High-Impact Educational Practices in the Online Classroom?

January 19, 2018 § Leave a comment

On Friday, January 26, 2:45 – 4:00 pm in the Lafayette Park room, I’ll be co-presenting at the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) along with Steve Greenlaw of Mary Washington University and Gretchen McKay of McDaniel College.  Below is the  program listing along with the abstract we submitted for this session:

Program Listing

High-Impact Educational Practices in the Online Classroom?

In 2014, 28% of students took a distance course, with the majority of those (67%) attending public institutions and 35% at public two-year institutions. While online learning promises to improve access, it often seems incompatible with high-impact practices (HIPs) that benefit low income and underserved students. Panelists, drawing on personal experience teaching online and the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Online Humanities Consortia, Open Learning: A Connectivist MOOC for Faculty Collaboratives in the state of Virginia, and Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments, will discuss opportunities and strategies for HIPs, including writing-intensive courses, collaborative assignments, undergraduate research, diversity/global learning, service learning, and capstone courses, in an online setting. Small groups will explore models, discuss challenges of implementation, and consider institutional strategies to address those challenges.

Rebecca Davis, Director of Instructional and Emerging Technology, St. Edward’s University; Steve Greenlaw, Professor of Economics, University of Mary Washington; Gretchen McKay, Chair of the Department of Art and Art History, McDaniel College


Online learning promises to improve access to higher education. In 2014, 28% of students took at least one distance course. Of that number 67% attended public institutions, and 35% were at public 2-year institutions (Allen et al., 2016; Fox 2017). Low-income and underserved students, however, may struggle in online courses due to technical difficulties, social distance, lack of structure, and lack of student supports (Jaggers, 2010).  Furthermore, high-impact practices (HIPs) that have been proven to benefit student learning through engagement–with greater gains seen by underserved students–often seem incompatible with online delivery (Kuh, 2008; Finley & McNair, 2013). In the stereotypical online course, students read from an online text, take machine-graded quizzes and exams, and possibly “participate” in a discussion board with which the instructor may or may not interact. This session will focus on ways to transform the online classroom with high-impact practices to promote student engagement and build student agency, preparing students to flourish as they strive for the American Dream.

Three panelists representing three institutions (private Baccalaureate, public and private Masters), three roles (faculty, center for teaching and learning, instructional technology), and three disciplines (art history, economics, and general education capstone) will share models for HIPs in the online classroom.  Panelists will draw on personal experience teaching online and for the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Online Humanities Consortia and Open Learning: A Connectivist MOOC for Faculty Collaboratives in the state of Virginia, as well as Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments (under contract with MLA, forthcoming 2018), a curated collection of 600 pedagogical artifacts for humanities scholars interested in the intersections of digital technologies with teaching and learning.

First, panelists will discuss opportunities, challenges, and strategies for the following HIPs in an online setting:

  • Writing-Intensive Courses
  • Collaborative Assignments and Projects
  • Undergraduate Research
  • Diversity/Global Learning
  • Service Learning, Community-Based Learning
  • Capstone Courses and Projects

Next, they will engage the audience in small group discussions of implementing HIPs online at their own institutions.  Each group will consider an assigned example, discuss challenges of implementation, and consider institutional strategies to address those challenges.

Outcomes will include:

  • Recognizing the feasibility and appropriate use of high-impact practices in an online setting;
  • Recognizing effective assignment design for online settings
  • Understanding the challenges of combining online learning and high-impact practices;
  • Developing institutional strategies for supporting these innovative pedagogies.


Allen, E., Seaman, J., Poulin, J., & Straut, T. T. (2016). Online report card: Tracking online education in the United States. Needham, MA: Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group.

Finley, A. P., & McNair, T. (2013). Assessing underserved students’ engagement in high-impact practices.

Fox, H. L. (2017). What Motivates Community College Students to Enroll Online and Why It Matters (No. Issue 19). College of Education at Illinois: Office of Community College Research and Leadership.

Jaggers, Shanna Smith . (2011). Online Learning: Does It Help Low-Income and Underprepared Students? (CCRC ASSESSMENT OF EVIDENCE SERIES No. CCRC Working Paper No. 26). New York: Community College Research Center Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved from http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/publications/online-learning-low-income-underprepared.html

Kuh, G. D., Schneider, C. G., & Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2008). High-impact educational practices: what they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.




Digital Pedagogy in the Liberal Arts

February 6, 2014 § 1 Comment

Today, I am delivering a talk at Whittier College called, “Digital Pedagogy in the Liberal Arts: Models, Keywords, and Prototypes”.

