Base on the success of previous projects, Professor Aisha Musa assigned her students to select and then edit a Wikipedia article based on their research, Professor Musa wanted her students to experience how it feels to be a professional scholar. The students were required to improve existing Wikipedia article entries with better or more in depth resources and information that targeted a general audience.
Legacies of the Past/Women & Religious (CORE151/RELG234)
Professor Musa first heard about Wikipedia editing projects during her first White Eagle Core Curriculum meeting. Intrigued by what other professors have done at Colgate, she contacted CEL about doing her own editing project. Working with Campus Ambassadors Debbie Krahmer and Sarah Kunze, Professor Musa took advantage of the Wikimedia Education Program to manage 3 semesters of projects. So far, Professor Musa has assigned Wikipedia editing to her CORE151 Legacies of the Past, RELG234 Women & Religious Traditions: Islam, and RELG247 Death and Afterlife: Islam.
By assigning her students to select and then edit a Wikipedia article based on their research, Professor Musa wanted her students to experience how it feels to be a professional scholar. The students were aware from the start that people all over the English-speaking world would be reading their changes, and that other editors would be critical over their contributions. The students felt an extra sense of scholarly responsibility to present an accurate, well-documented, neutral and factual accounting of the topic they spent the semester researching. They also appreciate that their hard work and research will continue to live on and educate other people long after they’ve received their grades.
Over the course of 3 semesters, the project has been updated and refined so that students are able to confidently pursue their research as well as receive guidance on properly editing articles. The students start their projects early, comparing Wikipedia articles to scholarly encyclopedias. Then they must write an in-depth critique of a Wikipedia article with an eye towards what improvements could be made. The students are then put into groups where each group member must justify their choice and negotiate with teammates to identify the best article for the team to work on. The rest of the semester is spent in collaboration with each other, the professor, and the Wikipedia Ambassadors to develop a solid plan supported by research to improve the article. Over the last week of the class, the students edit their article’s page live, making adjustments on the fly due to the constantly evolving nature of Wikipedia.
Collaborative Annotation projects can involve all sorts of materials, from class notes to novels to film. With wikis or Google Sites, one can easily create an interactive, collaborative arena for students to annotate obscure references with images, expand on materials covered in class through video clips, or to make hyperlinked connections between annotations/materials that might not have been covered in class.
Contemporary British Fiction (ENGL 389)
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.
Challenges of Modernity (FSEM 106)
Professor DuComb wanted a social annotation tool to provide a blended learning approach of teaching the difficult text of "Waiting for Godot". CEL introduced Classroom Salon, which is an online tool that allows for the students to collaboratively annotate the text and allows for multiple conversations to happen at the same time.
Conept maps are visual representations of how ideas relate to each other. Students can draw connections between works of art, literature, images, video files, or other media. Concept maps can be used as a presentation tool, as an organization tool for a paper, or as part of a class-wide project connecting ideas across an entire semester.
Challenges of Modernity (CORE152)
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.
We live in a world saturated with maps and geospatial data. Easy to use online tools allow virtually anyone to be their own cartographer. Projects in this area give students opportunities to find and use maps and spatial information, and to create their maps.
Urban Geography (GEOG309)
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.
Architecture of Early Modern Europe (ARTS220) and Intro to Studio Art (ARTS100)
Professor Guile and Professor Shi undertook this project that utilized Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as another kind of “text” or “medium”. Their art classes used GIS as a means of showing how scholars, artists and students alike can generate and use GIS to understand the relationship of time and space to cultural phenomena and the experience of “site.” The integration of GIS technology established cross-disciplinary links between the Arts and Geography departments within humanities research and pedagogical contexts.
Human Rights and Geospatial Monitoring (PCON 301)
As a part of her fall 2012 course on Human Rights and Human Security, 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.
Students use data and textual basis for creating visualizations and then use these visualizations as another way to analyze their projects.
Professor Susan Cerasano's King Lear project involved the use of NodeXL, a Social Network Analysis (SNA) tool that creates visualization of certain relationships. This preliminary project focused on the first scene of King Lear and, through visualizations constructed using student-generated data, the class was able to visually analyze character interaction.
