Extending Engelhard’s concern for well-being

Kim Lubreski and students from her course "Gender, Immigration, and Social Justice"

This past fall Kim Huisman Lubreski, Assistant Director for Learning Design at CNDLS and Adjunct Professor in Sociology and Justice and Peace Studies, taught her Justice and Peace Studies course, Gender, Immigration, and Social Justice, with the Engelhard Project. As the course’s title suggests, Lubreski’s course takes an intersectional approach to immigration, with an understanding that an immigrant’s life and livelihood is not simply shaped by their status as an immigrant; rather, social identities such as gender, race, and religion, shape how immigrants are treated and received upon arrival to the U.S.

Lubreski’s course, and the semester-long podcasting project that she assigns in it, grew out of a ten-year research project she conducted with Somali immigrants in Maine. “Immigrants are often concerned that their children are going to forget their history and their past and they want those stories to live on. In my own research, a lot centered around storytelling and preserving those stories and recording them and archiving them,” says Lubreski. Following a framework of storytelling, Lubreski asks her students to create a podcast about someone who immigrated to the United States in collaboration with that person. The project, through community-based research, is designed to be mutually beneficial for both the interviewer (the student) and the interviewee (the immigrant).

Lubreski’s course, and the podcast assignment, were a seamless match for Engelhard. “Once I decided to teach this course, right away I realized [Engelhard] would be a great fit for this course because hearing people’s stories… can be jarring, it can be upsetting, it can be emotional—especially for those students who chose to interview family members. Many of those students learned about their family member’s backgrounds and experiences and learned things that they had never learned before,” says Lubreski.

The podcast assignment allowed Gaby Charlot (SFS ‘21) the chance to interview her father who immigrated to the United States from Haiti when he was 13 years old. “I had heard his story before,” says Charlot, “but I hadn’t necessarily heard it in a formalized way, and I hadn’t heard the whole thing.” While Charlot echoes Lubreski’s sentiment that interviewing her father was emotional at times, she also shared that the design of the course supported her own well-being. Doing research before the interview helped prepare her for some of what she would hear—and working with her dad to craft questions ensured that they both were comfortable with where the interview would go and what story would be told. Lubreski adopted additional ways of infusing wellness into the course, including a self-care check-in and a general flexibility and openness to hearing from students about their own needs throughout the course. To Gaby, thinking about and addressing the well-being of immigrants is crucial. “Policy and people’s lives are not independent,” she says.

In order to incorporate diverse perspectives on well-being into her classroom beyond course readings and the podcast assignment, Lubreski invited Rabbi Rachel Gartner (Director for Jewish Life) and Arelis Palacios (Associate Director for Undocumented Student Services, CMEA) to engage with her class. Gartner spoke about her experiences in trying to visit one of the children immigration detention centers and led a discussion about the short and long-term threats to well-being that these centers pose for children and their families. Palacios spoke to students about the status of being undocumented, DACA, and what resources are available to support undocumented students and their well-being both at Georgetown and beyond the Hilltop.

For Lubreski, partnering with the Engelhard Project opened up a new way of teaching that creates space for students to be reflective about both their own well-being and the well-being of others. To learn more about how to participate in the Engelhard Project, please visit the Engelhard website or reach out to us at cndls@georgetown.edu.

Digital Learning Webinar: Audio & Podcasting Projects Recording Available!

Student wearing headphones with laptop displaying powerpoint presentation

Student wearing headphones with laptop displaying powerpoint presentation

Student wearing headphones with laptop displaying powerpoint presentation

Podcasting continues to be an expanding medium, and on Thursday, March 28th, staff from both CNDLS and the Gelardin New Media Center came together to offer an webinar on using podcasting and other audio assignments in the classroom. CNDLS Learning Design Specialists Kim Huisman Lubreski and Sarah Workman teamed up with Gelardin’s Nikoo Yahyazadeh to share their experiences teaching and teaching with podcasting. You can re-watch the webinar above, review the webinar resources handout, or reach out to Gelardin if you’re interested in getting started in podcasting.

They also shared several student examples, which you can listen to here:

As you can see (or rather hear), podcasting can be used in a variety of different disciplines and educational settings. But there were a number of questions during the podcast that this blog post will address in more detail.

I don’t know how to use any of the technology involved in podcasting; what do I do?

