Announcing Digital Learning Days: Building with Canvas

Faculty gathered around a laptop using Canvas

Faculty gathered around a laptop using Canvas

Are you interested in learning new ways to engage students with Canvas, Georgetown’s learning management system? Are you looking for an opportunity to build your fall course sites in Canvas with support from others?

The Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS) is excited to announce Building with Canvas, our first Digital Learning Days event on August 6 and August 20 from 11 am to 3:30 pm in Car Barn 315, Main Campus.

Whether you are a new or experienced Canvas user, we invite you to join us one or both days to explore pedagogical approaches for using Canvas and to spend hands-on time applying what you learn to your own course sites. We will provide you with space, support, and food to help you get prepared for the upcoming semester.  

Our programming schedule is as follows:

  • 11:00-11:30 am: Welcome, CNDLS staff introductions
  • 11:30 am-12:30 pm: Topic table discussions
  • 12:30-1:00 pm: Lunch (provided)
  • 1:00-3:15 pm: Build-a-Course Workshop
  • 3:15-3:30 pm: Conclusion

To begin the program each day participants will join a discussion on a topic related to pedagogy and Canvas. It will be an opportunity to sit with peers and CNDLS staff to discuss, learn, and get inspiration. 

Participants will choose one of the following Building with Canvas topics to discuss:

  • Building Your Course: This discussion at this table will focus on the options for creating and organizing your course in Canvas, including using Pages and Modules.
  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Accessibility: To teach effectively, you have to reach your students, students who come to the classroom with varied backgrounds, expectations, abilities, and learning styles. This understanding is at the heart of the philosophy of practice known as universal design for learning (UDL). This table will discuss the pedagogical purpose of incorporating UDL, as well as share strategies. 
  • Digital Assignments: Come join this table if you are curious about incorporating different types of projects and assignments for students that meet your courses learning goals and engage students in creative and compelling ways through Canvas. 
  • Assessment Strategies: From rubrics to Canvas Analytics, this table will discuss the various ways you can work with your students succeed by applying the appropriate assessment strategy.
  • Creating and Using Multimedia Resources: Canvas allows for us to enhance our courses using a variety of multimedia. Whether you want to produce your own content or incorporate existing content, this table will help you decide when and how to best use multimedia resources.

After lunch, participants will apply their knowledge and new ideas for engaging students in a hands-on Build-a-Course Workshop in which CNDLS staff will provide one-on-one assistance. University Information Services (UIS) staff will also be available to answer questions, including how to migrate content from Blackboard to Canvas.

Register for Digital Learning Days

Can’t join us in-person, or want to learn about multiple topic areas?  Don’t worry!  Facilitators will share handouts with in-person attendees, and all registrants will be emailed a link to a follow-up blog post (right here on the Prospect Blog) that includes all of the shared resources from both days of programming.

Questions about the event? Please reach out to

For more information about Canvas, including training resources and how to get help, please visit the GU Canvas Support Site. For faculty needing assistance moving or archiving their Blackboard course content, UIS provides Canvas migration support office hours.

You can also check out our Getting Started with Canvas videos or revisit our webinar on Canvas Tips and Tricks

Summer Reading List: Inclusive Teaching

The summer is a great time to do some reflection and planning in preparation for the fall semester. In the spirit of supporting your fall prep efforts, we are excited to share a mid-summer reading list with you. 

This July, we’re sharing our favorite books on inclusive teaching and hope you’ll consider spending some time reading one (or more) of them. We encourage you to share your thoughts with us about any one of these books by using the hashtag #CNDLSSummerReading and tagging us (@cndls) on Facebook and Twitter. 

If you’re on Georgetown’s campus, feel free to drop by our office (Car Barn 314) and check out a book from our CNDLS Library (We have copies of Teaching to Transgress and Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race)

You can also find inclusive pedagogy resources on our website. And as usual, if we can help, please reach out to us at


W. Carson Byrd (editor),  Rachelle J. Brunn-Bevel (editor),  Sarah M. Ovink (editor) – Intersectionality and Higher Education: Identity and Inequality on College Campuses

Intersectionality and Higher Education: Identity and Inequality on College Campuses is a collection of essays examining how intersecting identities of race, gender, age, ability, nationality, sexuality and sexual orientation impact the college campus experience. It presents a range of perspectives from undocumented students, to the difference between undergraduate and graduate students as well as the experiences of faculty and staff from varying socioeconomic backgrounds. The collection provides an approach for higher education institutions to support all of its students, staff and faculty.


