Dr. Lou Martin – History


Project Overview

My goal has been to design the first digital humanities course for the History program, and I am teaching that course this semester.  The course is titled HIS 309 Digital Local History, and in it, students learn about an aspect of local history, study some of the primary opportunities and challenges of using digital media to analyze and interpret histories, and then use available primary and secondary sources to create an online local history exhibit.

Digital Humanities has recently become an important subfield in multiple disciplines, including history.  It encompasses using digital technologies in research as well as presentation of findings.  In the field of history, scholars are increasingly relying on digitized texts and images in their research.  More and more archivists are using optical character recognition software to translate typewritten documents of the past into searchable text for current researchers.  And finally, historians and curators are creating online exhibits with the goal of stretching beyond the written word or the museum wall to online media that not only make their work more accessible to a broader audience but also incorporate new ways to visualize information and allow more user interaction.

All of this means that it is important for Chatham history students to learn about these developments, learn some of the techniques of digital humanities, and to use new skills on projects of their own.  Furthermore, this is another opportunity for students to make the transition from being consumers of information to historians in their own right.  Finally, this course incorporates project based learning that is typical in many museums, archives, and historical societies doing the work of digital humanities.


Planning Process

In the summer and fall of 2016 as part of the Tech Fellows program, I researched digital technologies that students might use to create an online exhibit.  Lauren Panton recommended Timeline JS by Knight Lab of Northwestern University as the umbrella tool for bringing various elements of the project together.  Timeline can display photographs, images, infographics, and maps as well as play audio clips.  Becky Borrello recommended a variety of platforms for the website including WordPress, Weebly.com, and Wix.com as well as a storyboarding technique for web design.

I chose an online textbook by Daniel Cohen and Roy Rozenzweig titled Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web for the students to read to learn about the challenges and opportunities of digital history as well as some of the basics of planning on online exhibit and questions historians must ask themselves  http://chnm.gmu.edu/digitalhistory/

I also am having students read articles on local African American history as well as selections from David Kyvig’s Nearby History: Exploring the Past Around You.  These additional readings should help to ground students in the secondary literature and give them ideas for finding primary sources.

Finally, I modeled the course schedule on a similar class being taught by one of my colleagues at Shawnee State University.  Dr. Andrew Feight has been teaching a digital history course where students add to a growing digital archive of local records and photographs as well as a smartphone app that helps people explore local history.  Feight uses project-based learning to encourage students to identify goals and learn the skills needed to meet the goal.  The students also identify roles for themselves within the group and recognize the need for different people to have different and complementary strengths.


Implementation

The course started in January 2016 and the students spent the early weeks reading local history, learning about potential primary sources in nearby archives (including our own), and discussing their own project.  This project will focus on the history of Westinghouse High School and will incorporate the school’s “Wall of Fame”—itself an effort to preserve the school’s history—as well as oral history interviews that past Chatham students have collected.

The students only recently began the process of designing the website and gathering materials.  They identified roles for themselves.  To start, they all decided to explore individual topics:  music, sports, women, civil rights, WHS in Homewood history, and education.

At the beginning of the process, I asked students to identify values for the group from then on.  They identified values such as respect for participants, respect for the past, positive stories, and commitment to the project.

I also asked the students to imagine a process to hold one another accountable and to be the basis of grades.  One student recommended progress reports, and I suggested they be biweekly.  Another student suggested the final project be graded on three C’s:  creativity, content, and citations.

During the project gathering phase, the only grade they receive is on their biweekly reports, but they get feedback from the group on their contributions and informal presentations.

Sam Houston State University’s Center for Project Based Learning recently identified common elements of all project based learning:

  • There must be the presence of a driving question or central concept.
  • Students must learn through investigation of defined goals and should be constructive and knowledge building.
  • Projects are student-centered with teacher facilitation or guidance.
  • Projects are real-world and have significance to the student.
  • There is a task, a process, a product and a reflection.

Digital Local History uses all six of these elements.


Assessment

In Digital Local History, there are three assessments of the project based learning.

The first is the feedback and grades I give on the biweekly progress reports.  So far, I have based these grades on the level of effort and introspection on the reports.  Students who have spent times crafting the reports, detailing significant efforts, and contemplating their results in the context of the larger project have received A’s.  Students whose reports show evidence of sloppiness and superficial thought and a lack of significant efforts to gather materials have, so far, received C’s and encouragement to rediscover their passion for their topic and to fall back on skills they have read about in class.

