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CEL Project Archive

Academic Posters

Environmental Justice
Before coming to Colgate, Prof. Shangrila Wynn had never assigned poster projects to her students. Working with CEL, both sections of Prof. Wynn’s Fall 2012 Environmental Justice course, ENST 232, did final poster projects. Working in groups of two to three students, each group selected a specific example of an environmental injustice and then created a poster on that case. CEL-supported instruction consisted of a combined IT/librarian class on poster creation and visual literacy, followed by an optional poster workshop, then a peer review session, and finally a poster session in the Atrium of the Ho Science Center. CEL also provided Wynn with a grading rubric for posters and other material she needed to teach this assignment. The poster session was well attended by students from outside the class, and Wynn was generally satisfied with the students’ work.
CORE Peru Times Two
There were two sections of CORE 177 – Peru in the spring of 2012, one taught by Prof. Amy Groleau and the other by Prof. Maureen Hays-Mitchell, and both of them used posters as the medium for their major research projects. Both followed a similar path of development with an initial librarian-led general information literacy class, then a combined IT/librarian class on poster creation and visual literacy, followed by an optional poster workshop, and finally the student oral presentations which used the poster as a prop to supplement the oral presentation. While both faculty were generally pleased with the quality of the posters, there was a sense that they were not used to their best advantage. Either a more conventional poster session should be arranged in the future, or there should also be some degree of discussion/instruction on oral presentations.
“Virtual” Posters II
Prof. Amy Groleau’s Spring 2012 Introduction to Anthropology, SOAN 102, class created virtual posters to complement their research papers on cultural change. Students worked in groups of four with each group focusing on a particular cultural community and each member of the group working on a particular dimension of cultural change underway in the community. The students produced individual research papers but came together in their groups to produce a poster and talk that explored all four cultural changes. The poster thus provided students with a space for collaborative work as well as an opportunity to tell their stories of cultural change using primarily visual images. Unfortunately, the layout of the classroom worked against the virtual posters as the posters were projected onto a screen located over the heads of the student presenters, and it was very difficult to see what was on the posters.
Nationalism and Arab Identity in the 20th Century
Students in Professor Noor Khan's history class on Nationalism and Arab Identity in the 20th Century (HIST 359, Fall 2011) prepared academic posters to communicate their findings with a broader audience. Khan had students write a longer paper on their topics, but she also wanted students to express their ideas through a poster in order to prioritize their major points and practice an economy of language. In a group review session, students presented their penultimate drafts and took comments on the cogency of their arguments, relevance of their evidence, and the effectiveness of their presentation. With the support of Charlotte Droll and Rebecca Hewitt (Libraries) and Ahmad Khazaee (ITS), students learned how to analyze arguments presented in this medium and to prepare effective instances of their own. Khan was pleased with the students' work, and the posters were displayed in the Level 3 reading area of Case-Geyer.
An Alternate Audience
Prof. Jonathan Levine approached CEL in the summer of 2011 with yet another interesting twist on the standard poster project. Following a colleague's suggestion, he wanted his Fall 2011 FSEM121, "The Air Up There," students to create academic posters for a session attended by Hamilton High School earth science students. This non-traditional class audience changed the role of the student presenters, making them more of the expert for their topic, and served to expand the nature and range of the questions they were asked. 

The poster session at the end of the semester was held in the halls of the first floor of the Ho Science Center, complete with the invited high-school students, teachers, and Colgate faculty attendees. Levine introduced the event (and the ever-popular refreshments) and then the Colgate experts discussed their research in a traditional poster session. 

The audience variance was emphasized in at least one topic. The student presenting on lake-effect snow needed to discuss the topic not only with high schoolers, but with Prof. Adam Burnett (GEOG), an expert in the field! And hopefully the audience continues to grow since the posters are still hanging in Ho. 

Levine has since presented the results of his assignment at a physics teaching symposium.
"Virtual" Posters
For her Fall 2011 Intro to Anthropology course, Professor Elana Shever, SOAN, wanted a student project which incorporated the aspects of posters (e.g., short, concise writing elements; visual components; group presentation) without the overhead of poster printing. We worked with her to create a virtual poster session, where student works were projected rather than printed. 

