Archive for the ‘Teaching’ Category

Stop teaching historians to use computers!

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

Bill Turkel has started what looks to be an important and potentially influential thread on the nexus of history and the digital. His opening salvo:

Teaching history students how to use computers was a really good idea in the early 1980s. It’s not anymore. Students who were born in 1983 have already graduated from college. If they didn’t pick up the rudiments of word processing and spreadsheet and database use along the way, that’s tragic. But if we concentrate on teaching those things now, we’ll be preparing our students for the brave new world of 1983.

Posts so far:

Join the Wikipedia Debate

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

Seen at Academic Commons:

This coming Thursday (29 March 2007), the first Language Lab Unleashed! of the spring will feature Don Wyatt (chair of the Department of History at Middlebury College), Elizabeth Colantoni (Professor of Classics at Oberlin College), Laura Blankenship (Senior Instructional Technologist at Bryn Mawr), and Bryan Alexander (Director of Research at NITLE) for a discussion on the potential uses and abuses of Wikipedia in the educational arena.

The show will begin promptly at 8pm … for details on how to join the  live conversation, please visit:
http://www.languagelabunleashed.com

That time’s 20:00 EST = 01:00 UTC. I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it…

The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

Seen at Academic Commons:

The folks at the Humanities, Arts, Sciences, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory aka HASTAC (http://hastac.org) have posted a draft of a paper entitled “The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age.”  The paper will evolve through online collaboration and conversations, and will be published in its final form as part of the Occasional Paper Series on Digital Media and Learning sponsored by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

It is framed by the following proposition:
“We are faced today by a pressing question: How do institutions–social, civic, educational–transform in response to and in order to promote new kinds of learning in the information age?”

This provocative and difficult question–What does a peer-to-peer learning institution look like and how does it differ from what we understand our traditional learning institutions to be?–is only part of what makes this project exciting. It is also notable for its delivery platform, a terrific and soon-to-be-released WordPress blogging plugin (code name Comment Press) that the folks at the Institute for the Future of the Book have developed, and that allows for context-specific commenting at multiple levels.

Wikipedia editing as teaching tool

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

A wonderful suggestion in a comment on Cathy Davidson’s letter (that Tom blogged here a few days ago):

Thanks for your great column. I’ve used the “stubs” feature of Wikipedia to generate a list of 120 topics relating to ancient Roman civilization that need full articles. Then I’m requiring the 120 students in my upcoming Roman Civilization class to each write one article. This will hopefully teach them how to do original research in the library on obscure, narrowly focused topics and then create something of lasting value to others. The students will also be required to each review three of their fellow students’ articles in order to learn about the collaborative editing process. I’m a little nervous about its success, but I’m hoping to be part of the solution to the issues raised by Wikipedia, rather than contributing to the problems.

I’ve heard suggestions of this kind before, but this is one of the coolest implementations of it I’ve come across recently. This makes me wish once again that I was teaching a large class this year so I could do something similar. Kudos to JuliaFelix; please let us know how the experiment works.

Wikis and Blogs in Education

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

Seen in the Creative Commons Feed:

“The wiki is the center of my classroom”

That’s a quote from Wikis and Blogs in Education, one of three educational remixes from students of open content pioneer David Wiley.

The other two are Interviewing Basics and the Open Water Project, an excellent disaster preparedness video that probably everyone should watch.

Each project is licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike and incorporates CC licensed and public domain audio, images, and video as well as original materials.

Wikis and Blogs in Education, potentially the most interesting site for readers of this forum is a site that combines text and video in an animated Flash and Javascript framework. It seems to run smoothely, but I don’t know if that would have implications for the free reuse of the material.

Middlebury Wikigate Revisited

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Back in January, I made some hooting noises and pointed at Jimmy Wales in the context of the tempest-in-a-teapot that erupted after the Middlebury College History Department added Wikipedia to its list of works students may not cite in papers.

One of the more useful published reactions to the whole affair — certainly more useful than mine — seems to me to be Cathy Davidson’s Op-Ed in the Chronicle of Higher Education,We Can’t Ignore the Influence of Digital Technologies” (53:29, 23 March 2007 [sic!]).
Among other provocative suggestions, she asks:

Rather than banning Wikipedia, why not make studying what it does and does not do part of the research-and-methods portion of our courses? Instead of resorting to the “Delete” button for new forms of collaborative knowledge made possible by the Internet, why not make the practice of research in the digital age the object of study?

Those, like me, who don’t subscribe to the Chronicle can read the letter via Davidson’s blog at HASTAC.

CC Learn

Friday, March 9th, 2007

Seen in the Creative Commons blog today:

A new division of Creative Commons, provisionally called CC Learn, will focus on education, broadly defined — from kindergarten to graduate school, to lifelong learning. The mission of this new division will be to promote vigorous networks of Open Educational Resources: materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use, modify and re-use for teaching, learning and research. CC Learn is looking for an Executive Director.

What is interesting is not the possibility that someone reading this blog might be interested in applying for an executive director’s position, but that CC are creating a new division especially for educational materials. I have always assumed that teaching materials and other educational resources were the most obvious candidates fro CC licensing, so I am now moved to wonder: what particular requirements do educations have from Creative Commons or Open Source licenses?

Journal of Employability and The Humanities

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

This call for papers was circulated by the HEA History, Classics, and Archaeology Subject Centre, but the journal, I believe, is being launched by the University of Central Lancashire. It strikes me that Humanities Computing departments that teach digital humanities skills are all doing innovative teaching and that our claim to improve “employability” (horrible as that word and even that concept is) is very strong.

The Centre For Employability through the Humanities (the CETL based at UCLAN) is putting together a peer reviewed electronic journal on employability and have asked us to pass on their call for papers (pdf). This Journal of Employability and the Humanities is for everyone in the Humanities. As a bi-annual, refereed journal produced in collaboration with the Centre for Employability Through the Humanities (ceth), at the University of Central Lancashire, its intention is to create space for a dialogue between Humanities and employability. THey want to hear your experiences of teaching, developing and researching employability and stress that prior knowledge of employability literature and models is not necessary. They do, however, also encourage contributions from the experienced practitioner or theorist.

You may have something to contribute if you have been:

  1. participating in the construction of Departmental or Faculty-wide programmes/workshops addressing Student Skills (particularly, but not necessarily, in the first year);
  2. working on improving students’ presentation skills within your module/across the degree programme at either BA or MA level;
  3. engaging students in assessment schemes which go beyond essay-writing (e.g. creative projects, web-design, theatrical performance);
  4. working with the careers service in your institution to improve graduate employability.

You may be engaging with employability issues other ways, but in any case this is a good opportunity to disseminate that engagement. This opportunity is open to members of staff and postgraduate students.