and equipment.

    In the spring of 2015, Julia Shahid attended training offered by Denison ISD on creating materials for the Epson Board using Smart Notebook software. Sandy attended the same training In the summer of 2015. The department then contracted with Denise Schnitker to have her present a preliminary training in Fall 2015 to colleagues and students on using the notebook software during a joint class session of Education 351 and Education 475 students.

    Julia plans to use the smart notebook software this summer with the ED 533 students. The students will use prepared Smart Notebook lessons as they work with the summer students. The ATP students will bring the elementary students from the summer camp to our building and use the interactive board with them. Sandy will use the interactive board in the fall with her ED 475 Secondary class.

    2. What are the objectives of the project, and how far along am I in reaching these objectives?

    Here are the outcomes that we identified initially:
    Projected Outcomes:
    Year 1: Minimum of three interactive lessons and one student-created interactive lesson/activity
    Year 2: Increase number of lessons and perhaps add one more student directed activity if appropriate; curate and share helpful resources for K-12 educators through a blog or website.

    At this point we have made some progress in terms of preliminary training but there are some logistical issues that are delaying our outcomes. Since Sandy and Julia have our ED 475 classes at the same time, Sandy has the room with the Epson projection system, thus one of us can use it and one cannot. Both of us want to spend some time this summer working on some interactive lessons that we can model for our students. We would like to be able to consult with Denise Schnitker from Denison ISD in the summer as we develop these lessons. Sandy will be able to use ideas from the summer in the fall Ed 475 Secondary course and Julia will use my lessons in the spring of 2018 with the Ed 475 Elementary students.
    This does mean that we are probably behind by a year in terms of achieving the outcomes for year 2.

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

    Julia has recently talked to Mo about support for using the Epson System. We both need help in terms of making it interactive and to fully utilize the options. We could also use some assistance on identifying iPad Apps for teaching at the higher education level that also have utility at the K-12 level. We are considering starting with wireless streaming of our PowerPoints and formative assessment tools using the Apple TVs discussed below.

    We would like to create a digital resource for ATP students and alumni to access information on helpful digital resources for teaching. Assistance with thinking through how best/where to post the information would be helpful.

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

    We need to order and install two licensed versions of Smart Notebook on our laptops. We also need to purchase two apple TVs. There is an Epson app that we want to explore that can be used with a mobile device. This will provide the interactivity we need for the iPads as well. We would like to purchase the iPads as well so that we can utilize them in the fall. We will need support for this as well.
    [An additional Epson board in the computer lab in Temple Center would allow all Ed 475 students to learn to utilize the board and be prepared for their placement/future classrooms. Any ideas for how to procure additional funding for this would be appreciated.]

    5. What is the revised timeline for my project?

    Basically, we have completed a first phase of training but will need to move the timeline for our deliverables one year out. We will commit to the same outcomes.
    Year 1 (2016-2017): Minimum of three interactive lessons and one student-created interactive lesson/activity
    Year 2 (2017-2018): Increase number of lessons and perhaps add one more student directed activity if appropriate; Curate and share helpful resources for K-12 educators through a blog or website

    6. How can I build on this project to expand and deepen my understanding of digital pedagogy?

    Since we are at the beginning of this project, we are not yet prepared to build on the project. In an aside, both of us our using Classroom Salon with our ED 475 classes and have ramped up the use of student annotations for their uploaded classroom videos.

    • Julia and Sandy, thanks for a thorough update on your project. There have been some challenges, but we can meet them. First, we need to get the hardware and software in place so that you can accomplish your objectives. There is no point in having a sophisticated projection system without the other elements needed to make it all work properly. I think we approved the purchase of the items you mentioned, so let’s start with getting those in place (I was not aware that you didn’t have these yet). As I mentioned to you in person, I will do some self-training in the Smart Notebook software so that I can help you with it this summer. As for the concurrent scheduling for ED 475 in the room with the projector…seems that that should be solvable, so let’s try to figure something out there. And we can certainly set up some webspace to connect with ATP alums and others to share digital resources for the K-12 classroom.

