About this blog

Welcome to Techademia, a site where the Academic Computing Consultants at Vassar College write about technology and teaching.

This blog will be about our teaching and your teaching. We envision this site as a place where we hope to do a little teaching, about things that may be too new or obscure to have caught your notice. At the same time, these writings will  focus on teaching at the college level, while highlighting ways in which technology can enhance— or even revolutionize— that teaching.

Every faculty member that I’ve met at Vassar is wholly committed to his or her teaching. Many tell me that they’re really interested in one technology or another that might help their students to understand their course materials better. But they’re also really, really busy and can rarely find the time to take workshops or tinker around with new devices or programs.

We hope that his blog will provide a way for you to fit a little bit of this learning into your busy schedule. We aim to generate new postings each week, on various topics related to teaching with technology. Those topics will range from descriptions of very specific gadgets to discussions of pedagogical approaches. Some will be specific to Vassar, while others will be more generic.

The primary contributors will be the four members of Vassar’s Academic Computing Services (ACS) group. (If you’d like to know more about us, see the authors’ profiles, at the top of the page.) We may have occasional guest contributors as well, and we invite anyone in the Vassar community to comment on what they read.

Looking forward to some interesting discussions,

Steve

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Recent Posts

Digital Storytelling Work at Vassar

I love teaching digital storytelling workshops to classes at Vassar. The students seem to enjoy it and the faculty are pretty happy with the results. Departments include French, Japanese, Psychology, Education and Anthropology. I was reviewing students’ examples in preparation for the upcoming LACOL panel and I was blown away by all the amazing and diverse work done by the students.

Here’s a quick summary of the kinds of digital storytelling projects that I have helped classes with over the years:

French – Digital Storybooks for FREN 206 with Mark Andrews, Tom Parker and Susan Hiner.

Japanese – Digital Storybooks for 200- and 300-level courses with Peipei Qiu and Hiromi Dollase.

Psychology – End-of-term research presentations with Mark Cleaveland’s students

Education – Semester-long collaborations with Adolescent Literacy students and their middle school partners (workshops every week)

Anthropology – A variety of uses, including digital ethnographies and engaged research

We use Final Cut Pro X at Vassar for these classes. FCP X is a powerful and easy-to-use editor. It is available in the Library’s Electronic Classroom and Digital Media Zone. Students with Macs can get a 30-day free trial license.

The goals vary by classes. Sometimes the professor wants a rich medium to tell a story. In Mark’s class, he wanted polished presentations that acted as crucibles to bring together all their research. For 

Lessons Learned:

  • Provide lots of support
  • Don’t assume the students know how to do things
  • Sound is more important than video
  • Things improve with iteration
  • Set clear expectations 
  • More faculty / instructional technologist collaboration is better
  • It is helpful if the faculty member can model or provide examples
  • Allow time for things to go wrong
  • Try to keep track of where you put things
  • Measure success by faculty “happiness” level

This is an example of a digital ethnography.

4m20s

This was produced for community engaged research:

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This is an example from a final group project for a Psychology class.

t=27s

French 206

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Japanese stories (behind Moodle login Moodle

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