Melissa and Janet’s article “Making an Online Summer Bridge Program High Touch” was recently published in the Journal of College Student Development. The article describes the creation of the Carleton Undergraduate Bridge Experience (CUBE), a hybrid program that includes 6 weeks of online programming during the summer and 10 weeks of face-to-face programming during fall term of the students’ first year.
Eblen-Zayas, M. & Russell, J. (2019). Making an Online Summer Bridge Program High Touch. Journal of College Student Development 60(1), 104-109. Johns Hopkins University Press.
Sarah Calhoun, Janet Russell, and Celeste Sharpe presented a poster (co-authored with Melissa Eblen-Zayas, Iris Jastram, and Kristin Partlo) titled “Perspectives on connecting SoTL across the (co-) curriculum at a small liberal arts college” at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Conference in Bergen, Norway. The poster presented three examples of overlapping initiatives at Carleton, and the ways in which these projects are surfacing gaps and providing critical foundation for a more concerted, campus-wide effort. These findings will also be presented at an LTC presentation winter term. The poster and bibliography are available at http://bit.ly/issotl2018-connecting. An image of the poster is below.
It was just a year ago that Carleton hosted Georgetown Associate Provost, Randy Bass, and I’ve been thinking of some of the work directly facilitated by Randy’s visit. I’ll talk about just two examples in this post.
In broad terms Randy talked about designing a liberal education for this moment in history. He asked us, “If you were creating a Carleton education right now, and with everything you knew about the past but also what you knew about the capacities of our current environment and the challenges we are about to face in the next 10, 20, 30 years, what would that Carleton look like?” He suggested our answers would almost certainly cause us to create pilot programs that would push against the constraints of our current Carleton model and that we would need “a different kind of approval process” to make experimentation possible. Enter example 1: CUBE.
CUBE (Carleton Undergraduate Bridge Experience) is a summer/fall experimental course taught by Melissa Eblen-Zayas from our physics department. Carleton’s Education and Curriculum Committee (ECC) made the experiment possible by flipping the usual process so that we got quick approval for a pilot with built in accountability and sunset if not approved for continuation. CUBE has two primary student goals: to strengthen quantitative skills and to support the transition to college. The summer part of the course is completely online and is followed by the face-to-face fall course that is being taught right now. Melissa and I look forward to reporting out to the community sometime this winter about this very exciting experiment and regardless of whether the course continues, I think we have taken a solid step toward that future Carleton Randy asked us to imagine. And for me, Randy’s framework and encouragement were crucial.
Example 2 comes in the form of an LTC lunch session and Winter Workshop. Both of these events are sponsored by Carleton’s Future Learning Technologies Group (FLTG) and both events center on creating flexible curricula that push against the 9 ½ week structure or our current term system. The LTC lunch session is Tuesday, October 11 and the Winter Workshop will be in early December. I can’t speak for everyone in FLTG, but I know I was (re-)inspired and (re-)energized by Randy’s question “what would a course look like that was less course-based, less term-based, separated credit from seat-time, thought about all 12 months of the year, thought about how faculty would deploy their energies in different ways? And this energy and inspiration is playing a shaping role in how I’m approaching my part of these two upcoming events.
A year ago, I really bungled my introduction of Randy before his big talk in the Athenaeum. I was tired and had left my notes behind and pulling them up on my phone just didn’t work. If I had the chance to hit “reset” I would say something like this: Just as I wouldn’t (yet) wander into the Boundary Waters without the wonderful Minnesota guide I have luckily found, I wouldn’t navigate the “future of higher education” without the wonderful Randy Bass along!
This is my inaugural post from a Carleton College blog. Carleton uses the WordPress (WP) Edublog platform and I’ve chosen the template called Blogghiamo. I’ve chosen this particular template because it is the template we are using for the students in the OCS digital portfolio project. After I play with this template a bit I’ll likely pick one that is more suited to the sorts of posts and pages I’ll be doing for our work in Academic Technology but it’s fun to take this template for a drive!
There are several portfolio initiatives on Carleton’s campus. Probably everyone is aware of the Writing Program Portfolio and the good work coming out of that, but I want to focus in this post on a couple of the digital portfolio pilots that are happening.
Helena Kaufman and Cynthia Shearer are doing some interesting exploratory work with a small group of students doing a term abroad. These students were introduced to WP in Spring Term 2015 and collected artifacts for their portfolios while they were gone in Fall Term of 2015. Those students are now back on campus and are meeting with Helena and Cynthia to begin to make sense of their experience and share their reflections in their portfolios. AT Associate, Eric Mistry, is meeting with the students to help them with any WP issues. Eric is also well positioned to help students reflect on their time abroad because of his own travels as a student which are preserved on the blog he kept at that time. Eric’s current blog is also a good read and you can access it here.
Melissa Eblen-Zayas has two goals for the digital portfolio pilot she and the physics department are doing. A small group of volunteer students are documenting their physics work in their WP blogs and those blogs will serve as a robust resume for students and as a method of departmental assessment for physics. One of the keys to making this work for departmental assessment is the careful and consistent use of the tags the department agreed upon. These tags will allow the department to search and sort student posts into meaningful categories. The tag categories are: Topical Area, Project Type, and Objectives. For example a student might tag a post: Classical Mechanics, Computational, Apply/integrate physics knowledge to understand real problems.
Both these digital portfolio efforts are in early stages and I’ll report back from time to time on their progress.
WordPress is a powerful tool and can be just the right tool for a digital portfolio. If you want to think with us in Academic Technology about how WP night work for you please track us down!