  12. What I initially proposed as a realization project – to generate two multimedia texts (of Prometheus Bound and Amphitryon) for regular classroom use – has become an ongoing investigation of delivery platforms and online venues. My initial goal had been to have implemented at least one text in my theatre history courses by now. Because of the difficulties in finding a stable platform on which mount effective in-class multimedia texts, I’ve had to shift emphasis and direction.

    I’m presenting at conference on Scandinavian studies next month on the upcoming release of a multimedia script for public use – When We Dead Awaken, by Henrik Ibsen, using footage from an Austin College production and a new translation by a colleague from California. When We Dead Awaken and its sister project, a similar version of Hedda Gabler, have been prepared using iBooks Author. We intend to distribute the play for free, while the translator retains her right to royalty fees for performances of her text, with one additional contractual caveat: productions will be asked to submit archival video that we can add to the original document for future releases. The notion is to construct a space or community as well as a text, an opportunity for practitioners to share their work by means of the script that connects their diverse projects.

    The primary limitation is the vehicle: iBooks is only available on iOS devices. Since this would require a student who is not already invested in Apple products to purchase hardware, not just software, it has all along seemed an ineffective solution to delivering a multimedia text to Austin College students for regular classroom use.

    With support from this grant, I have been able to compile, collect, and stabilize the archival video for both plays (and much other archival AC footage as well). But much of the rest of my time has been taken up with locating, learning, and testing other, more publicly available means of delivering a complex package of video segments, playscript, commentary, and historical background. The primary agenda has been to render this an interactive and accessible experience – part of my goal is to deliver a text that students can interact with, and to which they can add their own reactions, responses, discoveries, etc. Austin College is a multiplatform campus, and to serve those students I need a delivery method that multiple systems (not just iOS on Apple devices) can access dependably and effectively.

    I’ve conducted extended tests with Hypothesis and Classroom Salon. The latter platform allows one to create small, class-like discussion groups built around a library of shared texts. I worked with a beta version that attempted to allow for PDF files to be shared and annotated; the standard version requires texts to be directly entered into Salon’s interface. Neither version ended up being satisfying for students, primarily because of (a) inconsistent effectiveness with various files, and no effectiveness with non-text files, and (b) a steep learning curve in using Classroom Salon’s interface, which made it difficult for students to feel like they were genuine participants in the conversation. The former platform, which allows for any HTML content anywhere to be annotated, is far more promising, but also proved dissatisfying to students for at least two reasons: (a) the interface requires constant attention to be properly implemented, and brings with it a learning curve that left students feeling powerless rather then better-equipped; and (b) the software has difficulty when accessing material behind firewalls, like any files posted to a Moodle site, for instance. This latter problem makes it unlikely that I’ll be implementing Hypothesis as a student tool anytime soon.

    In both cases, I found that the attempt at implementing the experimental project in class always consumed more time than it saved for us. Inevitably a class session would be devoted to teaching the interface – and then another, later on, for damage control and trouble-shooting. Both systems depend on the cloud for entered data, which makes it impossible to use without stable and fast internet access. Just the increased traffic from multiple students accessing a site at the same time would create inconvenient hiccups and delays that would mar the entire process. More to the point, it defeated the purpose – rather than being excited by the combination of text and video and commentary, students pointed out they felt more confused.

    I ran a brief, low-tech experiment in an introductory theatre class along these lines. I asked students to read the text of a play at the same time that they watched a YouTube video of that text being performed. The reaction was clear and overwhelmingly positive – it enhanced both their satisfaction with the text and their understanding of it. In a similar vein, I’ve begun using references to online sources – particularly YouTube videos – by means of student devices. On several occasions, I haven’t bothered to provide a central projection of a video – I’ve just asked the class to take out their devices and watch it. I believe there’s a solution for this problem that utilizes this advantage – that takes advantage of the diversity of student platforms, rather than insisting on uniformity. That’s what I’m still working on.

    The raw materials stand ready, and I may still need some financial assistance with memory storage (video takes up vast amounts of storage space, and editing video takes up about 100x as much). What I most need to identify now is where the best path lies to putting this raw material where students can use it, and where they can productively examine text, performance, and commentary overlapping each other by digital means. It may be that a low-tech solution is actually better than a “silver bullet” app or new startup. The Ibsen iBooks demonstrate the potential of the project, and if all else fails, provides a method for delivery that might work; I am still anxious to find other means of providing a similar experience without being locked into a particular brand of hardware.