That’s fine! Through Gelardin, faculty can can arrange for one-on-one consultations to learn more about podcasting, schedule a multimedia instruction session for their students, and register for “open” workshops to learn more about the nuts and bolts of podcasting.

Are there any resources that specifically address podcasting in a foreign language classroom?

We don’t have anything developed specifically for foreign language classroom, but there are academic studies that show their effectiveness. If you are interested in incorporating podcasting into your foreign language class, please get in touch with CNDLS for pedagogical and with Gelardin for technical help; we will work with you to see how podcasting can work for your students.

How do we assess podcasts? Can you share rubrics?

The Georgetown Writing Program has pulled together a guide of best practices when it comes to assigning and assessing multimodal and multimedia assignments, which includes podcasting. Gelardin has also developed a sample syllabus to help you get started. You can make a copy of it for yourself and modify it as appropriate for your specific podcasting assignment.

Podcasting seems like a lot of work for the students. How do I ensure that they are staying on-task?

Gelardin once again has you covered. They have developed comprehensive guide for audio and podcasting projects, including addressing guidelines for pre-production, production, post-production, and copyright. Scaffolding is the best way to check in with your students during the entire process, with milestones at each step, and opportunities for feedback and revision.

We at CNDLS and at Gelardin are excited to work with you on your ideas for incorporating podcasting into your teaching. Reach out to us with any questions you might have!

Final Digital Learning Webinar of the Year: Canvas & Learning Analytics

Digital Learning Webinar: Canvas & Learning Analytics

Digital Learning Webinar: Canvas & Learning Analytics

Digital Learning Webinar: Canvas & Learning Analytics

On Thursday, April 25th from 12:00 – 1:00pm, online via Zoom, CNDLS will be concluding our first Digital Learning Webinar Series with our final session of the academic year, Canvas & Learning Analytics.

This webinar will introduce faculty to Canvas course analytics, beginning with an overview of the analytics features available, followed by use cases from current faculty courses.  Facilitators will recommend ways to use Canvas course analytics effectively, and provide specific examples and solutions to common faculty questions. Join us on remotely via Zoom to learn more about your students’ course engagement!

We invite you to register for this webinar today!  Can’t make it? Don’t worry – the presentation portion of the webinar will be recorded and made available on the CNDLS website at a later date.

This is the final installment of our inaugural Digital Learning Webinar Series, exploring the use of different technologies that enhance teaching and learning.

If you’re interested in reviewing our other webinars from this academic year, you can find the session recordings and corresponding resources on our blog:

We look forward to engaging with you! In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us with any questions.

Digital Learning Webinar Series: Canvas Tips & Tricks Recording

On Thursday, February 28th, 2018, Academic Technology and Internet Development Coordinator Brian Boston and Online Course Coordinator Kylie McGraw delivered the first Georgetown University Digital Learning Webinar of 2019, “Tips and Tricks for Managing Canvas & Enhancing Your Course.” You can re-watch the webinar below as well as view the slides.

This blog post will address some of the questions asked during the webinar that needed a little extra explanation.

What’s the best way to share class notes in the Module or Page layouts?

There are a number of options to share your class notes from a different platform and ensure that your they are properly formatted in Canvas. Typically, you would create a page where you are copying and pasting from another document (Word or Google Docs, for example). Because the formatting in a program like Word is different than the formatting used in Canvas, you may have to use the formatting bar in the Canvas Page at the top of the text box to reformat your content:

screenshot of the text formatting options in the Canvas Rich Content Editor

Screenshot of the text formatting options in the Canvas Rich Content Editor

You can also add a file directly to Canvas using the Content Selector. For example, upload a Word file directly into Canvas for students to access and download. You can do the same with a  PDF file and it will automatically preview on the page you are creating.

Finally, you can insert a link to an external file (e.g., a Google Doc) using the Rich Content Editor or add a link as an external URL to a Module.  For instance, if you plan on making revisions to your syllabus throughout the semester, linking to it may make more sense.

Can the announcement be saved and sent later?  

Yes! Instructure, the company that makes Canvas, has produced a helpful video showing you exactly how to do that! Please note that the announcement will appear in your list of announcements, but students won’t be able to see it until the date/time you’ve selected.

How can create a surprise or pop quiz in Canvas if a student is notified automatically as soon as I create a quiz and thus create a new column in the gradebook?