Computers in Arts & Sciences (COSC100) and Senior Seminar in Classics (CLAS400)
This project aims to establish a data-driven, software aided method to study the nature of relationships formed in a human social network. Students of the Humanities can greatly benefit from the concepts, tools, and habits of mind that are central to network science. Professor Nakhimovsky's students in COSC100 learned the computing and science of Social Network Analysis by taking data from Professor Garland's Classics students and using it to learn NodeXL, ultimately producing a visualization for the Classics students to use in their analysis of Julius Caesar’s social network.
Senior Seminar in Sociology (SOCI453)
The Qualitative Data Analysis Laboratory and Archive project was led by Chris Henke and Elana Shever of SOAN. The laboratory part of the project involved setting up a mobile lab with a recharger cart and a number of notebook computers, and virtual desktop software to allow students to easily access the MAXQDA qualitative data analysis software from the mobile lab computers or their own machines. The other half dealt with the creation of a qualitative data archive where student generated research data could be stored and later accessed by future student researchers. The idea is to have students stop reinventing the wheel every semester and instead be able to use and build upon data collected by previous students. The ultimate solution to this need was the creation of a Dataverse called Colgate SOAN Student Data Archive on the Harvard Dataverse Network.
Research Methods in Sociology (SOCI250) and Sociology of Education (SOCI303)
Professor Janel Benson, the team leader for the Mellon Grant “Quantitative Literacy for the Humanistic Social Sciences", collaborated with Professors Alicia Simmons, Mary Simonson, and Meg Worley to create analytic learning modules that teach students how to use quantitative information and technology to critically evaluate the complexities of the social world. CEL members Debbie Krahmer and Ahmad Khazaee supported the goals of this project through developing two-day workshops on creating infographics and data visualizations. During 2013-14, Krahmer and Khazaee offered three of these workshops in Prof Janel Benson's courses. These workshops taught students the principles of effective data visualization and how to use simple tools, such as PowerPoint, easel.ly, and copyright-friendly graphics, to create powerful visual illustrations of numeric relationships.
Sport & the Scientific Method (CORE100)
As part of his Core Scientific Perspectives course, Sport & the Scientific Method, Professor Ken Segall routinely assigns a data collection and analysis project to his students. The students are asked to develop a question about sports which can be answered by quantitative data, collect the data needed, and then analyze the data in order to answer the question. Two forms of support were provided for Prof. Segall’s course. First, Peter Rogers created a course guide that guided students to a variety of sports data sources. Second, Peter and Zlatko Grozl co-taught a class where students learned how to download and “scrap” data from sports data websites using both Mac and Windows-based computers. Prof. Segall was pleased with the course guide and instruction provided, and sports data resources on the course guide are being incorporated into the Libraries’ data discovery site.
Through learning to create blogs and websites, students can create digital-born essays and journals that can reach a greater audience and benefit from real-time annotations and commentary.
Children's Theater Workshop (ENGL 357)
In the spring of 2014 as part of ENGL 357 Children’s Theater Workshop, 15 students took place in an assignment where the students documented the process of making a play. Students utilized the i-pad and blog creation to enhance classroom and studio learning. The result was quite interesting and provided a more immediate way for Professor Sweeny to be in contact with the student’s creative impulse and research. The top blogs were shared with the public attending the performances. After the performances where over the students presented their own blogs to their classmates and talked about an example from another blog that stimulated their thinking.
Sustainability and Natural Resources (GEOG 328)
Professor Autumn Thoyre approached CEL to see if we could support a project in her GEOG 328 class Sustainability and Natural Resources. She came to CEL with an interest in doing a class website built around the idea of "A People's Guide to Energy," which was inspired by a book titled, "A People's Guide to Los Angeles." She wanted something where the various projects could be seen and investigate on a map interface. For this reason, WordPress was selected as the platform because there are numerous geospatial plugins for it. Overall, Professor Thoyre was pleased with the project.
Life of Muhammad (MIST216)
Prof. Aisha Musa had already completed several successful Wikipedia Editing projects, but for her Life of Muhammad class, she wanted something different. She wanted her students to not only be able to engage with the texts and and discover how aspects of the story of Muhammad developed, she wanted them to be able to communicate their learning to a larger audience. Through research and discussion, they were able to analyze, not just summarize what they had read, and then relate that to a general audience through the podcasts. These podcasts are available on Colgate's iTunesU channel.
Social Movements for Education (EDUC 415A)
Professor Nisha Thapliyal wanted her students to be able to communicate their learning to a general audience as well as through the scholarly vehicle of the academic paper. 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. 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.
Craft of Anthropologic Inquiry (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.