    • Thanks Kirk…this is a very informative and helpful update. I appreciate your willingness to experiment. Of course the ideal would be if we could spend more time in person with your materials in order to explore the possibilities for bringing them together in a common platform. I thought that we had discussed trying Scalar as a place to bring text/video/commentary together. But it does not sound as though that has been part of the mix. I would recommend giving Scalar a try…I think it would meet your objectives quite effectively (and it has Hypothes.is built in for textual annotation). I have nothing at all against “low-tech” approaches, though, and encourage those kind of solutions when they clearly achieve your objectives.

      With regard to using Hypothes.is behind the Moodle firewall, I am surprised to hear of your difficulties. Brian Watkins has been using H with articles in a Moodle site, and his results so far have been quite encouraging (see his report above). So again, I think this is something that we could make to work. Let me know when you’re having trouble with a particular application, and I’ll see what we can do to address the situation.

  13. This is the 2nd year of the Special Collections project. We presently have 3 scanning stations and two additional stations without scanners where we will do metadata entry. I have three student workers helping me this year to get the scanning program started. Together, we have worked out what our file naming standard will be and how we will prevent two students from accidentally using the same name on two separate files, have learned how to use Photoshop CS6 to scan documents to UNT’s standards and make required adjustments to each image, have learned how to use our largest scanner, the Epson 11000XL, and have successfully completed our test scans.

    We are still trying to figure out how to scan bound materials on our Plustek book edge scanner to UNT’s standards. Scanning is simple enough. It’s the standards that are causing problems. Their standards for bound materials are considerably different from their standards for unbound / non-book items. We are presently discussing whether or not we should just ask UNT’s Digital Projects Unit to scan the bound items for us. Even if we go this route, we will still complete the metadata ourselves.

    We will be sending our test scans of the Osterhout Papers to UNT in a week or two for their assessment. If the test scans meet their requirements, they will be uploaded into the Portal for us to create the metadata. Then the metadata will also be checked for accuracy. Once we pass this hurdle, we will proceed to scan the entire collection.

    • Thanks Justin, it sounds like the project is on track and progressing nicely. Asking the UNT folks to scan the bound items makes sense, as long as their fees would be reasonable. We look forward to being able to access the special collection items online in the near future.

  14. Where does the project presently stand? What are the objectives of the project, and how far along am I in reaching these objectives?

    As a quick summary of my project, I am focusing on PSY 101. The primary goal is to institute a partially flipped model where I move some material I traditionally cover in class to video sessions students watch outside of class. My goal is to produce one video of approximately 15-20 minutes per week, and use that time to do activities and demonstrations of concepts in class. I am currently teaching PSY 101 for the first time since receiving the Mellon Grant and things are going well. I have produced four videos thus far covering the following topics: experimental design and the role of the IRB; neuroimaging methods; applying what we know about memory to improve study habits; and an overview of classical conditioning. These videos allowed me to incorporate the following classroom activities: extended discussion about an in-class experiment we conducted; a live-action demonstration of how action potentials work in neurons; various short activities to illustrate different types of memory (e.g., capacity of working memory, priming effects); and a demonstration where I classically conditioned my students, respectively. I did not include videos for the first week of class or the two weeks we have had exams, so I am still fairly close to my goal of a video per week. As I move forward, I want to continue to develop additional activities and assess how well they help students understand and retain information. Due to my relocation to a temporary office this semester, I shelved part of my original conception for the videos where I would record myself sharing information in addition to doing voice-over PowerPoint slides. My temporary office doesn’t quite have the aesthetic I want, and as I create more videos I want the background to be consistent. Thus I have not yet purchased the tripod and video editing software I requested in my original proposal.