This is a tricky question, although you aren’t the first person to ask if an instructor can do this in Canvas. One issue is that students control what notifications they receive from Canvas. But regardless, a column will show up in their Gradebook, as well as a notice on their calendar. The best option is to create the quiz but not publish it until you are ready for your students to see it. For a quick breakdown of what you can do in Quizzes, check out Instructure’s getting started guide, which also has instructions further down the page on publishing and unpublishing the quiz.

What is the default viewing for Assignments uploaded to Canvas in the Gradebook?  Can I hide or unhide them?

When you grade an assignment, the default is that the student can see their grade right away. However, there might be cases where you want to grade all assignments and release grades to students at one time. Then, you would mute the assignment before you start grading, and unmute the assignment when all grades have been entered.

From the presentation, it seems like Canvas is basically for faculty. As support staff, where do I come in?

While Canvas is mainly used by faculty and students for course sites, staff who are assisting with a course may be added to the Canvas site in one of various roles by an instructor. Georgetown staff may also request a Canvas organization site (e.g., for a department, campus committee, etc.) or be added to an organization site as a participant.

Need assistance with Canvas? Access direct 24-hour / 7-days-a-week support from Instructure from within Canvas.  Instructure also provides robust documentation on the Canvas Community site. See also the Georgetown Canvas Support Site which lists upcoming training opportunities and a number of faculty resources, such as Getting Started with Canvas videos and the GU Canvas Guides.

Bringing Engelhard to the Georgetown Graduate Community

Seniha Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana

The students enrolled in Seniha Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana’s (Conflict Resolution) Conflict Resolution Theory course are not only part of the first set of students to take a graduate-level Engelhard course, but they are also part of the next generation of peace builders. Some of them might work as facilitators for community dialogues between Kurds and Iraqis. Others might work at local NGOs in Colombia, helping to facilitate art-based trauma healing initiatives for children after the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia). These students often work closely with extremely vulnerable populations—sometimes alongside people who have experienced the traumas of human trafficking, genocide, or gender-based violence.

Because they are frequently affected by secondhand trauma in these contexts—and sometimes experience their own trauma—Kadayifci-Orellana believes in the importance of infusing wellness into the class so that all first year students can begin to build resiliency and develop healthy coping mechanisms. In the course, Kadayifci-Orellana asks students to learn the conceptual frameworks behind a variety of different conflict resolution theories, one of which is conflict transformation theory. “Conflict transformation theory states that as peace builders we are to take care of the world, but in order to take care of the world you have to take care of yourself,” says Kadayifci-Orellana.

Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) staff psychologist Engin Ontiveros paired up with Kadayifci-Orellana to design an exercise to help students build emotional preparedness and resiliency. During Ontiveros’ visit, students considered their personal signs of stress, practiced healthy forms of coping, and constructed wellness plans to prepare them for long-term engagement in their chosen realm of conflict resolution. While some students were initially hesitant to talk openly about these personal issues, they later expressed how useful and beneficial they found Ontiveros’ visit to be.

Noting that she is working with a generation that is often reluctant to talk vulnerably with their peers about their feelings, Kadayifci-Orellana thinks the most important takeaway is that students come to realize they don’t have to be strong all the time. Partnering with the Engelhard Project helped Kadayifci-Orellana’s students understand both the validity of their feelings and also how to support their own wellness. She has reinforced to her students the critical importance of taking care of themselves in addition to the communities they work with. And yet, the biggest benefit is still to come, according to Kadayifci-Orellana: “When students are actually working in the field— that’s when it really clicks for most people,” she shared.

Working with the Project was a natural fit, Kadayifci-Orellana said, because it created a space to begin to build resiliency, healthy coping mechanisms, and open dialogue among her students about what they may experience in the field. However, future fieldwork isn’t the only thing she’s concerned about when it comes to her students, who are also learning to balance their busy lives with graduate coursework. “In addition to work and field-related stress, they are just coming of an age to find their way in the workplace and in life, so taking care of our master’s students is also very important for me,” says Kadayifci-Orellana.

Through her partnership with Engelhard, Kadayifci-Orellana is actively helping her students cultivate balance in their own lives, so they can be effective, compassionate, and balanced partners in resolving some of the most pressing challenges. If you’re interested in working with or learning more about the Engelhard Project, please visit our website or send us an email at engelhardproject@georgetown.edu.

