In December, CNDLS’ Eddie Maloney and Theresa Schlafly, along with Frank Ambrosio (Philosophy), traveled to Florence, Italy to present a paper on the MyDante and Ellipsis projects at a conference co-sponsored by the Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale, Minstero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, and the Library of Congress. More information on the conference, entitled “Empowering users: an active role for user communities,” can be found here.
In the following post, CNDLS Graduate Associate Lindsay Pettingill addresses the challenges of assessment in the digital age and shares a helpful resource.
More and more educators are integrating digital technologies into their teaching, finding new and diverse ways to reach out to students and enrich their learning experiences. Students are regularly tasked with assignments that differ widely from the traditional essay model, whether by contributing to a Digital Commons course blog, creating a multimedia digital story, producing audio blurbs in the style of NPR stories, or annotating an online version of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
These assignments enhance students’ abilities to create and share knowledge – vital skills for competing in a globalized economy. But while our classrooms are adapting to the necessities of the 21st century, our assessments are often stuck in the Stone Age. If our students are expected to master new skills—moving from the recitation of facts towards the creation of knowledge, for example—we need to develop new ways of measuring and evaluating those skills. But how can we develop assessments that accurately measure these new ways of learning and knowing?
A good place to start the conversation is online. HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) has initiated a forum which invites discussion, collaboration, and commentary around Assessment 2.0. Visit the site, share your ideas, and be a part of a frontier movement in education. CNDLS staff members are happy to be a part of this conversation with you.
Please contact us with any ideas or questions you may have!
Colleen Kearns, an undergraduate research assistant working on Project Rebirth, shares this update on a recent event at the Berkley Center.
Faculty, alumni, and students gathered at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs on Monday, November 16 for a preview of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which will be built where the Twin Towers once stood in Lower Manhattan. CNDLS, working with Columbia University’s Center for New Media Teaching and Learning, is developing the Project Rebirth Learning Collaboratory, an online social environment for studying documentary footage about 9/11.
At the event, Caitlin Olson, the director of program partnerships and initiatives at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, shared information about the site’s design, construction, and future exhibits. Brian Rafferty (COL ’79), chairman of Project Rebirth, updated students and faculty on the progress of the Project Rebirth documentary film—also entitled Project Rebirth— which is scheduled to be released in 2010. He also showed a four-minute clip of the film, which is directed by Georgetown alumnus Jim Whitaker (COL ’90).
CNDLS’ Randy Bass, who is in his third year of working with Project Rebirth, discussed how he’s been using the project in his first-year writing classes. He stressed the importance of building a robust, digital library to cultivate a powerful virtual learning environment for study of the Project Rebirth resources. Michael Kessler, a visiting assistant professor of Government and the assistant director of the Berkley Center, spoke about the collaboration between the Berkley Center and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The two institutions recently sponsored a faculty panel called “After September 11th: Change in the Academy?” that explored how 9/11 has affected various academic disciplines.
CNDLS Graduate Associate Laura Chasen, who helps to coordinate Faculty Programs and Apprenticeship in Teaching workshops, shares the following update on this semester’s pilot of the AT Teaching Circle.
After conducting preliminary assessment interviews for the Apprenticeship in Teaching Program, the AT team noticed a recurring theme in participants’ answers; they want to feel like they are part of a cohort or student community as they travel through the program. John Rakestraw, CNDLS Director of Faculty Programs, has also long desired that a stronger mentor/mentee relationship develop in the AT Program. Early this summer, the CNDLS team began imagining how we could blend these desires and incorporate them into the program. The result – this fall’s pilot of the AT Teaching Circle.
A small group of graduate students and one post-doctoral fellow committed to meeting three times over the course of the semester to discuss their past and present teaching experiences. Rakestraw served as group facilitator. While he framed each discussion around a central question, or a selected reading, he allowed the students to focus the conversation around their teaching interests and concerns. Discussion topics ranged from classroom management to dealing with differing political and religious beliefs in the classroom. Students directed discussion according to teaching experiences they encountered throughout the semester. One student expressed that participating in this kind of open, small-group discussion allowed her to air specific concerns and get helpful advice that she could directly apply to her teaching. Participants were able to test new ideas developed in the discussions and then report back to the group about the effects of what they had tried. Another student noted that as “a new teacher, so many issues come up,” explaining that it was helpful “to hear from others with similar levels of experience.”
Throughout the course of the semester this small group of graduate students and their mentor developed a sense of camaraderie and genuine interest in each other’s academic disciplines and personal lives. In fact, at the end of the semester, the only major complaint expressed on the evaluations was that this group did not get to meet often enough. Plans call for the Teaching Circle to continue in future semesters.
