New [un]workshop: Preparing for Learning to Happen During Class

roadside with the words "are you ready?" against blurry landscape background

About this [un]workshop:

Class time is precious and often we want to use it to hear from students, push content to them, and practice them in ways of thinking and doing. That’s a tall order! And even taller when students show up for any given class with varying levels of preparedness. In this session, we’ll showcase some instructional technologies that can–with minimal impact on instructor resources–that help students get ready for your class.

Dates + times:

April 27: 3-4p, Olin 141

May 17: 3-4p, Leighton 426

I Just Know…

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A recent Science Post satirical article titled, “I just know” replaces systematic reviews at the top of the evidence pyramid, is a pretty funny read with a darker side.

While the article focuses on medical science (“There is no science backing up my claim that the homeopathic pill cured their cold, but in my gut I just know it did.”) it got me thinking about the teaching and learning work we do here at Carleton and our levels of evidence.

What evidence–beyond “I just know”–do we accept for what we have done in Carleton courses or for what we hoped to have done? If evidence more robust than “I just know” was available for our teaching and learning endeavors, would we want to gather it? What if it was easily available? Any instructional technology we use at Carleton can help with the collection of evidence. And with thoughtful design, that collection of evidence can be “easy” while still being meaningful.

Continue reading I Just Know…

New [un]workshop: Extending learning outside class time (and knowing that learning happens)

laptop on table top with notebook, pens, marker nearby

About the [un]workshop:

Assigning work for students to do outside of class so they come prepared to engage inside class can be a great pedagogical move. If all students don’t do the work though, this strategy can really backfire. In this session, we’ll look at some ways you can track which students have done what work, and even get a sense of the quality of their interaction with the content.

Join Janet, Dann, and Carly for a fun hour!

Dates+times

April 18: 3-4p, Laird 211 and WCC 027

May 2: 3-4p, Olin 141 and Atheneum

New [un]workshop: Making the case that learning is happening (for everyone) in your classroom

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What the [un]workshop is about:

High Impact Practices suggest that much learning occurs outside the formal classroom. This likely isn’t the case for your classroom but how can you know? Grades are some measure of learning that has happened in class, but is there evidence for learning as it happens and for all students? In this session, we’ll showcase some instructional technologies that can make this case for you and your students.

Join Janet and Carly for a fun hour of talking about instructional technologies

Dates+Times:

  • April 13, 3-4p, WCC 236 and Atheneum
  • May 9, 3-4 p, AGH Meeting Room

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New [un]workshop: Promoting Critical Thinking with Design-Rich Assignments

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What the unWorkshop is about:

Communicating arguments effectively through a visual medium has its own particular set of opportunities, challenges, and logics–and students often lack exposure and practice in these areas. In this session, we’ll showcase different approaches to design-rich assignments including tips for scaffolding, timing, and assessing student work.

Join Doug and Celeste for a fun hour of talking through visual arguments, possible assignments and assessments!

Dates+Times:

Tuesday, April 4 in CMC 328

Wednesday, May 24 in the Atheneum

Tracking Student Progress to Assist Metacognition & Self-Regulated Learning

screenshot of Moodle interface to track student activity completion. shows rows of students and columns of activities

Many faculty are interested in both tracking student progress and also helping students learn to track their work themselves. Most learning management systems (LMS) have a feature that allows students and faculty to keep track of what activities are completed and which are not, in Moodle this feature is called Completion Tracking.

Completion Tracking aids faculty in being able to see at a glance which students have completed which activities across the entire course. The Activity Completion Report (available in the Administration Block > Reports > Activity Completion) shows all of this at a glance. Activities that are considered complete are checked off, while activities not yet complete are not. Students that achieved a passing grade (e.g. on a Quiz) will get a green checkmark while students who do not reach the passing grade receive a red mark.

Moodle 3.1 Activity Completion Report
Moodle 3.1 Activity Completion Report

Note: Completion Tracking is enabled at Carleton, though if you are at another institution it may need to be enabled by your Moodle administrator.

Another compelling reason to use Completion Tracking is the value to the students. When students complete an activity, they are shown a checkmark to the right of the activity right on the Moodle home page. Activities not yet completed have empty boxes enticing the student to complete the work. Teachers can also add the Course Completion Status block to the page so the student can see a quick view summary of how much of the course they have completed and how much more they have to go. This kind of aid is especially helpful to students who may still struggle with organizational skills or self-regulation techniques.

So, here’s your Moodle Recipe for Tracking Student Progress:

Moodle Recipe for Tracking Student Progress
Moodle Recipe for Tracking Student Progress

Moodle Help Links

Further Reading

There is a lot of material on the value of metacognition and self-regulated learning for students in higher education.  These are just a few of the things I’ve read lately. What reading would you recommend?

proposal accepted for dh2017!

photograph of temple wall with Buddhist art and alter in foreground

I’m thrilled to say that Andrew Wilson, Sarah Calhoun, and I had our poster proposal accepted for dh2017 in Montreal! We’re experimenting with augmented reality for representing complex temporalities in Buddhist temple murals, and creating lower barrier to entry teaching modules using AR.

