Category: Schools and Colleges
How best to introduce a busy faculty member to new educational approaches and technologies? Scheduled for December 15, 2015 and next on April 19, 2016, BUSM faculty attend a drop-in when-you-can, two-hour lab and talk one-on-one with Educational Advisors: media specialists, clinical educators, librarians, and early adopters. Faculty brought their specific course/seminar/educational topic on thumb drives and the Ed Advisors consult with them on how to make it more active learning. Individual stations for different pedagogies such as flipped classrooms, simulation exercises, interactive large lectures, and small group sessions and for different educational technologies such as MS Mix, Personal Capture, and Qualtrics. Faculty casually moved from station to station and asked questions of the Ed Advisors. A looped slide presentation with soft music shows the different resources. Short snapshot presentations by Ed Advisors showcases their topics. Participants receive handouts, resource lists, a relaxing environment and a light lunch. Stop by next Tuesday at noon in the Instructional Building L-206 and join the conversations.
To increase exposure and practice in interpersonal skills, the Geddes Language Center adopted Dill, or “The Digital Language Lab” in the summer of 2014. Classes use Dill for various activities, such as paired conversations, listen and repeat exercises, interpersonal dialogues, oral presentations, and speaking exams all in the effort to increase oral proficiency.
For instructors, the software is very easy to use. As students log in, they appear as an icon on the instructor’s lab controller. Instructors can group students (in pairs, usually) for conversations simply by drawing a line between the students. To make sure students remain on task, instructors can monitor or converse with students by drawing a line between them. Activities can be recorded by the instructor initiating a recording task and assigning it to the class. For individual recordings, students have a recorder with a simple interface. All recordings are saved automatically, and instructors access them via a web interface.
In the Spring 2016 semester to date, 26 instructors representing a number of different foreign languages have brought their classes to the lab to use Dill. Students have reacted positively. Many students prefer being recorded in a booth with a noise isolating headset while speaking instead of having to perform in front of their peers. This allows them to consider their speech instead of possibly being self-conscious, and as a result they tend to generate more speech. Not being able to see the person they are speaking with also allows students to focus on what they’re saying and not their body language.
North America’s leading association for ePortfolios, AAEEBL (Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning) is holding its 2015 Northeast regional meeting right on the Boston University campus, through the College of General Studies, on March 12. Come and learn about different approaches to ePortfolios in education. If you would like the world to know about your ideas or experiences on ePortfolios, there is even room left for new presentations; the proposal deadline (listed as February 9 on the site) has been extended to February 28. You can find out more and register through the conference website. (There is a registration fee to attend.)
The Boston University School of Social Work (BUSSW) was recognized by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) with a Platinum Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning Programming. The USDLA, a nonprofit association and national leader in distance learning, presented its 2014 International Distance Learning Awards on May 5, 2014, in conjunction with its 2014 National Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. More
Registration for BU’s first four MOOCs (massive open online courses) opened on edx.org on 2/25. The four BU courses — Sabermetrics 101 (Andy Andres), War for the Greater Middle East (Andrew Bacevich), The Art of Poetry (Robert Pinsky) & Alien Worlds — join the ranks of those offered by a select group of universities on the Harvard & MIT-founded platform, and hope to appeal to tens of thousands learners around the globe by offering a taste of some of BU’s best.
Supported by BU’s Digital Learning Initiative, MOOCs are a part of a larger campus-wide effort to encourage and support innovative faculty-driven projects in digital learning. As the DLI team wrote in a recent article in InsideHigherEd, now is the time to ask bold questions about the value of residential and online learning, about regional and interdisciplinary pedagogical cooperation, and meaningful metrics about students’ opportunities, agency and resilience in the higher ed ecosystem. It is our hope that MOOCs can be both an active part of and catalyst for engaging with these queries and their complex answers.
Joseph Bizup, Director of BU’s CAS Writing Program, was recently featured in the monthly newsletter for Digication, the ePortfolio software BU uses. We’re including the text of the interview here, by kind permission of Digication:
Professor Joseph Bizup is currently Associate Professor in the Department of English at Boston University, and Assistant Dean and Director of the CAS Writing Program. His outstanding career encompasses distinguished scholarly contributions to literary criticism and rhetorical theory, as well as academic service positions, and writing program administration in some of the country’s most prestigious institutions: Yale University (97-99, 2001-2002), Columbia University (2002-2008), Boston University (2008-present).
Digication Learning Director: Professor Bizup, let’s start by talking a bit about your career’s trajectory. You started as a scholar of Victorian literature, but your research took you close to questions about technology, and the ways in which technology is relevant to human culture more generally. You discussed the often-invoked divide between technology and culture, and explained how the opposition can be dissolved. These questions are more than relevant in the present cultural and educational context. Could you tell our readers how you see the current interplay between technology and culture in general, and especially, what you consider to be the benefits of technology for humanistic education? More
We invite faculty who are interested in COMSOL Multiphysics to a local event and encourage them to share information on this potentially great learning experience with students.
COMSOL is used by to engineers, chemists, physicists, biologists, and anyone else interested in modeling and simulation of real-world multiphysics systems: simulations that involve multiple physical models or multiple simultaneous physical phenomena. More
To highlight the best work of their students, the College of General Studies – where all students produce an interdisciplinary ePortfolio as part of their program curriculum – recently introduced an ePortfolio Showcase. Out of over 1000 student ePortfolios, each team of faculty nominated a student that it thought produced the best porfolio. A peer mentor and the assistant dean for interdisciplinary learning selected the winners from among these: three freshmen (Kyle Cowper, Natalie Fritz and Nicole Jefferson) and a sophomore (Nahomi Velasquez). The winners received a $100 gift card from the BU Bookstore. Screenshots of the winners now scroll across the screen of the lobby at CGS, and Nahomi Velasquez’s winning portfolio is available for public viewing on the web.
BU’s School of Hospitality Administration (SHA) has recently adopted ePortfolios as a way for students to display their accomplishments in the program’s required internship courses. ePortfolios allow students to document and showcase what they have done in their professional career while studying. The ePortfolio requirement encourages students to start thinking about their career paths from their first internship, by gathering materials and documents that they may find useful in charting their future careers. The many documents they post include: a résumé, a cover letter, a sample thank-you letter to an interviewer, a LinkedIn profile, information about jobs applied for, reflection on a mock interview, an elevator speech, documentation of a networking event, and a reflection on the experience. This ePortfolio documentation helps students make the job-search process an integral part of their SHA career.
Sophie Godley often begins the semester in her community-health class by setting ground rules, including expectations for electronic media. She gently teases students that perhaps they can spare an hour or two away from communicating with others, with particular reference to Facebook, and instead focus on themselves and their learning. During one of these conversations, it struck her that Facebook also had potential as a positive learning resource. Prof. Godley’s students often emailed her links to articles relevant to the current class’s material, and she thought that Facebook offered an easy way for them to share those articles with each other directly.
In fall 2012, she created Facebook pages for her classes at both undergraduate and graduate levels, which she invited students to “like”. She made it clear that students did not have to be her Facebook “friend”, and that participation in the page was voluntary. She has now started three different pages for the three classes she teaches, and has reached 462 students. In addition to generating student content and discussion, past and present students can interact on the page. Prof. Godley can post jobs and internships, and include both current and former students. She can also ask questions about articles and generate back-and-forth in the comments. She has also found it “relatively painless” to manage the Facebook pages, compared to many other administrative tasks of teaching.