The second feedback will be from community partners.  This is a common practice in PBL, and we are scheduled to present a nearly finished product to community partners near the end of the semester.  This will be an opportunity for them to comment on the project’s accuracy, creativity, and its spirit—does it capture the history of Westinghouse High School as the community understands it?

Finally, I will give the project an overall grade based on criteria suggested by a student and agreed to by the others:  creativity, content, and citations.

Successes and Challenges

One of the successes has been getting the students out of the classroom and into the local archives and brining community partners to the classroom.  This has made the project all the more real for the students.  Students have seemed to value their interactions with people who experienced the history they are discovering.  And getting in the van to take a short trip has injected some feeling of going into “the real world” to explore history.

One of the challenges has been that this particular group of students is not particularly talkative, especially not the students who are most prepared for class.  This has led to stilted conversations instead of exciting brainstorming sessions.

Furthermore, one of the essential elements of PBL is to have students develop their own goals and then learn skills along the way to achieving those goals.  It has been hard to get student to visualize a “desired outcome” that encourages them to learn new skills.  Instead, students want me as the instructor to tell them what to do, and they want me to show them templates for them to fill in.  This undermines one of the elements of PBL, but given that the students are unaccustomed to PBL and are afraid to fail, this is one of the concessions I am making.


Reflections and Next Steps

Ultimately one of the biggest challenges for me is relying on the students to deliver a finished product for community partners to see and evaluate.  Like most instructors, when I am in control of the content of the course and structure the class to ensure certain outcomes, I am in my comfort zone.  This course has forced me to leave the comfort zone and entrust the students with more control and has forced me to have faith that they will deliver.

Over the next month, the students will bring together their text, images, and audio, assemble them into timelines and webpages, present them to community members, and make some revisions based on community feedback.

Sue Sterrett, Ed.D. Nursing


Project Overview

My goals for year 1 of the Fellowship were:

  • Explore ways to create a community of researchers around my research interests
  • Improve my liaison courses by integrating new technologies

I have three projects.  The first is to create a blog that will present my research interests and encourage those with similar ideas to join in a conversation, creating community around common research interests.  My teaching goals are to create two assignments in 703 that integrate VoiceThread and encourage students to use technology.

Assignment 1 replaces a current assignment to create a Fact Sheet by opening up the possibilities of reporting the information, in the assignment (See attached.)  Assignment 2 replaces a discussion forum with VoiceThread.

In the next year I would like to create an orientation to the course using Panopto.


Planning Process

  1. Blog– I met with Lauren Panton, who helped my set up the blog. I plan on reviewing other blogs and beginning to post.  Learning will include how to reach the community I am interested in engaging in the discussion.
  2. 703 Assignment 1 will augment an assignment that was to create a Fact Sheet, opening it up to other outputs beyond paper. Planning for this assignment change will include determining what suggestions to make for types of outputs for the assignment.  I looked at the model assignment on the Faculty Technology Fellows site- Anthony Isacco’s PSY627 course.  Potential outputs for a “Fact Sheet “ could include a YouTube video, Tumblr Blog, Instagram site, or Facebook page.  One question is whether to allow a written option or not.
  3. 703 Assignment 2 will use new technology to modify a Discussion Forum with VoiceThread. Planning for this assignment will be my gaining comfort with the technology, then creating a way for the students to gain knowledge prior to the discussion.

Implementation

Blog- Lauren Panton met with me initially and the blog site was created using WordPress. I looked at other scholarly blogs including one by Mary Beth Mannarino. For my blog site, I read information regarding writing a blog bio and began a first draft.  I have not written any blog posts or determined how to find the audience for the blog.  This will require effort on my part in the next year.

Sue Sterrett Blog

703 Assignment 1: I am developing the assignment sheet for this assignment and plan to institute it during the summer semester.

703 Assignment 2: One discussion forum will be replaced with a VoiceThread Discussion.  I will need to look at the forums and decide where to place the VoiceThread discussion.  Determining how to allow students to develop knowledge to use the technology is still under consideration.