Audio & Podcasting Projects: Getting Started with Tech and Assignment Design

Student wearing headphones with laptop displaying powerpoint presentation

Student wearing headphones with laptop displaying powerpoint presentation

Student wearing headphones with laptop displaying powerpoint presentation

On Thursday, March 28th from 12:00 – 1:00pm, online via Zoom, CNDLS is pleased to continue our Digital Learning Webinar Series with Audio & Podcasting Projects: Getting Started with Tech and Assignment Design.

Two of our Learning Design Specialists will demonstrate unique ways to incorporate podcasts and audio assignments into your course design.

Join us on remotely via Zoom to learn how audio projects provide unique opportunities for student engagement and creativity, and learn approaches to designing and implementing these assessment techniques into your curriculum.

We invite you to register for this webinar today!  Can’t make it? Don’t worry – the presentation portion of the webinar will be recorded and made available on the CNDLS website.

This is the fifth installment of our Digital Learning Webinar Series, exploring the use of different technologies that enhance teaching and learning.

We hope you’ll continue to join us this semester for our final webinar of the academic year:

April 25: Canvas and Learning Analytics

We look forward to engaging with you! In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us with any questions.

Teach the Speech: David Molk (Performing Arts) Uses Dr. King’s Speech to Teach Music Sampling with a Social Justice Lens

MLK, Jr.

MLK, Jr.

Photo Credit: Blue Moonbeam Studio

David Molk (Performing Arts) recently published his insights on why it’s important for academia to engage students in social justice work in and out of the classroom in his article, “Ghosts in the Machine: Sampling Dr. King,” published in Sounding Out!. In the article, Molk shares how he incorporated selected speeches by Dr. King in his classroom as part of Georgetown’s Let Freedom Ring! Initiative, and the CNDLS/CSJ collaboration “Teach the Speech.” As a music professor, Molk believes “Abstract music theory is important, but music theory combined with a social awareness is vital.” Last year, for example, Molk welcomed discussion about the lack of representation for women and people of color in the music industry, and the social media movement of #GrammysSoWhite that resulted.

This past year, Molk used Dr. King’s speech as a framework for teaching students sample-based composition, and provided space for students to engage in critical discussion and to ask questions about the relationships among music, moral dilemmas, and society. He shared how he  used a recording of Dr. King delivering “I Have Been to The Mountaintop” as part of a model on sampling for his “DJing and Production” course and asked students to be creative in dissecting parts of Dr. King’s speech to create their music. The result was a deeper engagement with what Molk refers to as “crucial lines of moral inquiry,”—or, when students push beyond the surface of a particular discipline or topic and begin to consider social and cultural implications within a social justice lens. It’s work that Molk believes we all must do, particularly in academia.

You can read the rest of Molk’s article here, and also learn more about the Teach the Speech event from this January on our blog. Additionally, on Saturday, February 23 from 6:00-8:00pm in the Copley Formal Lounge, join The Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching & Service for the MLK Evening of Hope and Resistance.

Announcing the Spring 2019 CNDLS TEL Colloquium Cohort

TEL Instructor

CNDLS is pleased to announce the Spring 2019 CNDLS TEL Colloquium cohort, “Designing for Context: Approaches to Blended Learning.” Thirteen faculty and one librarian from 12 departments and five different schools (Georgetown College, Walsh School of Foreign Service, McCourt School of Public Policy, School of Continuing Studies, and School of Medicine) are participating in the cohort. The Colloquium participants began meeting in February to explore topics in technology-enhanced learning (TEL), and they will continue to meet for the next six months as they design and develop individual projects centered on blended learning. Congratulations to this impressive group!

Spring 2019 CNDLS TEL Colloquium Cohort:

Ifedapo Adeleye | Human Resource Management
Ghayda Al Ali | Arabic and Islamic Studies
Kasey Christopher | Biology
Francesco Ciabattoni | Italian
Robert Glazer | Oncology and Pharmacology
Linda Green | Biology
Topher Lawton | University Library
Bokyung Mun | East Asian Languages and Culture
Rebecca Patterson | Security Studies
Mark Rom | Government
Phil Sandick | English
Kumi Sato | East Asian Languages and Culture
Fr. Christian Wagner | School of Foreign Service
Holly Wise | Global Human Development

Digital Learning Webinar Series Continues: Tips and Tricks for Managing Canvas

On Thursday, February 28th from 12:00 – 1:00pm, online via Zoom, CNDLS is pleased to continue our Digital Learning Webinar Series with our spring kickoff, Tips and Tricks for Managing Canvas & Enhancing Your Course.

