Curating Digital Pedagogy with a Purpose

January 27, 2017 § Leave a comment

Below is the slightly revised text with added citations of my presentation for the panel, “Curating Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities,” delivered January 5, 2017 at the Annual Convention of the Modern Language Association. The corresponding slides are available via slideshare.

Curating Digital Pedagogy with a Purpose

This evening, I want to focus on how the practice of digital pedagogy might help us achieve the broader goals of liberal education. What are the goals of liberal education? The Association of American Colleges and Universities, which represents nearly 1400 colleges and universities has issued a challenge that calls for undergraduate liberal education today to prepare students to solve unscripted problems—these are problems where the “right answer” is still unknown and where any answer may be actively contested (LEAP Challenge: Education for a World of Unstructured Problems).

In 2014 I served on an AAC&U working group (General Education Maps and Markers or GEMSs) that considered this challenge in the context of digital culture. In this world, we learn, and we take action through networks. Creation and publication is easy, and we have ready access to data driven by algorithms that personalize information for users and inform human judgment (Bass & Eynon, Open and Integrative). Our emerging digital ecosystem means that, increasingly, students will tackle these unscripted problems with digital data and tools—students must be able to partner with technology to analyze, transfer and apply learning, and integrate methods and knowledge from multiple domains to solve problems. Our group found that agency was a key ability that college curricula should intentionally develop. By agency I mean ensuring that students actively participate in defining, developing, and reflecting on their personal and educational goals and the ways to achieve them.   You might compare Carol Dweck’s concept of growth mindset (The Power of Believing That You Can Improve).

Let me illustrate how the practice of digital pedagogy might develop agency in digital culture by pointing to a few of the pedagogical artifacts gathered by our curators for the project, Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments (ed. Davis, Gold, Harris & Sayers).

For the keyword, “Annotation”, Paul Schacht points to a sample student conversation using social book, which allows users to highlight and comment on texts, share their annotations with a group, and even like them on Facebook. Schacht observes that annotation as a practice is not new, but digital affordances have sped it up and amplified the social aspects. Such annotation moves the humanities practice of reading and writing as a dialogue into the context of digital culture.

My second example goes further in moving humanities scholarship into digital culture. For the keyword, “Gaming”, Amanda Phillips curated a Talkthrough of Bioshock’s Fort Frolic. Essentially this is a YouTube video that repurposes the popular genre of the “let’s play” video for an academic purpose of analyzing the game. This model builds on the well-developed agency of YouTubers, which is enabled by low barriers to creation and publication. It transforms this genre—typically used to demonstrate game play and display engaging banter—to develop sophisticated analysis and repurposes participatory culture for humanities scholarship.

For the keyword, “Remix”, Kim Middleton shares the syllabus of Julie Levin Russo on the “Art of Remix” which similarly transplants humanities teaching into participatory culture. Collaborative student remix projects engage students in social creation and production for humanities learning. Russo also situates humanities teaching in remix culture by citing the syllabi and assignments that she has remixed to create this course. While she demystifies the mastery of the humanities instructor, she constructs her authority in remix culture by acknowledging her sources and demonstrating how remix can lead to a new creation. This model of reuse with citation should also inspire all of us to put a CC license on our course materials to make sharing and acknowledgement easier.

Finally, Maha Bali and Mia Zamora share the Peeragogy Handbook for the keyword, “Network”. This crowdsourced manual offers models and instructions for anyone who wants to learn with peers and without an instructor. The book itself can be commented on using the social annotation tool, Hypothesis and even forked and adapted using the software versioning tool, GitHub. While this manual enables the ultimate student agency by replacing the instructor with peers, humanities instructors might also apply these methods to let students co-create just one assignment.

Assignments like these let students repeatedly practice learning in networks, working with data, and solving authentic, unscripted problems. This mentored practice and intentional arc of learning are differentiators for the formal education we provide in institutions of higher education. In building student agency, all of these examples break down traditional academic structures by destabilizing the instructor’s authority, moving learning outside the classroom (physical or online in a Learning Management System), surfacing and sharing our teaching and research practices, moving the humanities beyond the ivory tower, and asking both our students and us as instructors to engage in our digital culture.