Anthony Jack – Privileged Poor

Students from low-economic and low resourced backgrounds are enrolling in elite universities across the country, but these universities are struggling to understand and assist disadvantaged students in truly feeling welcomed on campus. In The Privileged Poor, Jack draws on interviews with undergraduate students at a prominent American university to illustrate differences in how students from low economic backgrounds experience campus culture and policies and how those differences impact their success.



Beverly Tatum – Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race

CNDLS 2018 Plenary Speaker, President Emerita of Spelman College, author, and educator Beverly Tatum writes about racial and ethical divides in Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race. She brings diverse perspectives to the forefront, illustrating racial identity development and encourages readers to engage in meaningful conversations about race. 



bell hooks – Teaching to Transgress

Writer and teacher bell hooks writes in Teaching to Transgress how educators’ most important goal is to teach students the kind of freedom that comes after learning how to transgress against socially constructed boundaries. hooks provokes readers to consider methods for combating racism and sexism and the growing multicultural classroom.




Others on Our List 


Announcing the 2019-2020 CNDLS TEL Colloquium – Statements of Interest Due July 31!

2019-2020 TEL Colloquium Announcement

CNDLS is pleased to announce the next iteration of our Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) Colloquium, focusing on Approaches to Blended Learning.

What is the TEL Colloquium?

The 2019-2020 TEL Colloquium — an eight-month, hands-on experience — provides an opportunity for faculty to join a small group of colleagues in face-to-face monthly meetings to explore topics in technology-enhanced learning, while designing and implementing their own individual projects. Participants will explore a range of pedagogical approaches to blended learning (sometimes referred to as flipped, hybrid, or mixed-mode learning), and will engage with various strategies and tools to integrate traditional in-class learning with learning beyond the classroom. This theme–approaches to blended learning–allows for diverse project proposals in terms of discipline, process, and scope, while remaining under the broad umbrella of TEL. Participants will be asked to design, implement, and assess their TEL project by the end of their participation in the cohort. You can learn more about past TEL Colloquium participants and their projects on our website.

Format & Timeline

The colloquium is designed as a primarily face-to-face program, with faculty attending monthly studio design sessions to discuss and learn ways to implement blended learning techniques into your course design. Faculty, facilitators, graduate assistants, designers, and learning technologists will guide participants through the design process, and offer opportunities for feedback from fellow colloquium members. An online Canvas course is used to host resources and interactive activities to model good practices in the field of blended learning.

The TEL Colloquium will kickoff in September 2019 and culminate with faculty presentations and a daylong workshop at CNDLS’ annual Teaching, Learning, & Innovation Summer Institute (TLISI) in May 2020. A final report will be due in January 2021, following implementation of the projects designed during the Colloquium.


Participants will receive a $2,000 stipend for full participation in the Colloquium, including attending monthly meetings, engaging with colleagues in an online environment, designing and implementing a TEL project, and participating in a daylong workshop during TLISI.


Full-time Georgetown faculty (tenure- and non-tenure line) are invited to apply.

To Participate

Apply to participate in the 2019-2020 TEL Colloquium by submitting a Statement of Interest.  Accepted faculty members will be contacted prior to the start of the academic year. We hope you’ll consider joining us!


Let us know!  Please reach out to with any questions you may have.