Assessment

None of the projects are to the point of assessment.  I think success of the blog would be assessed by the number of people who come to the site and the number who interact on the site.  The two 703 assignments can be assessed using the end of class assessment as well as reaching out to the students asking for informal thoughts as the assignment is first implemented.


Reflections and Next Steps

The first year was a broad based review of potential technologies and how I might use this knowledge to impact teaching and research interests.  I hope to be more targeted next year in implementing and assessing these projects.

Jodi Schreiber, OTD Occupational Therapy

Overview

As part of my first year in the Technology Fellowship (2014-2015), my focus was on identifying tools to enhance adult learning through visual modes.  I was interested in finding alternate (and engaging) methods to meet the particular learning needs of the current generation of students.  The majority of my students were born in the late 1980s or early 1990s, therefore categorizing them as Generation Y or Millennials.   I integrated several technology options throughout courses in the fall and spring semesters.

Planning

I have the opportunity to teach the same cohort of students each semester of the MOT Program.  This allows me to gauge the effectiveness and student acceptance of different teaching tools.  The MOT curriculum is developmental in nature, that is, it is necessary for students to rely on previously learned material in order to grasp and acquire new skills.

Throughout my search for potential teaching technology, I was cognizant of the learning goals and standards of each of my courses.  I also had to decide if the types of technology I investigated would be used as a teaching tool or as student assignments.

During the first, or summer, technology fellowship session, I used several resources to find potential educational tools.  I found a few interesting options when searching edshelf.  Through edshelf, I reviewed TED Ed.  TED Ed is a free resource that allows you to choose a TED Talk or YouTube video and add questions for the learner to complete during at the end of the video.

Other technology resources I investigated included Apple TV, EDpuzzle, Google Docs, Poll Everywhere, and VoiceThread.

Implementation

I chose a blog as one of the first uses of technology.  The students are required to successfully complete a series of competency check offs in the course.  Students were required to use WordPress to create a blog that described assessment techniques and responses.  The students would have the blogs to use as a study guide and a review in subsequent courses.  An example of a student blog can be viewed at:  https://weloveadls.wordpress.com/about/

One reason I chose TED Ed was because of the combination of visual and auditory components that seem to meet the learning styles of the Millennials.  My first attempt with the application can be viewed at http://ed.ted.com/on/1aan9g4X#watch.  Although TED Ed is a great resource for posting multiple choice, open ended, and guided discussion questions, one drawback is that you must use the entire Ted Talk or YouTube video.

AppleTV was integrated in to the Functional Neuroscience course.  I used my iPad and the AppleTV to demonstrate and allow students to use multiple apps for intervention with clients who sustained traumatic brain injury.  Apps reviewed included:  imazing, dialsafe pro, make change, visual attn. lite, imimic, yes/no button, AnswersHD, memory, and wordfindfree.

I think my favorite technology application is edpuzzle.  This free application is similar to TED Ed, but you can crop the videos as well as include questions throughout the video.  I like the feature that allows you to ask questions ‘as you go’.  Here is an example of an edpuzzle I used in my functional neuroscience course:

Assessment

I relied on student feedback as assessment of the efficacy and usefulness of the different types in instructional technology as a learning tool.  Early on the process, I discovered that not all students fit the definition of Millennial student. That is, all of my students are not technology gurus or total screen readers.  An initial dilemma with the competency blog was that some students were too focused on the ‘look’ and format of the blog and not the content.  That issue was resolved by providing a grading rubric that only considered accuracy of required information, not design or visual appeal.

Students provided mixed reviews of the AppleTV and apps.  Primarily because not all students have access to tablets and some do not have smart phones.  However, many K-12 schools and hospital/rehab clinics to supply tablets for patient assessment and intervention so the information was valuable to the students.

Overall student satisfaction was with the edpuzzle videos.  Students reported an increased understanding of client assessment and intervention after viewing the guided videos and answering the questions.  As a result, many classroom discussions emerged subsequent to the videos.

Value/Next Steps

My intention is to continue with the edpuzzle and TEDed applications.  I have recently become aware of other potential programs/applications such as Voki, recordmp3.org, Vocaroo, Padlet, ThingLink, SpicyNodes, Kahoot!, Animoto, Bubbl.us, Powtoon, and Bitstrips.  I plan on investigating the usefulness of some of these tools.