Congratulations to Joan Burggraf Riley (NHS), who was chosen by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) as D.C.’s Professor of the Year. Riley has collaborated extensively with CNDLS through her leadership role with the Engelhard Project. (The D.C. Professor of the Year for 2009, Jim Sandefur (Mathematics), is also an Engelhard Faculty Fellow.)
Riley explains: “I teach because I find fulfillment in being part of an academic community dedicated to students’ development in a climate marked by intellectual curiosity, openness, diversity, respect and support.” For more on Riley and her approach to teaching, see this article from the Blue & Gray.
On Wednesday, November 18th, CNDLS’ Marie Selvanadin and Rob Pongsajapan will present a hands-on workshop on “Getting Started with Blogs at Georgetown.” The workshop, which is open to faculty, staff, and students, will take place from 10am to 12pm in the Picchi Room (Lauinger 104). See the workshop description for more information and to register for this workshop.
With the support of a Georgetown Learning Initiatives Curriculum Enrichment Grant, Professor Sarah McNamer’s Medieval Literature students were able to experience a thrilling night at the Kennedy Center watching the Washington Ballet perform Don Quixote. After the performance, McNamer devoted one class period to a discussion of the interplay between the ballet and the text, which the students had been studying. In their discussion, the students explored such questions as the performative nature of medieval literature, the depiction of chivalric codes of conduct in the ballet, and the portrayal of the figure of Don Quixote.
McNamer describes the experience as “a triumph,” adding that “the students greatly enjoyed the performance, and several commented on how grateful they were to be able to attend such a high-class performance and to take advantage of Washington D.C.’s cultural richness.” Her students are no less enthusiastic; one student reports that “the ballet was a joy to watch; it was nice to get a chance to travel off campus for such a treat.” Another student explains that “the whole event helped me to understand the relationship between the written tradition we encounter in class and the re-framing of those traditions in modern contexts and different art forms.”
Other events funded through GLI Curriculum Enrichment Grants this semester include a History class’s visit to Monticello, an English Gateway course’s trip to the Folger Shakespeare Library, and a Biology class’s excursion to the forests of West Virginia. To learn more about GLI Curriculum Enrichment grants, which are administered by CNDLS, see this page. Applications for Spring 2010 funding will be accepted until February 15th.
Check out the featured Digital Commons blog “Freedom Without Walls.” This blog was designed to collect and publicize information about events taking place this week at Georgetown to commemorate the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Read a post about the creation of the “Freedom Without Walls” blog here.
CNDLS is pleased to announce the launch of a new multimedia online archive, Celebrating 30 Years of Sino-American Relations at Georgetown University. The archive collects oral history interviews, photos, and other artifacts, and encourages contributions from readers who wish to share their own experiences of Chinese-American exchange. Content will continue to be added over the coming weeks.
Georgetown is hosting a conference, “Celebrating The 30th Anniversary of Sino-American Relations,” on Tuesday, November 10th.
In the following post, CNDLS Graduate Associate Lindsay Pettingill reports on a recent assessment workshop she attended at American University.
How do we know what our students are learning? How do we know if our department is producing graduates with sufficient disciplinary understanding? How do we know that the courses we teach are providing students with the skills to compete in a globalized economy? These questions are asked by educators quite frequently, but few have the tools, support, or resources to respond rigorously to such questions. On Friday, October 30th, faculty, staff and administrators from across the DC metro region gathered at American University to discuss the challenges and opportunities of assessment at the university level. The workshop was organized by the Washington Area Student Learning Assessment Network (WASLAN).
After an introductory history, participants discussed the obstacles they have faced in implementing and carrying out rigorous assessment, including recalcitrant faculty, lack of resources, and distrust of administration. These obstacles may seem immense at times, but there are many steps that institutions, departments, and programs can take to promote assessment. While strong leadership is key for change at any level, participants discussed options such as restructuring faculty awards, and identifying an empowered resource with both the skills to assist faculty in assessment and the stature to ensure university support.
With the obstacles covered, moving the assessment process forward is crucial. This is where CNDLS and WASLAN can be of assistance. Mindy McWilliams and Daryl Nardick of CNDLS can help you and your department to:
- design a mission and identify your strengths,
- articulate goals and objectives,
- identify expected curricular and other outcomes,
- and design means of measurement
Georgetown’s Assessment Portal provides a variety of resources, including data, reports, articles, and examples.
Stop by CNDLS for more information, or contact us with questions!