Still a concept in progress (it requires a special space and lot of time to configure a presentation space), Shever repeated this project in Spring 2012. Some of the special "poster" requirements for this type of project are being incorporated into our poster web site.
Core China & Core Peru
In fall 2010, Professor Carolyn Hsu (Core China) and Professor Maureen Hays-Mitchell (Core Peru) had their students create academic posters to build their visual literacy. These students worked to develop an argument that mixed sparse amounts of text with visual representations of data, such as charts, graphs, photos, etc. As part of a realistic poster presentation session, the students explained and defended their conclusions to their classmates. Afterward, the posters remained hanging in public areas for other members of the community to view.
Introduction to Anthropology / Margaret Wehrer (SOAN102)
Prof. Margaret Wehrer's first academic poster project in the Fall of 2008 was one of several informal experiments with this medium, transitioning into a full-fledged CEL project in Spring 2009. The goal of the Introduction to Anthropology poster project was to involve her students in the creation of academic work that transcended the traditional paper, exposing them to visual presentation elements and an audience beyond the professor. The students' works were to be presented not in a stack of papers to be read by Wehrer, but to an audience of their peers and others in a realistic academic poster session. Content -- ideas -- had to be synthesized into a very condensed, visual format, combining more selective, precise wording supplemented by graphical elements, and then presented and discussed with others in the class. 

Subsequent to the formal CEL project, Wehrer has continued to work with CEL members Debbie Krahmer, Clarence Maybee, and Dan Wheeler to refine the poster assignment over subsequent semesters, improving the technical and visual-arts orientation sessions with students, and refining the preliminary student assignments to better lead to a successful capstone poster. CEL has attempted to improve the technical processes to reduce the complexity and time required to create the posters, and has participated in the planning and conduct of the poster presentations (hosted in Case-Geyer), and has arranged for poster displays in the Library after the presentations. 

Student feedback to the poster projects has been very positive, and Wehrer has been particularly impressed with the capacity for this medium to allow students to review, understand, and reflect on the work of others.


Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies / Tyrell Haberkorn (PEAC111)
- Read about it on the Colgate News & Events
- Watch Professor Haberkorn and her students discuss the project
- Information Literacy Impact - Read Professor Haberkorn's Assignment Sheet
Basics of Bioethics / Suzanne Holland (RELG 264)
Inspired by an earlier CEL project, Suzanne Holland, NEH Professor of the Humanities, wanted her Basics of Bioethics students to contribute their undergraduate perspectives on the timely issue of health care reform to a broad audience and to engage in collective inquiry with at least one other classmate. Therefore, with the support of CEL members Charlotte Droll and Ray Nardelli, she asked her students to, together with a partner, identify an aspect of their own choosing, and prepare one segment of a podcast series that was hosted in iTunes and is available to the general public.  

Students were first asked to critically evaluate health care reform–related podcasts. This critical evaluation, which included appraising how effectively the authors used information sources, was reapplied at key points throughout the project, including a peer review of one another’s recordings and ultimately applied to their own podcasts. Students met in pairs outside of class with the professor and librarian to share their intended topics and to brainstorm approaches. Students met in class with radio writer Rebekah Mosby to ask questions about communicating with a listening audience. Students recorded their podcasts outside of class in several informal audio studios in the Case Library and Geyer Center for Information Technology; they also learned to use GarageBand editing software on a Macintosh to edit their recording independently. At the end of the semester, each podcast was presented to the rest of the class, receiving brief general discussion and a closer peer evaluation from one other pair. 

Students greatly appreciated being able to choose their own topics and having the assignment broken up into stages, and they were energized by the task of informing themselves on such an important and contemporary issue and having an audience beyond that of solely their professor. Initially, several students were anxious about the process of creating a podcast as none had done so before, but the software and the instruction provided by the information technologist and the realization that there were similarities between preparing a podcast and other academic work eased those anxieties greatly.  