Are you an existing Canvas user that’s looking for ways to navigate the platform more efficiently?  Or are you interested in finding new ways to engage your students? Our facilitators will walk you through some of Canvas’ hidden features, highlighting options to enhance students’ learning experience and make online course management a breeze.  

We invite you to register for this webinar today!  Can’t make it? Don’t worry – the presentation portion of the webinar will be recorded and made available on the CNDLS website.

This is the fourth installment of our Digital Learning Webinar Series, exploring the use of different technologies that enhance teaching and learning.

We hope you’ll continue to join us throughout the spring semester for our final two webinars of the year:

  • March 28: Audio and Podcasting Projects: Getting Started with Tech and Assignment Design
  • April 25: Canvas and Learning Analytics

We hope that you will join us! In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us with any questions.


Biology Faculty Continue PODS Work with Project Fostering Quantitative Literacy in Biology Majors

The 2019 PODS call for participants is currently open.

The 2019 PODS call for participants is currently open.

The 2019 PODS call for participants is currently open.

In the summer of 2018, Georgetown’s Biology Department found the roots of quantitative aptitude in a potentially surprising place: writing aptitude.

That summer, members of the Biology department convened a Productive Open Design Space (PODS) group, led by Teaching Professor Manus Patten, as part of CNDLS’ annual Teaching, Learning & Innovation Summer Institute (TLISI). They aren’t alone in their pursuits; each year multiple groups of faculty and staff apply to form PODS teams to pursue projects that can more easily come together with concentrated time and collective effort. The goal of the Biology faculty in this group was to design a framework for fostering quantitative literacy in biology majors—or, as they called it, Quantitative Reasoning in the Discipline (QuID). PODS and TLISI gave them the space and time to do it.

A few years prior to the creation of PODS, a number of Biology faculty, including Patten, who were concerned about the quality of writing they were seeing in graduating student theses, had come together to articulate guidelines for Writing in the Discipline (WID). In Patten’s words, they “tried to inject [a focus on writing and writing instruction] at certain places in the curriculum, tried to say what we expect at each level.” That, in turn, led to faculty paying more attention to writing and approaching it more intentionally, with learning goals in mind, “and after that point we saw an improvement in student writing.”

When Biology faculty came together again for TLISI 2018 with an analogous concern—problems with quantitative/mathematical literacy in student theses—the hope was that they could successfully use the same approach to this issue that they did with writing. The first task of the group during the intensive PODS week was clarification: “We spent all morning over coffee and snacks provided by CNDLS deciding this particular thing….It took a couple of days to figure out exactly what QuID looks like.” After some discussion the group outlined four competencies they wanted to foster in their students: Basic Skills of Numeracy, Calculation, and Visualization; Computation; Statistics and Data Analysis; and Modeling and Abstraction. Then, in another step analogous to what they did when tackling writing, they articulated, for each competency, three levels of increasing mastery, with the goal of guiding students through these levels during their time in the major. For example, one skill under the umbrella of the Computation competency involves databases. Students are expected first to be familiar with databases and to practice extracting data from them; next they need to become “an intelligent consumer” of databases; and, finally, they are expected to be able to create their own.

The first expectations fall on the faculty, of course. This work, according to Patten, “helped us when we were figuring out how to revamp our Foundations course, our sophomore-level courses….People in the intro and mid-level courses will be a little more thoughtful about what they can do, what they should do.” And the effects of the PODS experience have gone beyond being more deliberate about teaching quantitative reasoning in Biology. “It’s fun to get the faculty together to focus on teaching for a little while,” Patten says. “We have a shared task and we’re trying to do that, but we’re also doing other things. You end up learning things you wouldn’t have known.”

The effects of this QuID pedagogical project are still unfolding, and will be for some time. Patten’s view: “It’ll take two or three years, but I hope we’ll see senior theses and we’ll say, ‘Hey, that was pretty sophisticated quantitative reasoning.”

This year’s PODS will take place at TLISI May 20 – 23, 2019. Our applications for PODS are now open, and we invite all faculty and staff at Georgetown to consider applying. For more information, please visit the TLISI website.