    The second goal for the course is to incorporate a digital project in place of a traditional paper. I removed a paper about personality tests from the course and in its place inserted an additional component to a project I’ve included for a long time. The existing assignment is a media analysis project where students find a news article that discusses psychological research and assess the credibility of the information in a short paper. The follow-up assignment is to read the original research article on which the news story is based, then write a second paper reassessing the credibility of the news story. The new component I devised is for students to attempt to improve upon the original news story by posting their own summary of the research using the same word count as the original piece. I hope this will get them to think about writing in a different medium and for a different audience than traditional papers. While many students will express outrage that the journalists will leave things out of the news story, I want them to understand the challenge of working under a restrictive word count and have to navigate the balance of explaining the science correctly with generating interest in the topic to gain readership. I originally proposed building a website in collaboration with the ASC or counseling services, and am still considering the viability of such a project. I do, however, like that the assignment I’m using this semester integrates with their blogging so well.

    The final goal for the Mellon project is to increase the audience so that my students are able to interact with people outside the classroom. I have been pursuing two avenues to achieve this goal. The first is increasing my own web presence so that when I call attention to my students’ blogs, I can direct traffic to them. I have focused on two areas of web presence so far: hosting my own website and managing my academic social media more effectively. Mo helped me set up my own domain (http://ianmacfarlanephd.com) with Reclaim Hosting and I’m building content there to create a digital “home base” from which I can branch out. In terms of social media, I have increased my presence on Twitter and have gained a small group of psychology professor followers who retweet some of my posts. I tweeted throughout the National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology conference in January, which led to a significant bump in follows and exposure. I’ve also been more active in the Facebook group for the Teaching of Psychology division, in of the American Psychological Association. The other avenue is I want to find another course using blogs to collaborate with (which is sometime called paired or “sister” blogging). This avenue has not been actively pursued for the current iteration of the course, but I hope to find a collaborator to at least try some coordinated assignments or cross-pollination in spring of 2017. I recently came across an example of different disciplines partnering to do this, so I want to think more broadly about potential collaborations than just other General Psychology courses.

    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.

    Not at this time. Over the summer or perhaps in the early fall, I would like to consult with Brett regarding designing the videos to be more attractive/have higher production value.

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

    As described above, I have not yet purchased the two pieces of equipment I requested in my original application. An additional piece of equipment I would like to request would be a headset to record audio that would plug directly into my computer. I have a personal headset, but it only plugs into an audio jack so I record on a digital recorder then transfer to PC and sync. It would save me steps and allow for better quality if I could just record audio directly with the video. A quick survey of BestBuy and Amazon looks like I could get a quality piece of equipment for less than $100 (using headsets designed for gaming).

    How am I assessing student learning outcomes for my project?

    Ideally, I would be comparing exam performance on the content areas I cover using the out of class videos to previous performance when I covered that material in class. Unfortunately, I do not have data from previous classes regarding the specific performance on exams by question domain. I allow students to keep their exams and write new ones each semester, and did not have the foresight to keep copies or record grades in a way that would allow me to go back and assess at a domain level. What am planning to do is compare student performance on exam domains covered in class and outside class for this semester. This will help me determine if students are being disadvantaged by video-delivered content. I hope this is not the case, and I have purposefully selected topics I believe to be straightforward enough to relay in this format while saving potentially confusing or difficult content for the classroom so students can ask questions immediately if they do not understand something. I plan to compare student evaluations of the course (both the quantitative and qualitative) on midterm feedback as well as the formal evaluations at the end of the semester. I am still determining additional means to assess student learning outcomes for the other goals.

    What is the revised timeline for my project?

    Current semester: Continue to implement videos and pilot test digital writing component of media analysis assignment
    Spring 2017: Update videos to improve production value and hopefully pilot instituting a “sister blog” with some other course
    Spring 2018: Continue to experiment with sister blogging and reassess assignments

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

    I want to expand my use of digital pedagogy into other courses. This semester I substituted video annotation projects for two papers in my PSY 350 course. I just received the first project so have not had a chance to assess the output yet, but students reported enjoying the project and said they preferred this task to the idea of writing a paper about the video. I would also like to consider blogging options in my 200-level classes, though I have not put enough thought into this yet to determine how I would implement it. The topics of my 200-level courses are mental illness and psychotherapy, which are more charged and potentially personal topics so I want to carefully consider the implications of (potentially) public writing assignments.