Holland was very satisfied with the students’ work and was interested in using the assignment when she returns to her home institution. Simultaneously using several small rooms in Case-Geyer as informal audio studios required the assistance of an additional information technology staff member but proved a workable alternative to the lengthier schedule using the Burke Audio Studio would have required. The out-of-class meetings that the librarian and professor held with each of the student pairs required additional time from all parties but had the benefit of clarifying directions and options early in the process and of facilitating the co-creation of a resource guide that arose from and responded directly to the students’ stated interests.
Social Movements for Education / Nisha Thapliyal (EDUC 415A)
Inspired by Professor Haberkorn's earlier CEL project, Nisha Thapliyal, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies, wanted her Social Movements for Education students to be able to communicate their learning to a general audience as well as through the scholarly vehicle of the academic paper. Therefore, with the support of CEL members Ray Nardelli, Clarence Maybee, and Debbie Krahmer, she asked her students to each produce one segment of a podcast series that was hosted in iTunes.

Students were first asked to critically evaluate education-related podcasts available on the web. This critical evaluation, which included appraising how effectively the authors used information sources, was reapplied at key points throughout the project, including a peer review of one another’s recordings and ultimately applied to their own individual podcast. Students recorded their individual podcasting in the Burke Audio Studio in Case Library and Geyer Center for Information Technology and learned to use GarageBand editing software to edit their recording independently. 

Having to present their conclusions in a popular medium was quite challenging for the students, requiring them to rethink how to boil down their academic findings to be digestible for an audience of laypeople. However, the students also came to realize the significance of sharing their work with a wider audience — many reporting that sharing their semester’s conclusions in iTunes motivated them to greater heights.

Video Narratives

F12 – Geography 311 – Urban Geography
With her Fall 2012 Urban Geography class, Prof. Jessica Graybill incorporated two CEL-related projects, a Google Earth-based assignment and a video narrative. As it turned out, students on their own initiative incorporated what they learned about Google Earth into their video work.  

The Google Earth assignment focused on teaching students various city forms and types. Having learned the general types, such as feudal, socialist, post-industrial, etc., the students then sought out examples of each type on Google Earth. They also made a short tour linking three of their cities and saved that as a KML file. This assignment was accompanied by a librarian/IT instruction session.

For their video narrative projects, the students worked with the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees and interview immigrants to the United States about their experiences settling in Utica, N.Y. The students worked intensively with the IT staff of the new Digital Learning and Media Center and also received some library instruction on how best to obtain copyright-friendly images, video, and audio for their projects.
S12-Classics 250EA - Extended Study in Rome and Pompeii
This spring, Prof. Rebecca Ammerman repeated her successful video project on another extended study trip, this time to Rome and Pompeii. The course examines both public and private life in ancient times and looks at every socio-economic class. While the focus is on Rome, the agricultural and seaside towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum are also studied. Through the texts of Livy, Tacitus, Virgil and other selected readings, students will follow the rise of Rome from its Etruscan origins to the height of its empire. Participants are also required to take on a semester-long research project to be presented on-site in Italy and create a five to 10-minute video narrative on life in Pompeii focused on one of three houses: The House of the Faun, The House of Menander, and the House of the Ship Europa. Students were assigned identities within the family and showed in their videos how those family members and servants lived life in ancient Pompeii. 

Working with Sarah Kunze and Debbie Krahmer, students learned how to use iPads to take still pictures, shoot video, record voice-overs and interviews and then combine all of their footage and edit it using iMovie. Listen to Ammerman and a couple of her students reflect on their experiences after participating in both extended study groups on the CEL website.
S11-Classics 250EA Extended Study in Greece
Prof. Rebecca Ammerman and her 11 students went to Greece on a three-week extended study trip after studying the previous semester. Ancient Athens was the focus of the course that traced the rise of the Greek city-state, or polis, with all of its political, economic, social, and religious institutions. The course examined the different structures that defined the identity of an individual in ancient Greece in chronological sequence, from the earliest urban centers of the Bronze Age up to the conquest of the independent city-states by Philip of Macedon in 338 B.C.E. The identity of an individual, not only within a single polity but also within the broader Pan-Hellenic context, was investigated.

