Georgetown Faculty in the TEL Colloquium Develop Blended Learning Projects For Their Classes

In Spring 2018, CNDLS introduced a new cohort experience open to Georgetown faculty—the Technology-Enhanced Learning Colloquium. The TEL Colloquium offers a venue for faculty to explore educational technologies and discuss the nuances of using technology in teaching and learning. With the annual theme of Approaches in Blended Learning, the 2018 TEL Colloquium aims to support faculty in integrating digital technologies with traditional, in-person instruction. Over the course of monthly sessions spread throughout the calendar year, the program gives faculty the opportunity to explore topics in technology-enhanced learning and approaches to blended teaching with the support of CNDLS staff and an interdisciplinary group of their peers. In addition to collaborative exploration of tools, technologies, and pedagogical approaches, faculty in the cohort also develop their own individual blended learning projects to implement in their classes. This past June, a second TEL Colloquium in Blended Learning cohort launched.

The Spring 2018 cohort of 14 faculty members—representing four schools and 11 disciplines—met for a day-long session at the 2018 Teaching, Learning, and Innovation Summer Institute (TLISI) in May to present on the status of their projects. Below we’ve shared a sampling of a few of the faculty’s projects, representing both the disciplinary diversity and the variety of approaches Colloquium participants are taking in their courses.

Becca Tarsa (English) teaches sections of the introductory Writing and Culture course on the theme of discourse in digital and social media. In a previous iteration of the class, she asked students to critically examine their own self-presentation on various social media platforms to share with the class, but found that students heavily self-censored their feeds and ultimately did not experience the depth of learning she had hoped for. She intends to replace this project with one in which students will instead analyze how discourse functions within a community on the web, such as a wiki collecting information about a specific video game or a message board for people with a shared hobby. She’ll then have her students create a multimedia “tour” of that community using VoiceThread, a tool that will allow students to take video of themselves narrating the tour, which other students in the class can view and comment upon outside of class. Her goal is to teach students about peer review and the revision process, considering audience in their writing, and the principles of multimedia composition.

Yumi Jarris (Family Medicine) oversees a population health curriculum in the School of Medicine. Unlike a traditional undergraduate curriculum, the content she and her fellow faculty teach is spread throughout the four years of medical school. Jarris hopes to create an online version of a one-hour lecture she gives early in the program on the social determinants of health, using Panopto to record the lecture, having students fill out pre- and post-lecture surveys linked in Canvas, and incorporating exercises like quizzes, polls, and interactive infographics. She also hopes to create an online version of an in-class exercise in which she has students brainstorm explanations for why two different individuals might have vastly different life expectancies. Lastly, she intends to script and record an example of a doctor-patient interaction in which the doctor screens for food insecurity. These resources will help Jarris maximize the time she has with the students and allow them to return to the materials for a refresher during the long stretches in which they do not meet.

Greg Afinogenov (History) has found in his Introduction to Russian History courses that many students struggle to relate what they’re learning to their own life experiences. Students enter the course with a wide range of comfort levels with writing lengthy research papers, and Afinogenov finds that helping students who are unfamiliar with that process is very time consuming, while those who have more experience writing research papers don’t learn as much from the assignment as they otherwise could from an assignment that was more creative. As a result, Afingenov is hoping to incorporate Omeka—a free, open-source web-publishing platform that allows students to create digital displays of art, artifacts, and other objects—into his classes. After creating a low-stakes test exhibit, students will select an object from Russian history of interest to them and write a description and compose metadata for it; all of the students objects will be exhibited virtually at the end of the semester. He hopes this assignment will generate more interest in and help students connect with the material culture of the period they’re studying.

Members of this cohort will continue to meet throughout the Fall to work on the implementation of their projects in conjunction with CNDLS staff. Click here to see a list of all of the current TEL Colloquium cohort members, and contact us if you have any questions about the TEL Colloquium.