Slides are here:

Scroll down for references and links to models:

« Read the rest of this entry »

Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities

December 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Today, I gave a presentation at Washington and Lee University called, “Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Models, Keywords, Prototypes”.  The presentation kicked off the digital humanities day of the Winter Faculty Academy at Washington and Lee.  I was striving to give my vision of digital pedagogy based on a set of models from liberal arts colleges.  Slides are on Slideshare:  http://www.slideshare.net/rebeccadavis/digital-pedagogy-in-the-humanities-models-keywords-prototypes

Scroll down for references to works and models I touched on in my presentation:

« Read the rest of this entry »

Using Disruption to Stay on Course

August 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

Tomorrow, Thursday, August 22, I’ll be presenting as part of the Opening Plenary panel of the St. Edward’s Annual Teaching Symposium.  Below are my slides for the symposium the description of the plenary panel, and resources for my presentation.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Mapping Technology Use for Teaching and Learning

April 6, 2013 § 1 Comment

Earlier this afternoon I gave a presentation called “Mapping Technology Use for Teaching and Learning at Liberal Arts Colleges” at a faculty workshop of the Great Lakes Colleges Association, “Hybrid Thinking About The Role of Technology For Liberal Education.” The slides are available online:

I include references and links below. « Read the rest of this entry »

Yes, Undergrads Can Do Digital Humanities

April 3, 2013 § 1 Comment

Davidson student, Ayesha Shah ’13, leads elementary students through her geotagged math map service-learning project.

When I first started researching digital humanities at liberal arts colleges I was dismayed to hear a comment made at the 2010 Digital Humanities Conference in London: “There is no place for undergrads in Digital Humanities.” That is manifestly untrue.  Here’s some of the proof that’s come through my inbox this week of undegraduates doing digital humanities and other forms of digital scholarship. « Read the rest of this entry »

Opening a Conversation about Undergraduate Research

February 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

In my experience one of the key appeals of digital humanities at small liberal arts colleges is the opportunity for undergraduates to do applied, authentic research in the humanities. Last week at the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), I had the pleasure of being part of a panel (with Daniel Chamberlain, Jeff McClurken, and Jim Proctor) showcasing undergraduate research using digital tools and methodologies both in the digital humanities and beyond.  I had actually titled the panel, “Undergraduates as Public Digital Scholars” in hopes of attracting the attention of those interested in undergraduate research, one of the high impact practices for liberal education advocated by AAC&U. « Read the rest of this entry »

My latest at NITLE’s Techne blog: Undergraduate Research and Digital Scholarship

October 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Originally posted on October 15, 2012 at 01:25PM at Techne, http://blogs.nitle.org/2012/10/15/undergraduate-research-and-digital-scholarship/

How can we prepare our students to be citizens in a networked world? One solution is to give them occasions for action in that world through authentic research using digital methodologies.  Let them explore wicked problems that cross disciplinary lines and don’t have clear solutions.  Engage them in collaborative research involving both students and faculty members. Involve them in projects driven by community needs and mentor them through that work.  All of these answers highlight the value of liberal education in a world of webs and networks because these are the kinds of opportunities offered by small liberal arts colleges rather than large-scale, industrial MOOCs. « Read the rest of this entry »

Undergrads Do Archaeology, Civic Engagement and Digital Humanities

September 17, 2012 § 1 Comment

Undergraduates at Hamilton College are participating in an archaeological dig led by Prof. Nathan Goodale. This project illustrates the variety of learning experiences and high impact practices that can come from engaging undergraduates in collaborative research with faculty using digital methodologies.  Not only do students engage in collaborative, student-faculty research, they also see the public impact of that research as it is being used by Sinxit activists to support claims to their ancestral land. The project is part of Hamilton College’s Digital Humanities Initiative, and uses digital techniques such as a digital database of cultural and linguistic information, iPads for data collection in the field, 3-D Modeling of Sinxit buildings, and a film about the Sinxit, past and present. When I interviewed Prof. Goodale in 2010 during a visit to Hamilton College to learn about DHi, it became clear to me that he wasn’t striving to be at the cutting edge of digital humanities research and teaching.  Rather, his project uses the best tools available and those tools happen to be digital.  That lesson is far more important to undergrads, whether they identify themselves as digital humanists or not.

Read more about it in this story from the Chronicle of Higher Education: Archae0logists Uncover Markers of an ‘Extinct’ Ancient Tribe on Contested Land. (Note that this is a premium article, so, unfortunately the link above expires in 5 days).

Crowdsourcing, Undergraduates, and Digital Humanities Projects

September 3, 2012 § 10 Comments

Crowdsourcing could be a silver bullet for integrating digital humanities methods into the undergraduate curriculum.  Why?

“Crowd” by flickr user James Cridland

Crowdsourcing means getting the general public to do tasks. Jeff Howe explains the phenomenon in “The Rise of Crowdsourcing” (Wired Magazine, June 2006) by analogy with outsourcing.  This method of labor is growing for scholarly and cultural heritage projects, and that’s where it intersects with the undergraduate curriculum.  Collaborative manuscript transcription projects, like Transcribe Bentham, have received quite a bit of the attention, but there are a variety of opportunities out there for motivated students to engage in the process of digitizing, preserving, and studying collective resources and data.  For example, the Perseus Digital Library (whose flagship collections cover the history, literature and culture of the Greco-Roman world) has drafted a call to

Advance our understanding of the Greco-Roman World! Contribute to the Scaife Digital Library — improve existing materials and to create new ones! If you want to understand the present and invent the future then FREE THE PAST!

This call lays out a variety of ways to contribute, including translation, definition, citation, text correction, manuscript transcription, text markup, mapping, and clarifying ambiguous names, words or grammar. If your students answer this call or one like it, what will they gain?  Is this just grunt labor or are their potential learning outcomes? Why is this a silver bullet for DH in the classroom? « Read the rest of this entry »

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with high-impact practices at Rebecca Frost Davis.