Incarceration and Education: Professor Marc Howard on Georgetown’s Prison and Justice Initiative

Marc Howard onstage with students, Halim Flowers and Sekwan Merritt, at TLISI 2019

Marc Howard onstage with students, Halim Flowers and Sekwan Merritt, at TLISI 2019

In 1988, on the first day of his senior year of high school, Professor Marc Howard (Government and Law, Director of the Prison and Justice Initiative) awoke to the news that the parents of his best friend since age three, Marty Tankleff, had been murdered in their own home. By that same evening, Tankleff was arrested. And by the subsequent summer, Tankleff was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison—even though the physical evidence at the scene didn’t corroborate Tankleff’s involvement in the crime. In the 1990s fewer people talked about wrongful convictions and so although Howard believed in his friend’s innocence from day one, he felt helpless in the face of a criminal justice system which swiftly swept Tankleff up and carted him away. Howard was forced to go on with his life, attending college at Yale University—today the two make the joke that “Marc went to Yale, Marty went to jail.” 

Nearly a decade later, the two childhood friends reconnected. Howard began to write letters to Tankleff and those letters soon turned into frequent phone calls and visits to Tankleff in prison. With a renewed determination to prove Tankleff’s innocence, Howard dedicated his time to trying to find loopholes and cracks in the case with the hopes of getting his friend out from behind bars.

In 2003, Howard began working at Georgetown University. He audited a course in criminal justice that sparked his desire to seek justice for the wrongfully convicted, and so he went on to pursue a law degree at Georgetown Law. Ironically, in the 19th appeal, Tankleff was exonerated from the crime he did not commit and released from jail 6,338 days after first incarcerated—and merely days before Howard began his first year of law school. While his friend was now free, Howard was well aware that there were many other people like Tankleff who were sitting behind bars for crimes they didn’t commit. From the racial disparities in the composition of jails, to the inequities of the system of parole, to mandatory minimums, to the physical and social conditions of prisons, to the limited options for re-entry that the formerly incarcerated faced, Howard’s career trajectory shifted to examining the system of incarceration in the US and helping those impacted by incarceration.

Professor Marc Howard at 2019 TLISI Plenary Professor Marc Howard presenting at the 2019 TLISI plenary.

Howard’s work in criminal justice at Georgetown continued, and during the 2014-2015 academic year he was a Doyle Faculty Fellow through CNDLS’ Doyle Program where he redesigned his GOVT 219: Prisons and Punishment course. The course asked students to analyze issues of the US’s criminal justice system through the lens of race. Through the Doyle Program, Howard restructured his course to more thoroughly engage with and center race in the course. For example, Howard expanded upon the course’s exploration of (histories of) race and incorporated documentaries, guest speakers, and a field trip to a local prison into the curriculum to better accomplish his learning objectives for the course.  

Today, Howard is Professor of Government and Law and the founding Director of the Prison and Justice Initiative at Georgetown University. Launched in 2016, the Prison and Justice Initiative was created to make space to bring together scholars, practitioners, faculty, and students to critically examine and think through mass incarceration. Now in its third year, the Prison and Justice initiative runs a variety of programs.

In January, 2018, the Prison and Justice Initiative launched the Georgetown Prison Scholars Program at the DC jail. The idea? To use Georgetown’s vast resources to provide educational opportunities for a cohort of men and women incarcerated in the DC jail to attend non-credit bearing courses, taught by Georgetown faculty. Faculty taught courses in subjects ranging from English to music to debate to government. Many of these courses, called “inside-outside” courses brought Georgetown undergraduate students to the DC jails to learn alongside the incarcerated students as part of their curriculum. This makes the Georgetown Prison Scholars Program the only coeducational prison education program in the nation. Just two semesters later, in fall 2018, thanks to a generous gift from donors, two of the courses taught at the DC jail per semester are offered as credit bearing courses—meaning that Georgetown’s incarcerated students are earning college credit which will count towards a college degree upon their release. 

The Prison and Justice Initiative also launched the Morca-Georgetown Paralegal Program, a program designed to train highly experienced and formerly incarcerated people to work as paralegals. Launched in October of 2018, the initial cohort of fellows are currently working as paralegals throughout the DC metro area. 