Works Cited

Bali, Maha and Mia Zamora. “Network.” Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments. Ed. Davis, Gold, Harris and Sayers. https://github.com/curateteaching/digitalpedagogy/blob/master/keywords/network.md

Bass, Randy, and Bret Eynon. Open and Integrative: Designing Liberal Education for the New Digital Ecosystem. Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2016. https://secure.aacu.org/store/detail.aspx?id=GMSDIG

Dweck, Carol. The Power of Believing That You Can Improve. TED Talks. December 17, 2014. https://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve

The LEAP Challenge: Education for a World of Unscripted Problems. Association of American Colleges and Universities. 2015. http://www.aacu.org/sites/default/files/files/LEAP/LEAPChallengeBrochure.pdf

Middleton, Kim. “Remix.” Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments. Ed. Davis, Gold, Harris and Sayers. https://github.com/curateteaching/digitalpedagogy/blob/master/keywords/remix.md

The Peeragogy Handbook. Corneli, J. et al. eds. 3rd ed. Chicago, IL./Somerville, MA.: PubDomEd/Pierce Press, 2016. Downloaded from http://peeragogy.org.

Phillips, Amanda. “Gaming.” Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments. Ed. Davis, Gold, Harris and Sayers. https://github.com/curateteaching/digitalpedagogy/blob/master/keywords/gaming.md

Russo, Julie Levin. “Copy This Class (The Art of the Remix).” http://j-l-r.org/wp-content/uploads/remix-syllabus-final.pdf.

Schacht, Paul. “Annotation.” Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments. Ed. Davis, Gold, Harris and Sayers. https://github.com/curateteaching/digitalpedagogy/blob/master/keywords/annotation.md

Social Book. Cited in Stein, Bob. “Social Book in Action.” Blog post. 18 August 2013. Web. 17 September 2015. http://futureofthebook.org/blog/2013/08/18/socialbook-in-action/

Zhu, Lily and Casey Sloan. Talkthroughs: Bioshock’s Fort Frolic. https://youtu.be/3h7iHD-lI0g

 

Liberal Education: A New Game for Your Smartphone–My Latest from AAC&U’s LEAP Blog

January 4, 2017 § Leave a comment

Originally posted October 19, 2016 on AAC&U’s LEAP Blog, http://aacu.org/leap/liberal-education-nation-blog/liberal-education-new-game-your-smartphone

Faculty members face a conundrum—how can they engage students who are absorbed in their smartphones? According to our most recent Freshman Technology Survey at St. Edward’s University, 99 percent of incoming freshmen will be bringing a smartphone to campus, and according to the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of  American adults report owning a smartphone. So, what are our students doing on these ubiquitous devices? Texting friends, checking in on social media, and, since July, playing Pokémon Go, which this summer peaked around 25 million daily active users according to GameSpot. Even if you haven’t played it, I suspect students on your campus are. The game tracks physical activity like walking and turns it into movement through the game. Players earn points by finding and capturing Pokémon, pick up needed supplies at PokéStops, which are virtual locations mapped onto physical geography, and automatically track achievements in their Pokédex. The game’s huge popularity stems from the existing Pokémon culture, which emerged in the mid-1990s, meaning that many of today’s college students can’t remember a time when there weren’t Pokémon. « Read the rest of this entry »

Critical Digital Pedagogy at the University of North Texas

October 14, 2016 § Leave a comment

Yesterday and today I’ve been at the University of North Texas as part of their Critical Digital Pedagogy faculty mentoring community.  Last night, I gave a talk I’ve delivered multiple times, “Designing for Agency  in the Emerging Digital Ecosystem”. I include a link to the slides and works cited below.  This morning I am teaching a workshop on Digital Liberal Arts with the goal that participants will construct their own assignment.  These events are important precursors the the institution wide-engagement needed to transform the curriculum and intentionally multiple high-impact assignments that gives students repeated practice partnering with technology to solve unstructured problems (complex problems to which there is not a clear answer). « Read the rest of this entry »

Designing for Agency with the Digital Liberal Arts

September 29, 2016 § Leave a comment

Today, I’m speaking at the College of Idaho as part of their Mellon-funded Digital Liberal Arts  Initiative.  Slides are available below, with references below that.

Slides

References

The Digital and the Liberal Arts

Pokémon Go

Participatory Culture

Designing Digitally-Informed Liberal Education

Signature Work: Collaborative Digital Scholarship Projects

Scaffolding the Digital Curriculum

Social Annotation

Computer-Assisted Text Analysis

FitBits and Analyzing Personal Data

  • Mike Wasserman, Assistant Professor, Environmental Science & Policy, “Incorporating Personal Health Devices Into Environmental Science and Global Studies Courses in Angers, France: Understanding the Influence of Culture and Environment on Human Health” http://think.stedwards.edu/tltr/2015-tltr-pilot-projects

Wikistorming

Storymapping

Engaging Faculty

Models

Reconciling Online Learning and the Liberal Arts College

August 8, 2016 § Leave a comment

IMG_4508

Pokémon Go View from Westin Alexandria

Today, I’m speaking to teams at a workshop to launch  round two of the Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction, a project of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC).  For some thoughts on round one, see these blog posts by Gretchen McKay (http://gretchenkreahlingmckay.net/uncategorized/thoughts-at-the-end-of-cic-online-humanities-consortium-i/) and Kevin Gannon (http://www.thetattooedprof.com/archives/640).

