May 4, 2009

Longo's work highlighted in OIT Tech Brief

Bernadette Longo's faculty fellowship work on using mobile devices and social networking tools to enhance communication among stakeholders in First Step Initiative, a non-profit microfinance organization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is represented in the recent OIT Tech Brief article, A Mobile University.

April 27, 2009

Media in Transition conference at MIT

Just returned from a great conference at MIT( where I presented a paper on my FFP project on mobile technologies and social networks. You can take a look at all the conference papers at the conference link, including mine on our project at

I would also encourage you to check out the resources at the Center for Future Civic Media at since some of these ideas and projects also pertain to the work we're doing on emerging learning environments.

The conference theme was Storage and Transmission and we spent a lot of time discussing...

Continue reading "Media in Transition conference at MIT" »

April 3, 2009

Educause Quarterly AND Educause Review feature Learning Spaces

The new Educause Quarterly (vol. 32, no. 1, 2009) has a number of articles on learning spaces, including the lead article, Using the PAIR-up Model to Evaluate Active Learning Spaces, by the U of M's own Aimee L. Whiteside, Linda Jorn, Ann Hill Duin, and Steve Fitzgerald:

Another article of interest is The Revolution No One Noticed: Mobile Phones and Multimobile Services in Higher Education by Alan K. Livingston (Weber State University).

In a rare occurrence, Educause Review (vol. 44, no. 2, March/April 2009) also features articles on Learning Spaces!

Great stuff. Enjoy!

March 29, 2009

How Mobile Are We?

Interesting Pew study on Internet Typologies finds 39% of the adult population have increased their use and reliance on mobile devices; 61% are less drawn to this form of technology.

See for article.

Ten typologies were listed: Digital Collaborators, Ambivalent Networkers, Media Movers, Roving Nodes, Mobile Newbies, Desktop Veterans, Drifting Surfers, Information Encumbered, Tech Indifferent, and Off the Network.

You can take their quiz to see what typology fits you - Share it here and tell us why it does/doesn't fit.
I would have told you mine, but the quiz was "down" for modifications!

March 27, 2009

EDUCAUSE Midwest Regional Conference

We just returned from EDUCAUSE Midwest Regional Conference in Chicago. Four of the fellows attended the conference and three of our Digital Media Center colleagues were also in attendance. This was the first time at this particular conference for most of us. We had a session entitled Transforming the University: Teaching and learning in emerging learning environments. We wanted to share our projects, but primarily our goal was to discuss and share the themes emerging from our projects and the movement at the University for teaching and learning in emerging learning environments. Kim Wilcox introduced the Faculty Fellowship Program, the four fellows gave a brief introduction to our projects, and then we engaged the audience in a Q and A discussion around the rewards and challenges of teaching and learning in the emerging learning environments. We recorded the session, so once it is available online, we'll post a link on the blog.

Here's our abstract: More higher education institutions are embracing opportunities to encourage faculty to teach in emerging learning environments and faculty are beginning to explore how they might utilize them to enhance student learning. This presentation will focus on four faculty projects and the common themes emerging from collaborating on scholarship of teaching and learning and grounding technology-enhanced learning in pedagogy and learner outcomes. These common themes include best practices in an active learning classroom, team-based learning, and web-based delivery of interactive cases. These faculty members are collaborating to identify common struggles, unexpected challenges, and rewards in the realization of their projects.

February 27, 2009

Minnesota Daily mentions our work with Facebook

Check out today's story from the UMN daily paper on Facebook at UMN

February 5, 2009

A field of opportunity

One of the most beneficial parts of the Faculty Fellowship Program for me (so far) is the collaboration and conversation. From one-on-ones with consultants in the DMC to our regular meetings as a group to the weekly planning meetings I am starting to have with my teaching assistant for the course (funded through the fellowship), each conversation starts with one idea that blossoms into a field of opportunity. I've written elsewhere on this blog about how my project began with revising curriculum for the active learning classroom and morphed into the scholarship of teaching and learning in a digital age. And I returned to that realization this week.

As I sat with my TA to answer questions she had about my class taught in the active learning classroom, and to brainstorm ways she could help me prepare for the summer when I will teach it again, our conversation went from team-based learning to the use of video clips to provide perspective to our students to re-focusing the final exam to fit more with a collaborative approach to recording lectures as Breeze presentations in order to save face-to-face time for higher level thinking and learning. I think each of these pieces adds to a new form of scholarship. How do we meet the needs of our students by meeting them in their tech-enabled worlds? How do we re-vision the face-to-face classroom time to teach skills of collaboration and connection that they will be expected to have by the businesses that hire them to be knowledge workers? And, since I teach prospective teachers, how can I prepare them to meet the needs of their own students, who are most likely connected to digital devices for the majority of their days?

This realization and others, the collaboration, and the connections we are making throughout the Faculty Fellowship Program are, for me, the core of the experience. Regardless of the foci of our individual projects, the results of the evaluations, or the success of our initiatives, the field of opportunity I see before me is what I value most.