During Howard’s plenary presentation, Howard brought two formerly incarcerated men—Halim Flowers and Sekwan Merritt—on stage with him. These two men, released from prison in 2019 and 2017 respectively, are two of Howard’s best students ever. Both of these men participated in the Prison & Justice Initiative’s programs while behind bars. Today, Flowers is an Echoing Green Fellow to develop his project Unchained Media Collective, a project which seeks to empower currently and formerly incarcerated people to amplify their voices and experiences through multimedia storytelling. Merritt, a graduate of the Morca-Georgetown Paralegal Program, now works full-time as a paralegal for Arnold and Porter in DC, runs a contracting business on the side, and is a leading voice in criminal justice reform. Flowers and Merritt are the very embodiment of the power of prison education, Howard says. 

Howard and Tankleff co-teach a course at Georgetown where they work with a group of Georgetown undergraduate students to examine, what they believe to be, wrongful convictions. The staggering statistic that exonerates, collectively, have spent a total of more than 20,000 years in prison for crimes they didn’t commit motivates Howard and Tankleff to work with students to examine—and hopefully overturn—these cases. 

While the rates of incarceration in this country are high—with 2.3 million Americans in prisons or jails, another four million on probation, and yet another million people under parole—Howard points out that 95% of people currently behind bars will eventually be released and returned to society. Our task, then, is to think about what kinds of people and community members we want them to be, Howard says. The single most determinative factor of success upon reentry is education while incarcerated. One higher education course while someone is incarcerated reduces recidivism by an astonishing 43%. “When you treat people with respect and humanity they will not go back to a life of crime,” says Howard.

To view the full recording of Howard’s presentation at this year’s Teaching, Learning, and Innovation Summer Institute (TLISI), as well as presentations from our other plenary speakers, please visit the TLISI web page.


2019 TLISI Plenary: Bryan Alexander Predicts the Future of Higher Education

Bryan Alexander is show here presenting at the 2019 TLISI Plenary

Bryan Alexander is show here presenting at the 2019 TLISI Plenary

When we discuss the future of higher education, we typically address it as a singular project, starting from the recognizable trends in the present and predicting what will happen next. Georgetown professor, writer, and world-renowned futurist Bryan Alexander (Learning, Design & Technology), on the other hand, discussed the many possible futures of higher education at his May 22 plenary at the 2019 Teaching, Learning and Innovation Summer Institute (TLISI) titled “The New Academy: Trends For Future American Universities.” As the title of his session suggests, the futures of American higher education institutions challenge what we see today as the space of the “university,” who occupies that space and the classroom activities students pursue while in that space. All in all, Alexander revealed that the university in the next 50 years will look very different from the space where we work today, and he piqued his audience’s curiosity about the things we can start doing now to get ready for the future of higher education.

Alexander’s plenary spanned many different areas of the university, from faculty interaction with students to admissions and everything in between, but the changes we can expect for tomorrow’s higher education system fell into roughly three axes: globalization, changing demographics, and developing technologies.

Bryan Alexander is shown presenting from a podium while a slide deck is projected behind him. Bryan Alexander presents at the 2019 TLISI plenary.

The first big change coming to higher ed, he projects, is the evolving globalized economy that changes who attends the university. As Alexander pointed out, developing countries are growing in population, and the majority of their population are younger than the age of 50 years. That means that for American higher education to reach new markets, it must engage with students in developing countries and the Global South, and for this reason Alexander points to the growth of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and global, online campuses as one potential avenue to capitalize on the increasingly globalized world.

Although the potential for a more global student body complicates and energizes the future of the American university, demographic changes within the United States are also complex and will play a large part in how we administer higher education in the future. To start, while developing countries demonstrate younger populations, the population of the United States is gradually becoming older. The effect on higher ed will be that colleges and universities must appeal to older adults, many of whom already have jobs, who desire to gain new credentials and continue learning throughout their lives.

What’s more, as Alexander put it, young people who we picture as the “typical college undergraduate” are changing as well. For instance, the increasing income inequality in the United States along with rising tuition costs and financial aid debt makes for young students who are more scrupulous about what they study and more career-oriented than ever before. Because the pressure to secure a high-paying job following undergraduate studies hangs over the heads of our students, colleges will have to react by redeveloping disciplines in the humanities as students increasingly opt for careers in STEM.

