As the first month of the new semester draws to a close, we’ve been digging up the numbers behind blog and wiki use on campus during September and found that many faculty members and students are taking advantage of these digital tools.
Approximately 60 course blogs, 300 portfolio blogs, and 6 wikis are actively in use, reflecting a strong interest in exploring how these applications can enhance teaching and learning.
On Friday, October 22, faculty interested in “renovating” their assignments should check out Project Makeover: Redesigning Student Assignments. This session will feature staff members from CNDLS and Gelardin reworking the assignments of two professors in an exploration of how small changes can make an assignment more effective.
Interested in what else the Digital Commons offers? Join us on Wednesday, November 10, as we host the Digital Commons Open House, a great opportunity to learn about and discuss blogs, wikis, and other Georgetown Digital Commons tools.
Mobile app use is growing rapidly, and on Friday, November 19, Mobile Learning: Academic Uses for Tablets, eReaders, and Smartphones will address that growth. This hands-on session will highlight the trends and new products that can make mobile computing a fixture in classrooms of the future.
For fifteen years, the Marino Family International Writers’ Academic Workshop has welcomed undergraduate students into the academic community at Georgetown. Each year, the university asks that all incoming students read a particular text by a major non-American author and write a one-page analysis reflecting on their reading. Traditionally, on the second Saturday of the fall semester, the university invites the author to discuss the text with all of the first-year students. After the lecture, students immediately meet in pre-assigned small groups led by more than 70 Georgetown faculty and staff to discuss the text, the author’s presentation, and their individual interpretations of the novel. Students this year will be reading Mohsin Hamid’s novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
This year, CNDLS has teamed up with the Marino project to create blogs for each group of students and their respective faculty or staff mentor. Students will post their analyses of the novel to their assigned group blogs, and read and comment on the essays of their peers.
Stay tuned for updates on the Marino project blogs!
Here are a few interesting resources featuring strategies for incorporating blogs into courses:
Integrating, Evaluating, and Managing Blogging in the Classroom: In this post from the Chronicle of Higher Education’s ProfHacker blog, Julie Meloni shares some thoughts on different ways to incorporate blogging into class discussion, offers ideas for assessing students’ contributions, and explores the question of how to overcome student resistance.
Pedagogy and the Class Blog: In this post, GMU’s Mark Sample reflects on lessons learned from the thirteen course blogs he has used in his teaching.
New Approaches for Improving Student Learning in Large-Enrollment Classes: Several Georgetown faculty members participated in this panel discussion on student learning in large courses, which was part of the Spring 2010 Provost’s Seminar on Teaching and Learning. The first panelist, Mark Rom (Government), describes how he encourages student participation by incorporating a blog into an introductory-level course.
And if you haven’t already done so, we encourage you to explore the “Get Ideas” page here on the Georgetown University Digital Commons site, which includes some other examples of blog use in Georgetown courses.
Nearly a decade has passed since MIT launched its groundbreaking educational initiative MIT OpenCourseWare. MIT started the project with the goal of providing teaching materials to the public by posting them online. Since then, this novel idea has spawned a global mission to provide educational resources to anyone in the world. In the past decade there has been tremendous growth in the amount of courses offered, the richness of the course materials, and the number of universities undertaking similar open courseware initiatives.
In 2008, CNDLS started Georgetown’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative, encouraged by undergraduate Kevin Donovan (SFS’11). The short-term objective was simple: to convince faculty to contribute syllabi, assignments, lecture notes, and supplementary learning materials from the courses they taught at Georgetown University. These would then be published and made available to the public so that any independent learner, passionate student, or curious professor could have access to these course materials. The long-term objective was to develop a comprehensive “proof of concept” that could highlight the benefits of open educational resources and eventually be proposed to the Georgetown administration.
In 2009, the Georgetown OCW initiative began to capture the breadth of the courses offered on the Hilltop by publishing the first set of courses to the website (ocw.georgetown.edu). The courses ranged from General Physics I taught by Professor Earl Skelton to Social Media in Business, Development, & Government taught by Yahoo! Fellow-in-Residence Guarav Mishra. All in all, there were eight courses published from six different departments and five more courses ready to be published by the end of the year.