    • Ian, this is an outstanding write-up… thanks for your articulate and detailed summary. On the videos…are these screencasts, or how are you producing them? Are they hosted in Moodle? Do you have a sense of how students are interacting with them, and do you have a means for holding them accountable for the information they contain? With the digital project…have the students completed that assignment yet, or is it yet to come this semester?

      I think you are forging a trail for your colleagues in terms of establishing a web domain and using Twitter to expand your professional network. I look forward to having you demonstrate these things. I think the paired blogging idea is a very good one, and I trust that it won’t be too difficult to get something set up.

      • Thanks Mo. Yes, the videos are screencast. I am using Apowersoft’s Screen Recorder 2 Pro software and it works great. I post the videos to YouTube then embed them in Moodle pages. Since I have a number of other educational screencast videos on YouTube, this allows me to consistently monitor views and build my overall web presence but still be able to track individual student usage via Moodle’s logs. At the moment I have the 101 videos unlisted on YouTube, because I plan to update and improve them before I make them open to all. There are small assignments associated with each of the videos (often a short quiz or a worksheet they bring to class) which are graded to hold them accountable. I also include 1-2 questions related to each video on the exams. Early in the class, ~75% of the students were watching the videos on time and ~90% had watched them before the corresponding exam. These numbers have dipped slightly recently, which I attribute partially due to workload in my and other classes (a few students have told me they had exams in chem/bio that week and prioritized studying for those classes). I’m sure there are other factors, but I have not assessed them. The digital project has not yet happened, but it is our next big assignment and is scheduled to be due April 18th.

  15. [original project proposal]

    The purpose of my Mellon Digital Pedagogy grant was to enhance a senior capstone seminar for English majors. In the past, students in this class researched “lost” literary texts and authors and wrote a major research paper on those texts and authors. In fall 2015, nine students took the course and eight student created a Scalar book on a “forgotten-about” piece of literature in the digital and physical archives. The Scalar books were to function as an annotated edition of the work with a scholarly introduction that would provide relevant context and possible interpretive angles into the text. The projects also included digital annotations of the literary artifacts. We used a tool called Hypothesis to create the annotations.

    The students created projects on temperance era poetry, nineteenth-century Barbary captivity narratives, a lost Texas woman’s memoir from the early twentieth century, and even scrapbooks found in the Austin College Abell Library special collections. In fact, the Scalar format was perfect for the projects taken from the physical archives. The Scalar format helped all students organize their ideas and to integrate images in a way that traditional research essay would not allow them to do.

    I had to dedicate several class sessions to the Scalar technology, and there was quite a learning curve for me and the students. In the end, the students could see and articulate the benefit of the digital component of the course: Digital projects potentially gave their lost authors and texts a new audience. I assessed this when five of the students presented their projects on a class panel at the Austin College Scholarship Conference in March 2016, several months after they had completed their projects. I required the students who presented at the conference to reflect on “how digital tools and resources helped in the research process or made you re-think the field of literary studies.”

    My students and I would not have been able to use a tool like Scalar without the help of Dr. Mo Pelzel, digital pedagogy designer at Austin College. Dr. Pelzel’s workshops and blog posts made me aware of other tools such as Hypthesis and Classroom Salon, which also enhanced this class and student projects. Working with the Mellon grant and with Dr. Pelzel has encouraged me to integrate other major digital projects into the goals and structure of new courses. I am already working with Dr. Pelzel on digital tools I can use for a course I am teaching next fall called “Mapping Early American Literature.”

    • Great report, Randi. I really enjoyed working with you and your students on this. I hope we can get a nice blog post out of the presentation at the AC Scholarship Conference. I think Scalar was a very fitting application for this project, even though we had some challenges in using Hypothes.is to annotate pdfs inside the Scalar platform. I have my contacts at both places (Scalar and H) working together to try to resolve the issues there. But we found a good work-around, I think.

      Looking forward to working on the mapping project this fall.

