Teaching in High Def at Liberal Arts Colleges

June 19, 2013 § 1 Comment

How do liberal arts colleges reconcile traditional high touch pedagogy with the growing prevalence of virtual communication technologies and, if so, what kinds of value can these technologies bring to the liberal arts business model? High definition (aka HD or high def) videoconferencing holds out the promise of virtually replicating face-to-face interaction. Cisco coined the term “telepresence” to describe this phenomenon, and many liberal arts colleges have turned to this technology as more fitting to the liberal arts experience and pedagogy than lower fidelity options like skype or desktop videoconferencing.  NITLE has been experimenting in this area for several years, and today held an event, “Teaching in High Definition” via HD videoconferencing to showcase two language instructors who have been teaching in this medium for the last academic year. « Read the rest of this entry »


New Position at St. Edward’s University

June 12, 2013 § 4 Comments

St. Edward’s University on the south side of Austin, TX.

I’m delighted to announce that on July 1 I’ll be joining St. Edward’s University as Director for Instructional and Emerging Technology. Part of my responsibility will be helping implement the university’s 2015 Strategic Plan which calls for the creation of a “21st century learning environment . . . in which faculty and students access, assess and create knowledge in a world-wide exchange of ideas.”  I will work with faculty and staff to create a vision for that learning environment and put it into practice across the campus.  This work is a natural extension of the work I’ve done at NITLE to help faculty transform and adapt new digital methods in teaching and research to advance the essential learning outcomes of liberal education. « Read the rest of this entry »

Intercampus Teaching, Networked Teaching

June 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

As small colleges face limited resources that in turn limit student opportunities, we hear constant calls for collaboration.  For example, at the April 2012 conference, “The Future of the Liberal Arts College in America and Its Leadership Role in Education Around the World” Gene Tobin, a program officer of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation argued that:

Collaboration among liberal-arts colleges . . . must become commonplace to meet various challenges, including faculty development, globalization, civic engagement, and staffing less commonly taught languages. (“A President Surveys the Future of Liberal Arts”)

While it is easy to see the potential benefits of collaboration in these cases, in practice there are many challenges to those at liberal arts colleges trying to collaborate in such mission-centered areas as undergraduate instruction.

On Tuesday, June 4, three faculty members engaged in such collaboration shared their experiences in the NITLE Shared Academics™ seminar, “Intercampus Teaching, Networked Teaching.” In this post, I will share insights from the seminar in terms of the benefits, challenges, and best practices of such collaborations, as well as the questions that arose in the ensuing seminar discussion. « Read the rest of this entry »

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