During the previous semester, students worked with Sarah Kunze and Debbie Krahmer to learn Final Cut Studio and practiced the skills they would need to complete a video narrative project while in Greece. More information and footage from the trip can be seen on the Classics website.
S12-Geography 322 - Ecologies of the City
In Spring 2012, Jessica Graybill repeated her successful video narrative project with her Ecologies of the City class. Students researched different cities and created video projects that demonstrated their understanding of ecologies of cities, systems mapping, and the production of spatial ecologies of the city. Applying both theoretical and methodological perspectives on ecologies of the city learned in the various course components (readings, discussions, workshop projects, and video creation), students became proficient in geographic approaches to this emerging field of inquiry and practice.

Working with Sarah Kunze and Charlotte Droll, the students created three to four-minute video narratives on their chosen cities. Projects are posted on YouTube with an introduction by Graybill.
F11-Environmental Studies 390
Disseminating the results of local research to a global audience was the motivation for students to prepare video narratives about Colgate campus sustainability projects. In addition to writing an extensive report, students in Professor April Baptiste's ENST 390 Community-Based Study of Environmental Issues identified a focus that could be effectively communicated in that medium and to a campus and global audience. Students created brief (3-5 minutes) narratives that summarized the issue and laid out their recommendations.  

Working with Sarah Kunze and Ray Nardelli (Information Technology Services) and Charlotte Droll (University Libraries) students analyzed video examples in light of recommended elements, drafted their own scripts, and gave each other feedback. They consciously wrestled with how to get at and keep a single focus amidst complex issues. One student noted: "It forced me to synthesize the main points made by our interviewees, and figure out what was most important to portray and how to portray it. This, in turn, increased my understanding of the project and made writing the paper easier." Another student said: "Video plays an increasingly important role in communication, education, and marketing. The more comfortable I get with this software and the general film-making process, the more valuable these skills become."  

In reflecting on the experience Baptiste indicated: "I wanted to have my students illustrate a sustainability problem currently facing Colgate and then be able to explain that to a non-specialist audience. They were to take a component of their larger research paper and create a video to demonstrate this to a general audience. The students were nervous and concerned about making the video at the start of the semester, but when they saw the finished projects, they were in awe."
F11-Special Education EDUC307
Sheila Clonan, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies, repeated her successful Digital Storytelling project in her Special Education 307 class in the fall of 2011. Based on the feedback from last year’s project, she updated her timeline and milestones, and focused on making the stories more personal. By shortening the timeline for completing the project, she allowed her students to focus on the other tasks in the class. In the end, the students were able to create beautiful videos over a short time period, telling personal stories of disability/ability, media stereotypes, and the everyday life of a person with a disability.

Supported by CEL Members Sarah Kunze and Debbie Krahmer (with the assistance of Ray Nardelli and Sam Ward), Clonan had her students complete an early proposal for their projects at the start of the semester. An in-class Story Circle was used for the students to present their rough drafts or ideas and receive feedback from peers. The students were given only three weeks from the Final Cut Pro workshop to when the projects were due. During this time, they worked on their own with the assistance of the Mac Media Lab staff in Case-Geyer. A week before the due date, every student had a personal draft screening with a Video Journalist to receive feedback and further guidance. Once all the films were handed in, a special screening was held in the Persson Auditorium. 

By adjusting the due dates and requiring the draft screening with a video expert, the students were encouraged to focus on their video projects and avoid procrastination. The students remarked that working one-on-one with various staff was the best way to learn video editing. “[The project] was fun once I got into it,” said one student, who described herself as “completely computer illiterate.”   

After the project was completed, Clonan reflected on the two different approaches to using digital storytelling in the classroom. “I really enjoyed the project this year as well- being due earlier, etc., and look forward to doing it again next year,” she said. “Oddly, when I tried asking them to discuss reactions orally in class, I didn't get much; but their final papers reflecting on the project revealed the significance/contribution of the project to their learning.”
S11-Urban Political Ecology
During the spring 2011 term, students in Jessica Graybill’s Geography 322 class, Urban Political Ecology, made short films documenting ecological issues in the world’s urban centers. Each student’s film focus grew out of a series of group work that culminated in the independent film project. Topics ranged from the impact of hosting a big sporting event like the World Cup to trans-continent oil pipelines and how they affect the people and places they pass. Students participated in Final Cut Pro training sessions as well as an in-depth discussion about the role of the image in the final film and considering copyright and fair use in selecting images. They worked closely with Graybill to craft their text, editing and revising throughout the process. The final films were posted to YouTube with a Google site for the student’s bibliographies.