  16. Continued Project Goals

    [original project proposal]

    Our goals for the second year were expand presenting lectures and grading using a tablet from the small Chem 352 class (8 students) to the much larger Chem 351 course (30 students per class).
    Outcomes from second semester:
    • Continued testing best hardware and software solutions.
    • Employed a Samsung Note 12.2 stylus enabled tablet and a Miracast wireless display adapter (Belkin) to wirelessly present PowerPoint-style lectures that could be altered and highlighted with a stylus during presentations using the Explain Everything App.
    • Used Moodle to accept electronic assignments in pdf format and graded them by “handwriting” on the pdf using a stylus with the Squid App. Documents were returned via Moodle. Dropbox was used as the intermediary to transfer files between the tablet and Moodle.
    • Used the compression software Handbrake to dramatically compress lecture recordings from ~800MB per lecture to ~80MB per lecture.
    • Used the tablet to record several chapters’ worth of example problems in General Chemistry.

    Student Feedback

    A student survey was conducted during the middle of Chem 351 as well as end of the semester evaluation comments assessed for comments about tablet usage. These sources confirmed that tablet use in class was seen as overall positive (see table below).

    Continuation of the Project

    • Tablet use will be continued for lecture and grading in Chem 351 and Chem 352.
    • Recorded example problems will be developed for Chem 112.
    • Developments in hardware and software will be monitored and recommendations to the faculty will be altered as necessary.

    • Thanks Jim and John, this continues to be an impressive and persuasive use of digital pedagogy. It sounds as though the transition to the larger class went quite smoothly. You seem to have found a stable combination of hardware and software that is getting the job done. Thanks for providing the student feedback data.

  17. I completed the first iteration of the digital project for Spanish 236 in Spring 2015 and I plan to do the second round in AY 2016-2017. This course combines advanced grammar with intro to Hispanic literature. After studying different literary genres, students then wrote their own creative works (a story or poem), putting into practice the different techniques and styles that we analyzed in the works of various Hispanic authors. During the semester students uploaded their works to our Span 236 account in Classroom Salon. The annotation tool in Classroom Salon allowed students to peer edit and analyze each other’s works, as we had done with the literature studied in class. In addition, students were assigned to write a 50 word analysis of their peers’ work, guided by questions regarding literary tropes, style, language, tone, imagery, etc. Students also analyzed grammar use and were told to find examples of various grammatical points and explain the use of each example of por/para, perterite/imperfect, subjunctive, and ser/estar in each work. All this was done in Classroom Salon where students can submit their work and engage in discussion. I was able to reply as needed during the course of the assignment and students were given a time frame in which to respond, engage in discussion, or correct their work. This project was effective in combing the two focal points of the class (advanced grammar and literary analysis) by giving the students the opportunity to :

    1. Apply the techniques and styles from authors studied in class to create their own literature, giving them both insight to the creative process and a broadened perspective of how to analyze literature.
    2. Put into practice the grammar points studied in class in a cohesive, creative, and engaged way.
    I am still exploring the possibility of adding an oral component to this project and I will likely look to Mo and Brett for more input about this.

    • Thanks Elena, sounds like the first iteration of this project went pretty smoothly. If you don’t mind, I’d like to be added to that salon that you are using, so I could see first-hand how it’s working. Several other faculty have used Classroom Salon primarily for video annotation, and so I’d be interested in seeing a use case that focused on text annotation. As you’ll see at the workshop, we’re getting some experience now with faculty beginning to use the Hypothes.is annotation platform, and I think a comparison of the two might be helpful.

      We can certainly have further conversations about incorporating audio whenever you’re ready. I think it’s a great idea. There are a number of possibilities in that realm, and I’m planning on doing a workshop soon to cover some of them.

  18. 1. Where does the project presently stand?
    2. What are the objectives of the project, and how far along am I in reaching these objectives?

    The objectives are the project are two-fold: increase student use/access to DNA analysis software (MacVector) and develop a long-term strategy for using an online Wiki to build a longitudinal component into students’ lab experiences. The latter essentially means that instead of each semester being a stand-alone experience, students will instead build each year on the work of their peers. In terms of introducing students to MacVector, this has worked well with introductory incorporation into BIOL 228 Genetics, and extensive use in BIOL 343/344 (two separate Molecular Biology courses). The Molec students have become quite adept at using the software for not just primer design, but additionally searching and mapping DNA sequences for restriction enzyme cut sites and identifying putative transcription factor binding sites. More limited success has been met with the use of the online Wiki. Originally conceived to be used in BIOL 228, pedagogical/research goals for the lab experience in the Molec courses have changed, and I have instead moved to incorporating the Wiki in the 300 level courses.