Last, but certainly not least, new technologies will broaden the ways faculty and staff interact with students, from classroom practices to marketing to prospective students. One of the most immediate impacts on the delivery of classroom instruction is the transfer to mobile-first design, which basically means that new instructional materials are created for student interaction on mobile phones and tablets rather than on PCs or in-print. Instructional designers should do this for a number of reasons, Alexander explained, but the most compelling argument for mobile-first design is its accessibility to not only working students but also students with disabilities and other non-traditional student populations.

While mobile-first instructional design is here to stay, on the cutting-edge of educational technology is Artificial Intelligence (AI), and this emerging technology will have a tremendous impact on higher education in a number of ways. Within the walls of the university, (if we can still say that there are such things as walls), AI will allow students to study more efficiently and in more places than ever before. For example, a biology student of the future will not only be able to see cells through microscopes but also simultaneously use virtual reality simulators with AI to see and manipulate models of cell structures to get a closer look at the inner-workings of the cell. This is one potential future of education made possible by AI.

Another future, however, presents a far more bleak prospect for students and is perhaps one of the greatest challenges facing higher education. That is, with increasing automation and AI, what jobs will be available to college-graduates in the future, and how do we prepare students for those jobs? Alexander explained that this a particularly hard question to predict, but there are examples that point out that machines are already able to do what humans can do, sometimes performing even better than humans. Given that AI programs can already make poetry and understand it, capacities traditionally believed to be unique to humans, how do humanities faculty and students renegotiate their objectives and functions to stay out ahead of the robots? This question and other intriguing ones were left on the table by Alexander, but he did have one small piece of advice for those concerned about the future of higher education. That advice was to find what human skills and intelligences are irreplaceable and to teach to those so that graduates of the “Future American University” are not only the most competitive job applicants they can be, but also the best people possible.

To view the full recording from Alexander’s talk at TLISI and other talks from our plenary speakers, visit the TLISI web page.



Engelhard Conversation Series: Breaking Bread and Building Community

The rise, prominence, and accessibility of social media undoubtedly has changed the way we communicate. “People have very strong opinions about issues, but then they feel they can’t talk about those in person—so they connect over social media to discuss. But in doing that these conversations are not happening in a personal way. They don’t actually see the person they’re talking to. I think that has a major impact on how people engage in any conversation,” says Professor Jeanine Turner (Communication, Culture, and Technology).  

Today, we live in a highly mediated environment where people, on average, touch their phones more than 2,500 times per day. As such, Turner thinks that making time and space for in-person group discernment and reflection is imperative—and must be at the crux of a Jesuit education. Turner, who studies the impact of new media and a mediated environment on the ways in which people interact and converse with others, participated in the Teaching to Mission Engelhard Conversation Series this past fall.

The Engelhard Project launched the Engelhard Conversation Series in 2017 to consciously make the time and space for faculty from across campus to be in dialogue with one another. Each week over the course of the fall semester in Wolfington Hall, the home of Georgetown’s Jesuit community, a small group of faculty committed to breaking bread with one another at the dinner table. Guided by the book they all read, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin, the group discussed the work they do as teachers and mentors and how that work connects to Georgetown’s mission and values.

Turner said that Teaching to Mission presented her with the unique opportunity to connect with fellow faculty about topics other than curriculum and student issues. “It allowed us to address those kind of human issues that transcend all of these curricular issues. It really helped us to find common ground,” says Turner.

Faculty members who were part of the Engelhard Teaching to Mission Conversation Series enjoy dinner with Fr. Jerry Hayes

One of the more important pieces of the conversation series was the facilitation that Joan Riley (Human Science) and Fr. Jerry Hayes, S.J., (Mission and Ministry) provided which helped her and the other faculty participants feel at ease nearly instantaneously. “[I]t was such a welcoming space, and people felt immediately comfortable to share,” said Turner. More than a year later, the relationships that Turner built through the series are still special. “I have had the opportunity to grow closer to these people, and when I see them on campus that’s a special dimension that we share,” she said.