Here’s a description:

Reconciling Online Learning and the Liberal Arts College

The future of liberal education depends upon an integrative vision of digitally-informed learning that is not merely content delivery online but rather is reshaped in the same ways that digital learning has already fundamentally changed our culture. This session will present a vision for the digital transformation of liberal education through a curriculum that scaffolds self-directed, digitally-augmented problem-solving and the institutional strategies to support it.

Slides are available via slide share and references are below:

Slides

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Building Liberal Arts Capacities through Digital Social Learning

September 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

Today, I’m speaking at Smith College about how we can build liberal arts capacities in our emerging digital ecosystem, which is shaped by networks and driven by data.  This ecosystem requires the same liberal arts capacities, but we need to develop and practice them in new contexts.  I provide the slides from my talk below, as well as a list of references for the model assignments I am sharing.  In addition, the reference section contains pointers to more examples and sources for pedagogical advice the method in question. « Read the rest of this entry »

Engaged Learning in Digital Culture, Susquehanna University

August 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

This morning, I am speaking at Susquehanna University as part of their workshop on “Digital Tools for Liberal Arts Pedagogy”.

Engaged Learning in Digital Culture

How do we engage learners in the context of our globally-networked, data-driven, participatory digital culture?  Not by moving the lecture hall online.  Instead, we must create a curriculum that builds our students’ abilities to apply their learning to complex problems in the context of that culture.  Students must practice analyzing, transferring, and integrating their learning using digital data, tools, and approaches to solve unscripted problems. This talk will present a vision for a liberal arts curriculum that scaffolds self-directed, digitally-augmented problem-solving from introductory to capstone level courses.

Slides are here:
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Engaging Undergraduates with Collaborative Digital Scholarship Projects

June 19, 2015 § 2 Comments

On Friday, June 19, 2015 I’m presenting a plenary talk on “Engaging Undergraduates with Collaborative Digital Scholarship Projects” at the New American Colleges and Universities 2015 Summer Institute and Chairs Workshop.  This talk argues for intercampus collaborative digital scholarship projects as signature work in the emerging digital ecosystem, then lays out a scaffolded curriculum to develop that work, then finally examines the changes in faculty roles this type of work requires. Slides and references are below.

Slides

References

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Liberal Education in the Emerging Digital Ecosystem, Slides and References

March 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

Today I’m celebrating the first day of Spring at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA.  We’re expecting snow, and I’ll be talking about Liberal Education in the Emerging Digital Ecosystem.

Slides

References

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Liberal Education in the Emerging Digital Ecosystem

March 14, 2015 § Leave a comment

21st century learning ecosystem

Image designed by St. Edward’s University graphic design students.

On Friday, March 20 I’ll be at Moravian College speaking about “Liberal Education in the Emerging Digital Ecosystem.” This talk builds on work I did with the GEMs project of AAC&U.  I was a member of the digital working group.   I last presented on this work with Randy Bass and Jen Ebbeler at the AAC&U 2015 Annual Meeting.

My talk also builds on our work at St. Edward’s University to create a 21st century learning ecosystem.  We are creating life-long learners, so we must prepare them to learn in the environment in which they will live, work, and solve problems.  This means preparing them for a global, digital world of constant change.  Our vision for the learning ecosystem is not just a set of technologies. It is also a framework for technology use and application and an approach to learning. Creation of the 21st century learning ecosystem requires both the creation and constant reinvention of a technology infrastructure as well as a change in culture of the university.  It means breaking down the boundaries between the classroom, the university, and the world.  In the 21st century learning ecosystem, learning is networked, ubiquitous (cloud-based), digital and face-to-face, formal and informal, heterogeneous, hybrid, high-touch, authentic, and accessible.

Here’s the description I’ve developed for this talk:

How does the emerging digital environment shape teaching and learning in the 21st century? What skills, abilities, and habits of mind do today’s graduates need for their careers and to solve complex problems in this context? The future of liberal education depends upon an integrative vision of digitally-informed learning that is not merely digital content delivery but rather is reshaped in the same ways that digital learning has already fundamentally changed our culture.  This talk will present a vision for implementing liberal education in the emerging digital ecosystem through a curriculum that scaffolds digital engagement from introductory to capstone level courses.

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