    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.

    Assistance/ideas how best to organize the Wiki would be appreciated. Organization will be critical as the project expands to next spring after this spring.

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

    A long-term expense will be maintenance of the MacVector license renewal beyond the three years requested in the original proposal.

    5. How am I assessing student learning outcomes​ for my project?

    To increase student participation with the online Wiki, this is now a graded component of the course. Use and presentation of results from MacVector are included as part of the assessment.

    6. What is the revised timeline for my project?

    As designed, there is no defined end date. Indeed, the current goal is to continue the project as stands.

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

    Excellent question that may be answered as I review others’ projects and successes at our workshop.

    • Thanks David, this is a helpful update. We’re glad to hear how successful the student use of MacVector has been, and I hope we can help you discover funding to keep the subscription going long-term. Regarding the wiki, we can certainly sit down and talk with you about organization and student participation. Wikis are very flexible in terms of the development and shape that they take, so I’m confident that we can discover ways to make them work more effectively for you.

  19. My project has two parts: 1) to develop electronic, real-time, target language response materials for elementary and intermediate Latin courses; and 2) to incorporate elements of a flipped classroom into the same courses. My emphasis this year has been on the second part, working on the assumption the materials will be better if targeted to the informational pieces. I have also focused on incorporating pre-existing online materials rather than creating my own when they would simply duplicate what is available. I have materials for about one-third of one course.

    Students have responded well to the materials, but it has been difficult to get then to watch the videos that contain content before they come to class or prepare their assignments. As a result, much class time is still devoted to introducing the new concepts for each chapter rather than helping students manipulate and master new language elements. What I am most looking forward to in our Forum is the opportunity to discuss the issue of preparation with colleagues who have worked with the flipped class model.

    I have not done any formal assessment yet. Without more material to work with, I don’t know that it would be meaningful. I might need to extend the timeline in order to produce assignments for every chapter. On the other hand, next year I won’t have my current administrative duties, so I should have more time to prepare units. No additional capital items are needed.

    • Bob, thanks for this update…the workshop should provide a chance for some conversation with colleagues in other disciplines (Andy Carr in chemistry, and Ian MacFarlane in psychology, for example) who are using similar elements of a flipped class model (in particular, providing students with video presentations to be watched outside of class time). We will be interested in learning more specifically what the issues are with your students…I’d like to more clearly understanding how they can be both “responding well” to the materials while at the same time it is “difficult” to get them to watch the videos. You noted in your original proposal that in a trial run of incorporating out-of-class videos in a previous course, students were “ecstatic” about being able to “replay the videos to hear again the concept of verbal adjectives and antecedents (we did these for present participles and relative pronouns, two rather tricky grammatical constructions for students to understand).” Perhaps you’re just running into an unusually large variance among students from one course to the next?

  20. [original project proposal]

    This semester I am teaching the beta version of a course on digital methods in History. The first time I taught it in the fall of 2014 I covered both historiography and research methodology. I stressed accessing information from digitized full-text databases and websites as well as using Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel in preparing explanatory narratives.
    In the beta version of the course I have dropped the focus on historiography in order to create more time to deal with additional digital means of acquiring and disseminating information. This has allowed the class to learn to journal their research using blogs created with Word Press. We have also dealt with the analysis of websites and Wikis as possible sources for historical research. Mo Pelzel has been of great help in introducing the students to blogging and the nature of Wikis. In addition, we have had time to deal with some of the finer points of Microsoft Word including embedding notes and using Mark Up.

    • Thanks Vicki. I’d be curious to know…what are some of the databases and websites that you have taught students to access? I assume things like the Portal of Texas History, but it would be good to know about some of the others as well.

      It is interesting that you have had to spend class time teaching students how to use the basic office suite programs (Word, PP, Excel)…my sense is that we ordinarily think that students will come already knowing how to use these. Is that something that has changed over the last, say, decade or so?

      Looking forward to the student blogs and, more generally, the student work to reach a point where you feel comfortable with it being fully public on the open web. We will be happy to showcase any work that you believe merits broader exposure.


Leave a Comment