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Is there an added added academic value in incorporating multimedia scholarship into student projects? This is the question addressed by Mark E. Cann of USC in a recent article titled Multimedia in the Classroom at USC: A Ten Year Perspective. This past fall he recast a previous essay assignment into a group multimedia project in order to compare previous students’ written work to current students multimedia work. He graded them according to the same basic criteria (clarity, coherence and cogency) and wondered if they would ” produce more insightful analyses than conventional written essays.”
He found four ways in which the students’ multimedia projects differed positively from the written version. According to Cann, multimedia scholarship invited or encouraged students to:
- “prioritize and dramatize their main points by highlighting text, incorporating eye-catching images, or employing engaging video clips. This contrasted to conventional papers where students often buried their main point in the middle of a paragraph or expected it to emerge miraculously from the
- “assume multiple perspectives by using hyperlinks…While students might have done the same class analysis in a traditional essay, the fact is that they had not done so until their use of new media prompted them to experiment with multiple perspectives.”
- ” layer their analyses. Students were able to explore an issue in depth by employing hypertext links to break it down into major components, then analyze major components by using links to break them down into subcomponents, and so forth.”
- experiment with interactive analysis. Students were able to use new media to demonstrate how making one choice likely results in one set of outcomes and subsequent options whereas making a different choice likely results in a different set of outcomes and subsequent
He goes on to describe how a grant had allowed a group of faculty from the university to develop and discuss similar projects between 1998 and 2003. Some of the challenges the group found were “that teaching and doing multimedia scholarship was extremely time-consuming for faculty, TAs, and students” and that there was a “tension between devoting class time to course content and devoting class time to training students in basic computer skills.” They concluded that “the time and tensions were tolerable because multimedia scholarship did in fact add academic value to our classrooms. However, we learned from our discussions that multimedia scholarship added academic value to our classrooms in very different ways. We also learned that we all had trouble explaining to each other exactly how multimedia scholarship added academic value to our classrooms.”
That experience led to the development of a university-wide Honors Program in Multimedia Scholarship. Developing that program, and undergoing the review process, forced the participants to articulate how multimedia can add academic value to student scholarship.
Implementing the program has confirmed the belief that multimedia “requires students to become adept in the use of new media tools” but that it can “develop students’ capacity for active learning and creative scholarship.” Faculty also “emphasized the importance of multimedia scholarship for enhancing
students’ analytical skills. Several faculty members emphasized the utility of new media for investigating multiple perspectives on issues, facilitating interactive understanding, and addressing issues involving contingency and ephemera.” Some felt that “employing new media promises to develop students’ capacity for active learning and creative scholarship. Multimedia authorship demands that students not simply receive meanings but also participate in the construction of meanings.” Others agreed that “multimedia scholarship promises to strengthen students’ ability to communicate their research and findings to other people.”
Cann concludes the article with a discussion of the recommendations the USC program has made for the program. These can be useful “best practices” for anyone contemplating the addition of multimedia projects into their course. Full article at:
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.
The 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 :
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.
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:
“Moving Beyond the Basics: Shifts of Consciousness and Practice for Transformative Multicultural Teaching and Learning”
(snippet of the description on the CCP website)
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). She 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.