[Fairfield] Afternoon sessions

Photograph of blue Nestlé Smarties as sold in the UK, before (top, dating from 2006) and after (2008, bottom) change to natural colours. Background is 1mm grid.In the afternoon sessions, we had four presentations (with discussions).

You want me to teach what?

In the first of these, Joan van Hise and Dawn Massey addressed the question of what to do when you are faced with teaching a course with content or delivery that is unfamiliar. They brought Smarties and Dum-dums to throw at participants.

When pressed into a course you are unfamiliar with, you look for others as models. If there are no models, try professional organizations, other disciplines, and working profession as a source of information.

Past these sources, two approaches:

Plan A: Amass adequate technical training. Read the literature. Go to conferences and pre-conferences and training. Make contacts. Adopt a research agenda related to the area.

Plan B: Bring in an expert. Have them do guest lectures, provide case studies, have them help with course materials, team teaching, or have the expert observe your teaching.

While this is stressful, it provides a great opportunity for learning and developing as a professional.

Getting students to learn from their mistakes

Vera Cherepinsky presented some ideas on getting students in their introductory math courses to use graded exams to study. She provides students a chance to correct problems that had some error in the solution. They are required to find the errors, decide whether it is major or minor (and explain why), and then explain how to fix it. Seems like a substantial time investment, though it’s clear it helps students to learn.

Capturing Shakespeare classes with Apple Podcast Producer

Richard Regan presented his experience with capturing audio for a course on Shakespeare. The Apple Podcast Producer provides a way of streamlining the production of podcasts, providing for a pretty much immediate upload of lectures recorded using an iPod. He records directly into Producer (using a Blue Snowflake, and the system immediately uploads to iTunes University. It’s pretty much one-click, making it easy for non-techies.

They are looking to move to having audio servers in four classrooms, with microphones in the room, that would record the conversation in the room on built-in Mac Minis and upload it automatically to iTunes U. They are also looking at doing video in much the same way.

When college writing gets personal

Peter Witkowsky, from Mount Saint Mary College, talked about ways of using new media to encourage writing, and negotiating “academic” and “personal” writing styles. Says that freshmen tend to fall into two models: Elinor or Marianne: “Neither of us have anything to tell. I because I conceal nothing and you because you communicate nothing.” He says that he finds the polarization between these extremes is increasing.

Suggests that we encourage, rather than discourage, the use of web-based resources. He provides the example of using blogrunner to track on the decision about the making US currency accessible to the blind. By looking through this stuff, you provide an example of assessing information online.

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  1. Posted 6/6/2008 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Richard is a great guy… I would have loved to have seen his presentation on working with Podcast Producer. We (Computing & Network Services at Fairfield) collaborated with him early on to help establish a custom workflow. We’re really hoping faculty really takes to the whole iTunesU thing. So much potential! Just curious, is QU considering developing an iTunesU presence?

  2. alex
    Posted 6/6/2008 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Sam: I don’t think I can either confirm or deny on the QU thing, but I’m pretty sure I’ve heard that there was talk of it. To be honest, I don’t really use iTunes, and so I’m not sure I’m 100% clear on what the advantages are, but I was impressed with their efforts to make the record-and-upload process as seamless as possible.

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