January 9, 2009

A long view of the short history…

As often happens this time of year, we've been doing some reflecting. Wow! This is the 9th year of the Digital Media Center’s (DMC) Faculty Fellowship Program (FFP); we’ve been co-managers for 5 of those years. First, we'd like to say that it's been a real privilege to work with the diverse group of thoughtful, dedicated, and forward-thinking educators who comprise our group of fellows, past and present. They have delighted, challenged, and inspired us over those years. And, as managers of a mature program, it occurs to us that we are uniquely positioned to offer some observations about faculty development and technology-mediated learning--we’ll call this the long view of the short history of the Faculty Fellowship Program at the University of Minnesota. We’ll start with an overview of the program, broken into three phases, and finish with some reflections about the changes that continue to shape our program.

Continue reading "A long view of the short history…" »

Webspiration for content mapping

One of our bright doctoral students in Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication just sent this to our group and I thought it might be interesting the the readers of this blog, too. With great thanks to Dawn, here it is...B

For those of you who use concept maps (like Inspiration or Kidspiration) or online collaborative tools, the Inspiration team have come out with an online version called Webspiration.

Webspiration is the new online visual thinking tool that's ideal for studying, planning and organizing projects and documents, when you work individually or collaboratively with others.

Continue reading "Webspiration for content mapping" »

December 15, 2008

Using Facebook in Class

I'm planning my spring 2009 WRIT 5112 Information Design class in which we will partner with First Step Initiative, a non-profit microfinance organization working with women entrepreneurs in the Democratic Republic of Congo. You can learn more about this class and First Step Initiative by selecting this course link to see our video course description. You can also take a look at the First Step Initiative website for more information.

We have created a Facebook group for First Step Initiative and members are joining all the time. I would like to incorporate this group into my WRIT 5112 course as a place where we could meet and work with people from all over the world. I'm currently designing the course and would like some more ideas/suggestions for incorporating our Facebook group into the course.

So the purpose of my post is to ask you for your ideas about using Facebook in an information design class. Please post your suggestions here and THANKS!

November 24, 2008

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Goes Digital?

The more time I spend thinking about my own faculty fellowship project (redesigning curriculum for a new learning space, specifically the active learning classroom) and attend Faculty Fellowship Program meetings, the more I think what we are really doing is delving into a new version of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

For example, I was first tech-driven in my redesign for my fellowship: "How can I use the affordances of the active learning classroom to enhance School and Society, an educational foundations course for initial teaching licensure students?" Now, as I am thinking about team-based learning, designing cooperative learning groups in 3s and 9s (easily afforded by the space), revamping projects to take advantage of Web 2.0 tools like wikis, blogs, and social networking sites, I realize that I am re-visioning my teaching and my students' learning.

Perhaps taking the focus from technology-enhanced learning to "The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Goes Digital" is the way to go? What do you think?

November 16, 2008

What's new in computer facilities for teaching and learning?

The design of computer-enhanced classrooms and our approaches to teaching and learning in those environments has certainly come a long way since the time when we basically taught in computer labs with rows of desktop computers. If you’ve ever tried to do that, you know that those students in the middle by the wall are pretty much out of your range. And I can’t tell you how many conversations about teaching in computer classrooms that I’ve had where at some point one of us says, “…and you have no idea what they’re doing on those computers. They’re probably reading email…? Or something even more objectionable.

Fortunately, we have more options for computer-enhanced teaching these days and the OIT-DMC Faculty Fellows met last week with Simin Hickman and Jamil Jabr from the UMN Office of Information Technology to learn more about directions that the University is taking for computer-supported learning environments. These are the highlights of that conversation from my notes:

Continue reading "What's new in computer facilities for teaching and learning?" »

November 14, 2008

Person-based computing and the classroom of tomorrow

The following graph from Julie Evans indicates that cell phone use among kindergarten through second graders is at a whopping 40 percent!


Steve Fitzgerald from the Office of Classroom Management points out that this is the future of mobile learning and that we at the University of Minnesota better be ready for it. Fitzgerald challenges us to think about mobile learning as part and parcel of classroom design because, he argues, person-based (mobile) computing is replacing infrastructure-based computing (think computer labs). “There’s a fundamental difference between the rooms that some people on campus would like us to build—a computer lab type of place that has a lot of computing infrastructure in the room—and the direction we’re trying to go,? which is a classroom that accommodates “whatever computing device walks in the door.?

Watch a short clip of Steve Fitzgerald. (Video will open in a new browser window or tab.)

November 13, 2008

Meet the Faculty Fellows

Over the next few weeks, we will be posting short video introductions of the fellows and their projects. Look for them in the Links section to the right.

November 4, 2008

Comments problem remedied, we believe

We've adjusted our junk filters, so we hope that we won't have any additional problems. Please feel free to post a comment to any of our entries--we look forward to reading your reactions and suggestions.