Other than the relationships with fellow faculty she created throughout the semester, for Turner, the most insight she gained through participating in the series was the need for faculty to regularly make time for discernment. Turner noted that we often talk a lot about the importance of discernment for students, but we sometimes forget that it is an important tool for everyone—faculty, staff, and administrators alike—to use. “What’s helpful about the dinners is that they invite colleagues from across the university to talk about teaching and discern about teaching and what that means… [I]n finding that common ground, then you are in a place to bridge to other topics that are more personal,” said Turner.

Of course, bridging to the personal necessitates building relationships and creating community. Social and invitational presence (terms that Turner uses in her own scholarship) mean being mentally and emotionally present in ways that invite dialogue and connection. The dinners, Turner shared, created these environments. “We need more contexts in our busy lives for people to have conditions of safety, value, and freedom. We often are in situations where people might say something you don’t agree with. You could even find the comment upsetting. But the only way you can resolve this dissonance is to have the conversation.” The recognition that occurs because of these, sometimes difficult, conversations is what makes them worthwhile and valuable.

Why should faculty participate in the Engelhard Conversation Series? It ultimately boils down to the value of group discernment, said Turner. “There is not a person in the world who doesn’t need to better understand how to discern and what better group than the Jesuit community and what better place than Georgetown for that? Discernment should be our core competence—it is our core competence—and if it is we need to all be able to model that.”

To find our more about the Engelhard Conversation Series, including fall 2019 dates, please email us—

Digital Learning Webinar Series Concludes with “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, we hosted our final Digital Learning Webinar of the 2018-2019 academic year. Yianna Vovides, Director of Learning Design and Research & Professor at CNDLS, and Marie Selvanadin, Senior Associate Director for Digital Learning and Development at CNDLS, talked about Canvas Analytics, what it is, and how you can use them.

You can re-watch the webinar in its entirety above as well as view the handout for the webinar at, but here we’re going to highlight some of the questions brought up during the webinar to further explore the answers.

What’s the difference between engagement and participation?

It’s easy to get the two concepts confused, especially in the context of the LMS. What Canvas Analytics can show you is an overview of what and how your students are doing in your course, as well as what and how individual students are doing with data that can help you discover the reasons why. For example, you can get a breakdown of how long students spent on a certain page, or what the average grade was for a certain assignment. This can allow you to make decisions around your course design with some data to back it up.

Participation is much more active; it’s commenting on Discussion Boards, doing digital annotations, answering questions in class, making value-added contributions. Canvas Analytics doesn’t provide that information, and it is up to you, the instructor, to make decisions around what forms of participation are meaningful to student learning in your course and evaluating them accordingly.

What are the ethics of all of this data collection? Is the information collected secure and remain private?

Instructors have been gathering data on students long before the LMS came along and automated much of it for us: taking attendance, giving participation grades, assignment assessments, pop quizzes, peer-review…these are all forms of data collection that we use to gage the progress of our students throughout the course of a semester. Data that we then use to make decisions about what we teach and how. For example, if a quiz shows that no one did the reading or that students are still struggling with a certain concept, then we make decisions as to how to address that gap.

What Canvas Analytics provides for us is more nuanced data to understand how our students are learning. With that comes (hopefully) a greater understanding of our students and our course, but also the moral imperative to act on that knowledge.

Having said that, of course there are new issues that arise when the information no longer simply lives in our paper gradebooks, but in a platform that lives in the cloud. One of the reasons that we selected Canvas as our LMS was because it does meet the privacy and security standards set forth by Georgetown and enshrined in laws like FERPA. Only the instructor of the course is privy to the analytics of their course, and it is protected like any other personal student information.

These are ongoing and evolving issues with education. It is important to have discussions with your colleagues and your students about the information collected. There are no easy answers, and what we come up with today as an answer may be irrelevant with the next technological advance. One excellent resource is this chapter, “The Ethical and Legal Implications of Information Systems,” and in it, the authors suggest developing your own code of ethics around these very issues and questions.

We at CNDLS are happy to have these conversations with you and your colleagues, as well as devise ways to use Canvas Analytics to improve your course. Please email us at to get the conversation started!

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

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.