F11-Documenting Colgate History
Students in two sections of History Workshop (HIST 200) created documentary videos presenting three-minute histories explaining people and events from Colgate’s past. Topics included the controversy surrounding President Cutten, the student-led push to build Dana Center for the Arts, student protests to save the Old Biology building (current day Hascal Hall), as well as many other topics.  

Professors Rob Nemes and Alan Cooper worked with the CEL team of Francesca Livermore, Sarah Kunze, and Clarence Maybee, adapting CEL’s digital storytelling framework to create documentary films. The students were prepared to make their own films by critiquing a number of historical films for content as well as documentary techniques. Students worked with Special Collections and University Archives to research their topics and find and digitize images to use in their documentaries. Workshops were held to teach the students to use FinalCut Pro to create and edit their videos. Various in-class review sessions on defining their topic and developing their scripts helped the students meet the challenge of making concise arguments with appropriate evidence to persuade their audience in the space of a three-minute documentary film. The students also wrote a research paper on the same topic as their videos. Some students reported that working within the confined space of the three-minute video helped them to identify the key points they needed to zero in on to write a more effect paper.

The final videos were posted to playlists on YouTube
F10-Special Education Digital Storytelling Project
In the fall of 2010, Sheila Clonan, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies, wanted her Special Education 307 class to engage with the topics in class in a different way. In the past, Sheila had her students write a long research paper. Based on her experience over the summer in the Video Narrative Workshop, Clonan developed a digital storytelling project centering on education and disabilities. Influenced by the documentary Shooting Beauty, Sheila's main goals in the project were for her students to reflect on what they know and don't know about disability/ability, examine societal assumptions, and give voice to a story that might otherwise go untold.

Supported by CEL members Sarah Kunze and Debbie Krahmer, Clonan had her students brainstorm ideas in a story circle, attend a training workshop on the software, and have regular check-ins with Sarah, Sheila, Debbie and Digital Media support students to help create digital narratives using audio recorders and Final Cut Pro video editing software. Several written assignments over the course of the semester helped the students identify a story they wanted to tell and develop their script or story plan. Their final project was a three to five-minute video and a five to seven-page paper which analyzes their own video and goals in the context of special education theory. The students presented their work to the class at the end of the semester. The videos included interviews, mainstream media mashups, personal stories, and collaborative performances.
F09-Craft of Anthropologic Inquiry / Emilio Spadola (SOAN 211)
In the fall of 2009, Emilio Spadola, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, wanted his Craft of Anthropologic Inquiry students to become more aware of the responsibility involved when representing other people as they took their initial steps in learning about anthropological research methods. In the past, Spadola had students in this class interview members of select Colgate communities and then produce a written report of their findings. 

This term, supported by CEL members Ray Nardelli and Clarence Maybee, Emilio had the students record their interviews and edit the recorded material into narratives. Using National Public Radio’s (NPR) This American Life series as a model, the students used hand-held recorders to collect interview material and learned to use GarageBand editing software to create digital stories that conveyed their analysis of a particular issue using firsthand accounts. At the end of the semester, each student presented the culmination of their semester-long work to the rest of the class.

Wikipedia Editing

Modern History of the Middle East / Noor Khan (HIST459)
In the spring 2010 semester, Professor Noor Khan challenged her senior seminar students to improve sections of Wikipedia as part of her History 459 course on Modern Middle East History. Course requirements also included active participation in class discussions, oral presentations, and a lengthy traditional research paper. The Wikipedia assignment was designed to accomplish the following learning goals:
  • YouTube Video
  • Consideration of multiple readers' perspectives and writing for diverse audiences
  • Development of critical literacy skills such as evaluating the quality of existing content and the sources that it is based on
  • Appreciating the issues involved in being part of a larger intellectual enterprise and collaborating to create scholarly content
Students received instruction on working in Wikipedia from CEL member Dave Baird. They were assisted with creating user names, adding and editing content, and conducting discussions that explained their changes to existing authors. Khan felt that the project succeeded in forcing the students to change from consumers of information to creators of knowledge, and in honing their skills in prioritizing their content so that it would fit in a typical Wiki-length article. She was impressed at how engaged the students were due to the public nature of their projects, and how mindful they were of being part of a global editing community.

