Project Rebirth featured in Huffington Post interview

In an interview with Brad Listi of the Huffington Post, Jim Whitaker (Georgetown C’90), founder of Project Rebirth, says:

“About three years into the project, I realized the project might have the potential to help people in a meaningful way when it was completed. And after showing it to a group of academics at Georgetown University, we also discovered that there had never before been a long-term, filmed study of the effects of mass trauma and grief of this length and magnitude. So Columbia’s Center for New Media Teaching and Learning and Georgetown’s Center for New Designs in Learning & Scholarship have partnered to create the Project Rebirth Center for Trauma and Recovery in memory and support of 911 first-responders and future first-responders to natural and man-made disasters. The outgrowth of this center, which has been led by Project Rebirth’s Chairman of the Board, Brian Rafferty, has been incredibly gratifying. It’s given me an even greater sense of purpose in making the film.”

More information about CNDLS’ contribution to Project Rebirth can be found here. Look for updates on the Project Rebirth Learning Collaboratory soon.

Project Rebirth

On this 8th anniversary of September 11, 2001, we invite you to learn more about Project Rebirth, a documentary film directed by Jim Whitaker (Georgetown C’90) which chronicles the recovery of ten people coping with the aftermath of 9/11 and the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site.  In collaboration with Columbia University’s Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL), CNDLS is working to develop the Project Rebirth Educational Collaboratory, which will create a social learning environment for the study of the Project Rebirth footage.  The Collaboratory will bring together a diverse community of researchers, educators, and community-based practitioners working in a variety of disciplines, including psychology, linguistics, health, and film studies.

More information about Project Rebirth and the Educational Collaboratory can be found here.  A summary and video of a panel discussion among Columbia and Georgetown faculty about how they have incorporated Project Rebirth into their courses can be found here.

“No Time to Think”

CNDLS is pleased to announce that David Levy, Ph.D. will give a talk entitled “No Time to Think” on Wednesday, September 23rd at 3:00pm in Copley Formal Lounge.

A technologist by training and a professor in the Information School at the University of Washington, David will discuss his research on the effects of contemporary information technologies on work habits, attention spans, and the amount of time available for personal reflection and contemplation. David’s talk will explore why it is that we have “no time to think,” and what we can do about it, on individual, institutional, and societal levels.

For more background on David’s work, see this post by CNDLS’ Daryl Nardick about his research on students and technology.

Please join us for what promises to be a provocative discussion on a timely topic that affects all of us!

Students and recent grads: talk to us about learning!

CNDLS is working on a video for Fall Faculty Convocation which will include some statements from students about learning. We are asking Georgetown students and recent graduates to respond briefly to questions about learning, either by uploading a webcam video or by participating in an informal interview.

Some of the responses will be included in the convocation video, and others will be featured on our website or in other CNDLS videos. Participants will be eligible to win an iTunes gift card.

To upload a webcam video response, click here for instructions.

To participate in an interview on campus, look for us on Wednesday September 9, 1-3pm (Red Square) or Thursday September 10, 1-3pm  (look for us around campus).

Interview with Todd Olson

Georgetown Alumni Online recently published an interview with Todd Olson, Vice President for Student Affairs and an integral member of the Steering Committee of the Engelhard Project. In the interview, Olson discusses such topics as diversity, learning outside the classroom, and Georgetown’s Jesuit identity, and describes the Engelhard Project as “one of the most effective and most energizing partnerships that I’ve had a chance to be a part of on campus.”

Professor Frank Ambrosio Addresses Incoming Students

As last year’s winner of the Dorothy Brown award, Professor Frank Ambrosio (Philosophy) was asked to welcome incoming students at this year’s New Student Convocation on Sunday, August 30th.  (The Dorothy Brown award is given annually by the student body to the faculty member who has had the strongest impact on the students’ collegiate experience.)  In his brief address, Ambrosio, who collaborates with CNDLS on the MyDante project, explored the idea of a liberal arts education as “an education that liberates.” According to Ambrosio, “Liberal education frees questions from the constraint of answers that claim to be ‘good enough.’ It frees minds from the dogma of settled opinion and frees them for the reality of mystery.”

You can view a video of Ambrosio’s remarks here.

CNDLS Web 2.0 Experiments

CNDLS is researching innovative educational uses for a wide variety of Web 2.0 tools, including microblogging, social bookmarking, and data visualization tools.

For example, Georgetown Spanish students plot Che Guavara’s journey through Latin America using Google Earth; English MA thesis writers follow each other’s research using Yahoo! Pipes; and students at the University of Texas in Dallas share comments and questions via Twitter during history class.

Visit our Experiments blog for case studies, resources, and tips on how you might use these and other tools in the classroom, and watch for announcements of upcoming workshops on these topics. If you have ideas for future Web 2.0 experiments, please contact us.

2009-2010 Doyle Faculty Fellows Announced

CNDLS is pleased to announce the Faculty Fellows for the pilot year of the Doyle Initiative, which is designed to support and challenge Georgetown faculty seeking to foster active student engagement with difference and the diversity of human experience. These fellows have been meeting over the summer to share ideas with one another and with CNDLS staff as they develop strategies to integrate discussions of diversity and inclusion into their academic course material.  For more about this exciting new initiative and for further background on the curriculum infusion approach, see the Doyle Initiative page.

2009-2010 Doyle Faculty Fellows:

Shelly K. Habel, Sociology Department

Ronald P. Leow, Department of Spanish & Portuguese

Dana Luciano, English Department

James M. Mattingly, Philosophy Department

W. Gerrod Parrott, Psychology Department

Mark Carl Rom, Government Department and Georgetown Public Policy Institute

Heather M. Voke, Philosophy Department

Andria Wisler, Program on Justice and Peace

Jennifer Woolard, Psychology Department

“An Age of Composition”

In the following post, CNDLS Writer/Editor Theresa Schlafly explores questions about technology and students’ writing skills.

We are living in an “age of composition,” according to Florida State University Professor Kathleen Blake Yancey.  All of us, especially students, are constantly writing and publishing for different audiences and in different formats –  we are blogging, texting, emailing, crafting essays, and composing poetry. The ratio of formal to informal writing that students produce may be surprising: In Michael Wesch’s video “A Vision of Students Today,” a student in a large lecture classroom holds up notebook pages which read “I will write 42 pages for class this semester… and over 500 pages of email.”

Professors often view the informal writing that students do on their own as a distraction from their academic work – it’s easy to understand their aversion to these forms of writing when faced with students emailing during class or turning in essays riddled with abbreviations and spelling errors.  But might it be possible to teach students to connect these very different writing processes in a productive way?

While previous studies of student writing have only examined academic writing, a recent Stanford University study, described in this Chronicle article and also discussed in a recent Wired magazine column, explored all types of writing done by its subjects.  Academic opinions seem to vary widely on whether useful connections can be made between students’ informal and academic writing. Do blogging, emailing, and other types of online writing help develop students’ awareness of audience, tone, and voice? Or do these types of writing reinforce bad habits of disorganization, misspelling, and sloppy grammar?

Perhaps further research, such as this Stanford study or Georgetown’s Thresholds of Writing project, will shed light on these controversial questions. In the meantime, students will keep producing prolific quantities of informal writing, which Yancey exhorts us to “ignore… at our own peril.”