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The Center for Cultural Pluralism will celebrate its 10 year anniversary on January 29, 2009. The Center has announced their spring programming, which includes guest speakers Dr. Lee Kneflekamp speaking on “MicroAgressions in the Classroom” (Jan. 30) and Dr. Scott Page, “The Science of Complex Systems and Systems Scholarship” (Feb 2009). For a full list of films, workshops and events visit their web site.

This fellowship program is designed as a seminar to help faculty develop a strong background in service-learning pedagogy. By developing a service-learning course, participants will strengthen service-learning knowledge and skills. Fellows will meet every other week during the Spring 2009 semester for 2 hours and commit to offering a service-learning course within a year of completing the program.

To learn more about the program, visit the CUPS web site

Applications for the Fellowship program are due November 7,2008.

oxford_union.jpgThe Economist (Economist.Com) is sponsoring a series of debates on the future of education. Each debate topic considers the educational impacts of technology, globalization, and changing nature of social relationships. The third (and final) debate, which runs from from January 15th through January 25th, focuses on “social networking,” specifically on the proposition :

Proposition: Social networking technologies will bring large [positive] changes to educational methods, in and out of the classroom. .

The debate is based on an online variant of the Oxford Debate rules – each speaker has three chances to advance his view – an opening statement, a rebuttal, and a final summary. Observers (who must register) may participate, mainly though a discussion with the moderator who will raise relevant points to the debaters. In addition, Observers may also vote for the side of the proposition they most agree with.

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The University of Vermont is now a member of Educause’s Learning Initiative (ElI).
ELI explores the interaction among learners, learning principles and practices, and learning technologies. Membership benefits include reduced rates on ELI events and access to all resources on their web site, including archived web seminars and podcasts.
There are three upcoming events that may interest you:
January 14: Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0 (online event)
January 28 – 30: ELI 2008 Annual Meeting – Connecting and Reflecting: Preparing Learners for Life 2.0 (San Antonio, TX)
March 18 – 19: Real World and Technology-Rich: Learning by Doing, Learning in Context (Raleigh, NC)
To access ELI resources and register for events, you will need to set up a member profile that connects you as an UVM affiliate. Go to the the Educause home page and follow the directions in the “Manage your personal profile” (under the “What would you like to do?” section).
We hope that you will explore the resources on the ELI site. If you find these resources valuable and/or are interested in attending an event, please let us know.

The Faculty Fellows for Service-Learning Program recruits faculty members from across UVM to participate in a seminar each Spring on how to build service-learning pedagogy into courses. Faculty members must apply and be accepted into the Program, are given a small professional development fund ($750), and are expected to inject service-learning into at least one of their courses after finishing the program. Faculty participants cite the opportunity to interact with colleagues with similar interests as a highlight of this program.
For more information, and an application form, visit:
Application Deadline: November 9, 2007
Seminar Dates: January 8-10, 2008

The Center for Cultural Pluralism is sponsoring an even that promises to be interesting and important:
abstract.jpg“Moving Beyond the Basics: Shifts of Consciousness and Practice for Transformative Multicultural Teaching and Learning”
(snippet of the description on the CCP website)

[Transformative multicultural education] calls on faculty to think deeply and critically, not just about our biases, but about how we challenge or support power imbalances in our teaching, how we teach (or do not teach) about certain social justice issues, and how we may (often unintentionally) contribute to existing inequities, sometimes even when we believe we are teaching multiculturally. This session we help participants to be more critically reflective of their teaching and create higher levels of critical thinking and social justice awareness in their students.”

September 28, 2007.8:30-4:00p.m. Location TBD
To register, call 656-9511 (CCP)

For more info., visit the CCP website.

In a new case study, “Hybrid Learning: Maximizing Student Engagement,” Ruth Reynard explores hybrid or “blended” courses (a face-to-face course that contains online elements). hybrid.jpgShe concludes that these courses “provide more flexibility for on ground students and increase the overall marketability of programs of study to potential students.”
She also provides a thoughtful analysis of how such courses can be structured to maximise “opportunities for the learning process to become much more engaging for students and for students to drive the learning process more directly. It is also an effective way to increase students’ learning autonomy.”
Full article at:

Connectivism Online Conference is an open online forum exploring how learning has been impacted by ongoing changes. The conference, hosted online by the University of Manitoba, runs from February 2 – 9, 2006. The daily conference schedule is.

Friday, Feb 2: George Siemens, Connectivism: Learning Conceptualized Through the Lens of Today’s World
Monday, Feb 5: Will Richardson, Connective Teaching: How the Read/Write Web Challenges Traditional Practice
Tuesday, Feb 6: Diana Oblinger, Balancing Agility and Stability in Higher Education
Wednesday, Feb 7: Bill Kerr, A Challenge To Connectivism
Thursday, Feb 8: Stephen Downes,The Recognition Factor
Friday, Feb 9: Terry Anderson, Research and Net Pedagogies

All sessions begin at Noon, EST or 11 AM CST.
If you blog or use social bookmarking sites, please use the conference tag: OCC2007.

Margaret Price, Director of Spelman’s newly-instituted Electronic Portfolio Project (SpEl.Folio) discusses the questions, challenges and goals of the successful implementation of e-portfolios.
“…I’ve come to realize that a central question of our project is, “What is an electronic portfolio?” Is it a medium? Is it a genre, or a set of genres? Is it a delivery system? Is it an assessment tool? Is it a means to reflection and learning? Is it a savvy career move? Is it a flashy new container for the work students already are doing? Is it a pain in the butt?
Readers of SmartClassroom have thought about these questions, and probably have well-developed responses to them. But the audience that concerns me most is the students and teachers at Spelman, a historically black liberal-arts college for women. They sometimes seem to view the electronic portfolio as a flashy container and/or pain in the butt. It’s this audience, and the perceptions they ultimately form, on which the success of Spelman’s project relies. And, as frustrated as I might get when explaining for the hundredth time that an eFolio is not simply in Kathleen Yancey’s memorable phrase “print uploaded,” I must pay attention to these responses. For, if the users and authors of SpEl.Folio view it merely as a flashy container or pain in the butt (or both), that’s exactly what it will be.

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We were talking today, again, about that recurrent concern over the reliance on PowerPoint for presenting complex concepts or sharing knowledge. I recently read Edward Tufte’s Beautiful Evidence and the second edition of his powerful PowerPoint essay is quoted in the title of this post.
It’s a perpetual teaching/learning issue. Not only is PP increasingly relied upon to support lecture, but more students are required to submit their course work in this format.
Some questions that I feel are worth asking are, Do bullet points and pictures inspire or require smart and rigorous thinking? How much of the blame for bad (i.e., diminishing, boring, soporific, flattening…) PowerPoint presentations lies with the user and how much with the tool?
Read more on Edward Tufte’s blog.