Collaborative Annotations

Contemporary British Fiction / John Connor
Assistant Professor of English John Connor wanted his students to compile a scholarly apparatus for understanding a very dense novel in his Contemporary British Fiction class. After consulting with Learning Commons Librarian Debbie Krahmer and Senior Instructional Technologist Dan Wheeler, Connor developed a Google Site for the class. Students were assigned to identify one obscure reference each class period, research that reference, and then write up an annotation on the Google Site to help other students navigate through the text. The entire class participated, writing up short explanations of arcane references, adding in video or images where appropriate, and connecting it to other references or explaining its importance to the novel. Students were able to link to further resources, cite materials, and connect their annotations to other student annotations on the Google Site. In the end, the students had compiled a large reading guide to assist their navigation of the text. Students reported that they enjoyed researching the annotations, and that it gave them a sense of control over a difficult and unwieldy text. Connor is looking forward to repeating this exercise in future classes, with other novels.

Concept Maps

Core 152 / Monika Burczyk
Motivated by a desire to deepen her Core 152 students' understanding of the many and varied connections among the ideas addressed in the course to their contemporary lives, Monika Burczyk had her students create concept maps to visually illustrate the number, quality, and kind of connections they could make. Working with Charlotte Droll (University Libraries) and Sarah Kunze (Information Technology Services), students used a concept mapping software that allowed them to embed text, images, sound, and video clips to represent and enrich their points; students also explored issues surrounding the appropriate use of others' creations and became aware of media materials available for common public use. Students worked in small groups and presented their concept maps in class as prompts for discussion. Students were generally surprised at the number of connections they were able to identify once they got going and found that they were able to represent connections in this visual format that they might not have been able to otherwise. One student even reported using the approach for a different assignment. The instructor found it a useful way to assess the students' understanding and independently re-used the approach for a different assignment for spring 2011.

Digital Mapping

F12 – Geography 311 – Urban Geography
With her fall 2012 Urban Geography class, Prof. Jessica Graybill incorporated two CEL-related projects, a Google Earth-based assignment and a video narrative. As it turned out, students on their own initiative incorporated what they learned about Google Earth into their video work.  

The Google Earth assignment focused on teaching students various city forms and types. Having learned the general types, such as feudal, socialist, post-industrial, etc., the students then sought out examples of each type on Google Earth. They also made a short tour linking three of their cities and saved that as a KML file. This assignment was accompanied by a librarian/IT instruction session.

For their video narrative projects, the students worked with the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees and interview immigrants to the United States about their experiences settling in Utica, N.Y. The students worked intensively with the IT staff of the new Digital Learning and Media Center and also received some library instruction on how best to obtain copyright-friendly images, video, and audio for their projects.
Human Rights and Geospatial Monitoring
As a part of her fall 2012 course on Human Rights and Human Security, PCON 301, Professor Susan Thompson wanted to introduce her class to the way in which human rights protection has been affected the proliferation of space-based surveillance systems and digital mapping tools. In addition to reading:
Bromley, Lars (2009) "Eye in the Sky: Monitoring Human Rights Abuses Using Geospatial Technology." Georgetown Journal of International Affairs 10(1): 160.

Thompson wanted her class to have some hands-on practical experience with the technology discussed in the article. A librarian-led session on Google Earth was conducted that introduced students to the basics of Google Earth navigation and how to find and download human-rights geospatial data in KML files. Particular emphasis was placed on AAS Geotechnologies and Human Rights Project web site, http://srhrl.aaas.org/geotech/. While there was no specific assignment associated with this project, the students were enthusiastic about using Google Earth as a tool for studying human rights, and Thompson was pleased with the outcome.</details