Presentations & Workshops

Examples of recent presentations, workshops, and keynote addresses:

“Threshold Concepts, Troublesome Knowledge, and the Design of Digital Humanities Projects”

Presentation at the NEH-funded USC Vectors Institute:  “Digital Humanities and American Studies.”

Download USC presentation here: USC_NEH_Bass_July2011.pptx


“The Problem of Learning in the Post-Course Era”

In 2010-11, I have given a series of talks that have developed the idea of the “post-course era.” This started in January 2010 at the annual meeting of the American Association for Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C., where I gave two presentations: one to the ePortfolio Forum called “The Problem of Learning in the Post-Course Era,” and another (with Peter Felten), “Low Impact Practices (formally known as the curriculum).” Since then I have given an evolving series of talks, each with a different emphasis and deepening argument. In January 2011, I gave one version, at the Educause Learning Initiative (ELI) Conference. That presentation can be found here on the ELI site.

In Feburary 2011, I gave a similar presentation at the AAC&U Network Renewal Conference, General Education and Assessment 3.0: Next-Level Practices Now. This presentation was focused less on evidence of impact of digital technologies (ELI above) and more on ePortfolios and the role of reflection, integration, and intermediate cognitive processes. Here is a description of that talk:

E-Portfolios and the Problem of Learning in the “Post- Course” Era

Within a larger cultural context characterized by social networks and webs of connection, colleges and universities must consider the idea that “courses”—as bounded, discrete entities—are no longer the center of undergraduate learning and engagement. Dr. Bass will argue that this current context challenges us to take seriously the shift in proportion between formal learning and informal learning, individual and group learning, and content knowledge and knowledge-making in practice. E-portfolios, when implemented effectively, can play a critical role in helping students —and campuses—shift to a more embodied way of looking at learning, where learning is participatory, emergent, and boundary-spanning.

My slides from the AAC&U plenary: “ePortfolios and the Problem of Learning in the Post-Course Era.” Bass_AACU_GenEd3.0.ppt.   Here is the AAC&U twitter feed from the conference, some of which is in response to my plenary: #gened11.


DESIGNING FOR DIFFICULTY: Rethinking Teaching and Learning Through a Social Pedagogies Framework (workshop or presentation: this work relates to a project for which I am Co-PI, along with Heidi Elmendorf (Georgetown), funded by the Teagle Foundation. Read more about the Social Pedagogies Project here:

This session will explore a framework of “social pedagogies” as a way of rethinking course design and learning. This framework emphasizes ways to leverage a classroom’s social and community elements to engage students with the most difficult (as well as important and meaningful) elements of fields of study. Social pedagogies build on the relationship among several key elements of a course all working together and are especially compatible with fostering flexible thinking and progressive problem-solving, comfort with ambiguity and uncertainty, and the ability to filter and distill knowledge and sift through multiple perspectives and approaches. The presenter will engage participants in thinking about their own teaching practices in the context of the framework, look at a range of examples of social pedagogies, and explore ways of capturing student understanding, especially in the context of adaptive expertise.

Exploring Digital Pedagogies (workshop)

This session will look at ways to think about digitally-enhanced pedagogies, including shifts in time and space of learning activities. In particular, participants will explore the impact of new media environments in making intermediate thinking processes visible to students and their teachers. Examples will come from a range of disciplines and contexts, and the session format will include presentation and discussion.

Recognizing the Visible Evidence of Invisible Learning (presentation)

One of the consequences of the “learning paradigm” has been to unleash an expanded range of learning far broader and more complicated than higher education is prepared to recognize. Much of this learning is elusive, if not invisible, in traditional assessments. This is especially true of learning that results from emergent pedagogies, including those with digital media. This session will pose a series of questions about what we recognize as learning, and especially the ways that new media pedagogies and literacies compel us to expand our recognition of learning and critical thinking. Whether or not we in higher education are able to thrive in the age of the Internet depends on our ability to respond to learning that is too often invisible or undervalued in higher education and to rethink some of our biases about knowledge and expertise in the undergraduate curriculum. NOTE: A recent ppt for this presentation, delivered at the Collaboration for Advancement of Teaching and Learning (2/16/08), can be found in the “Resources” section of my blog.

No Place for Amateurs: Novice Learners, Narrative, and the Multimedia Archive (presentation)

Digital environments for researching and creating multimedia writing are changing the ways that novice learners can interact with cultural materials. In particular, the genres of digital stories and digital histories produce some intriguing and at times complicated ways that students connect represent their personal and cultural histories. Student-created digital narratives reveal telling patterns about conceptions of authenticity, expertise, identity, and history, and even emotion. Using examples from student work, a few eccentric websites, and a little Spike Lee, this presentation will explore how, among other things, digital stories illustrate the changing relationship between the “database” and “narrative” in 21st century cultural representations.

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