Our poster will outline our theoretical framework, detail our development process using Vuforia, and provide possible avenues for further lines of inquiry and applications for temporal visualizations. We’ll include static images of the AR experience, as well as ways to access our project remotely.

We identify two main problems that this initial experiment will address. The first is the issue of visualizing multiple temporalities. Our motivating questions are: what are the visual and spatial relationships between the chronological story of the Buddha defeating Mara given how some Buddhists believe that the Buddha is personal and eternal and always present throughout time? How is that expressed in the mural through a wide range of artistic styles and historical references? These questions will be answered through the course of our research.

The second problem is a more practical question of how to use augmented reality to further research and teaching of these complex cultural concepts when both the visual and technical resources are limited. We intend to use the extant low-res photographs available of the Defeat of Mara temple mural and the augmented reality framework Vuforia to create a cross-platform experience of the religious expression. This will allow users to see and select individual elements in the mural (such as the Mona Lisa or the spaceship) and engage with the different ways one can order and make meaning out of the varied chronologies and temporal references. Vuforia allows us to use an existing framework that has the benefit of being accessible on multiple platforms. We believe this is necessary for facilitating the adoption of augmented reality for classroom and preliminary research uses.

Steam Powered Goggles

HTC Vive controls on carpeted floor

So this will be my first post for this blog, actually thinking about it probably my first ever blog post. Never having wrote a post before is a strange position to be in for a computer/technology geek, but I think blogs just past me by. Anyway I should get on with what I planned on writing.

Janet Russell using the HTC Vive VR setup
Janet, using the HTC Vive, pets a dog in virtual reality.
It has definitely been a fun few weeks for me, with lots of boxes and new tech to open. With the addition of the 3D printer last week, am I very excited about the new box on my desk today. It is going to be a great addition to our technology provisions here at Carleton and Academic Technology. The title of this post is a very geeky reference to this new piece of kit….

Being the computer geek that I am, I was very excited to receive the Vive. The Vive is one of the new generation of Virtual Reality (VR) headsets. Started by the successful Oculus Rift Kickstarter, this next generation of VR headsets are very different to the early 1990s counterparts. Rather than very basic graphics and simple polygons, these new headsets are capable of streaming two HD images into either eye giving the impression of depth within the 3D scene.

Paula uses the HTC Vive headset and controllers
Paula takes aim at red globes
First project: a VR model of the Piper J3 Cub used to train Carleton students in the 1940-50s as part of a museum display for Sesquicentennial celebrations. Visitors will be able to view the model in a hanger setting and from the flight seat.

Come and experience VR for yourself either by visiting the Sesquicentennial museum exhibition or pop along to the ideaLab during our open house on Wednesday, September 21 from 12p-2p.

So it begins… 3D Printing in the IdeaLab

Carleton's newest 3D printer: Ultimaker2+ 3D Printer

As the students return to Carleton and campus life resumes in earnest, you may notice some changes in the IdeaLab and the AT offices in the Weitz Center for Creativity (not to mention the massive construction project just outside…). The IdeaLab has been undergoing renovations and redesigns to better serve the whole community. We’ll be writing another post about that whole process, but for this post I’ll be focusing on one of our newest tools: our 3D printer. This post will also focus primarily on our initial prints, rather than how-tos, but those will also be coming in the future.

After a lot of consideration, talking with experts, and looking at samples, we decided to go with an Ultimaker2+, one of the most highly-regarded 3D printers on the market. It’s a very dependable, well-supported machine, and looks fantastic too.

Our new 3D printer! #ifyoubuildittheywillcome #wehavethetechnology #ultimaker2 #filementaryMyDearWatson

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As part of the initial set-up, we needed to calibrate and configure the machine. This took a few hours, as the build plate (the section that the 3D printer prints onto) needs to be perfectly level. This level of specificity goes beyond the standard bubble level; we were dealing with differences in size of less than the thickness of a piece of computer paper. With our filament loaded and the plate leveled, we printed our first test print: a little robot designed by Ultimaker.

The first 3D print from our new 3D printer (an Ultimaker2+) #3dprinting #ultimaker2 #idealab

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With our 3D printer working, we decided to test another file directly from Ultimaker, a little heart keychain.

We ❤ our new 3D printer! #3dprinting #heartintherightplace #ultimaker2

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After that success, Andrew had me get a large file off of Thingiverse to print. Thingiverse is an online community where people upload 3D files for others to download, modify, and print. It can be a rabbithole for time, as there is so much incredible content available to browse and look through. I ended up choosing an owl pen holder. You can see it on Thingiverse by clicking here. This was addicting to watch the 3D printer layer up piece by piece, so we set up our timelapse camera to shoot the print. Check it out below! (For reference, this five-inch-tall owl took about 27 hours to print, as each layer is less than the width of a human hair in thickness.)

Here’s what the final product looks like. It’s surprisingly sturdy and solid.

"Who" loves 3D printing…? We do! #giveahoot #3dprinting #ultimaker2 #hoursoffun #punstoppable

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Stay tuned for more posts about the IdeaLab, our 3D printer, and more!