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.

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 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.