Intro to Information Privacy, a computer science course, is one of the array of Georgetown courses with materials available on the OCW site.
This year, the OCW initiative has shifted focus towards capturing the depth of particular departments here at Georgetown. The Communication, Culture, and Technology (CCT) program directed by Professor David Lightfoot was most receptive to this idea. By the end of the summer there will be approximately eight to ten published CCT courses that will represent the depth of the CCT course offerings. These courses range from Communication Technology and Organizations taught by Professor Jeanine Turner to Networks and the Creative Process taught by Professor D. Linda Garcia.
Working with faculty members has been particularly invigorating because there have been many great ideas generated on how best to expand the OCW initiative and integrate it into particular course objectives. One concept brought up by many of the faculty members was to create a page to display student work from the semester. We thought this was a great way to highlight some of the innovative student work being done on campus and have since added it to our website.
Beyond filling out the CCT department’s courses on the site, the short-term objectives for OCW are two-fold: to publish extensive course materials for other targeted departments as well as to publish a greater range of the diverse course offerings that embody the spirit of Georgetown University.
In two years, the OCW initiative has quickly developed into a robust, centralized hub for publicly available course materials from Georgetown University classes and professors. The long-term objective of a polished “proof of concept” is in sight and we are hoping that faculty continue to take advantage of this open education resource. While the cost of Georgetown’s OCW initiative is only a fraction of the cost of MIT’s OCW initiative, we are very enthusiastic about the success and scope of our initiative.
Today Cheryl and I are proud to introduce the second Georgetown Digital Commons podcast! This episode focuses on MAENGL, a research blog community and forum where students in the Master’s Program in English can both keep up with one another’s research and post upcoming literary events and professional development opportunities. In this episode, Cheryl and I spoke with Anna Kruse, the inventor of MAENGL, and two students from the English M.A. program, Laura Chasen and Michael Walsh, who are currently using research blogs as part of the MAENGL community.
Thanks for listening, and for more information on MAENGL and other Digital Commons tools, please visit the GDC website!
This spring semester proves to be as active as ever for faculty and students looking to implement GDC tools into their teaching and learning. So far, we have set up 67 course blogs and 114 portfolio blogs, and we are only three weeks into the semester!
While you can always visit our “Get Ideas” page for more information on Digital Commons tools, we will also be partnering with the Lauinger Library Gelardin New Media Center to host workshops on blogs and wikis throughout the semester. Our first session, “Getting Started with Blogs at Georgetown” will be on Wednesday, January 27, from 10:00am to 12:00pm in the Picchi Room, found on the first floor of Lauinger Library. More information on this session can be found here.
Also, make sure to check out our upcoming Web 2.0 Information Sessions, in which we will explore microblogging, social bookmarking and Data Visualization among other tools.
The first in a series of screencasts on how to craft an effective research blog, this screencast takes on the basics of managing a bibliography on a blog and using that blog for the kind of content management you need while working on a research project or paper.
CampusPress is a suite of useful WordPress plugins for course blogs. Ever wanted to have a place where you can get the number of comments made by a user without having to search and count them one by one? How about having the option to easily print selections of posts from your course blog? CampusPress can help you with these problems. Right now, CampusPress only contains two plugins: Print and Capabilities Editor; however, CampusPress will eventually house more plugins that will make course blogs much easier to use and manage.
The Print plugin gives you the ability to easily print posts/comments from a specific user. The printouts are simply the text of the posts, making them easy to scan no matter what your theme looks like. Additionally, the Print plugin also lets you obtain a quick tally of the number of comments per user—a feature that was requested by a number of faculty.
The Capabilities Editor plugin allows an instructor to modify what authors are allowed to do. In a course blog, students are generally added as authors which gives them the basic ability to create and edit posts. This plugin lets the administrator of the blog edit the author role so that students can also create/edit pages and also add links. This is particularly useful if the course blog is being used as a central repository of external links.
CampusPress is available to all blog administrators. You can activate the plugin by going to the administrative side of your blog. In the Plugins menu, you will need to activate “CampusPress”. Once you have activated it, you will see an extra menu on the left-hand side called “CampusPress” that contains the Print and Capabilities Editor plugins.