This Week in ODL: Feb 13-17, 2017
Welcome to This Week in ODL, a weekly blog series published by the Office of Digital Learning providing readers with the latest developments in the projects and learning experiences under development at our office. There is a lot going on at ODL, and with this post we hope to highlight some updates we think you will find interesting and to which we hope you will respond with your feedback and comments. Remember to check back next week for the latest updates on our work!
The Office of Digital Learning, in partnership with the Middlebury Language Schools, submitted a proposal to the Alliance to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges (AALAC) to host a workshop on digital language learning on the Middlebury campus. We are delighted to announce the workshop was funded and will be held at Middlebury College on April 7-8, 2017. The workshop will center around a liberal arts exploration of digital modes of teaching and learning languages.
The AALAC is a group of twenty three liberal arts colleges that share common educational goals and institutional challenges. The alliance strives to advance liberal arts education through collective efforts to support faculty research and teaching so as to enhance the overall experience of students and to develop faculty leadership.
The digital language learning workshop hosted at Middlebury will include approximately 40 participants from the AALAC member institutions, and will focus on discussing the questions that emerge from digital language learning within liberal arts contexts. The workshop will strike a balance between sharing and experimenting with ideas and deep discussions that address the ways in which the digital has transformed language pedagogy.
The ODL in partnership with Roberto Véguez of Middlebury’s School of Spanish recently completed the creation of an online digital book commemorating the centennial year of the School of Spanish at the Middlebury Language Schools. The book, entitled “In The Green Mountains of Vermont: Spanish and Latin American Exiles at Middlebury College (1937-1963)” details the fascinating history of this school over the past century, including the many prominent figures from the Spanish-speaking world who have joined the ranks as faculty and administrators at the Spanish School.
We used Scalar, an open source authoring and publishing platform available on MiddCreate, to build this digital book for the School of Spanish. As built in Scalar, In The Green Mountains of Vermont provides the reader with a simple navigation path through the book’s seven chapters and media. Roberto Véguez created both an English and a Spanish version of the text, although currently only the English version has been published online with Scalar. The School of Spanish and ODL have plans to support the Spanish version of this text in the coming months. For those on the Middlebury campus, please be sure to stop by Middlebury’s Special Collections and Archives in Davis Library this June, where this digital book will be available on a large touch screen monitor as part of a School of Spanish centennial display.
On February 13, 2017, Sean Michael Morris published a blog post about the importance of user experience in designing digital learning spaces. Sean writes about the affect on the user of the look and feel of the digital learning environment, and how this can either make or break the learning experience.
As Sean writes, “‘If you build it, they will come‘ doesn’t cut it. You’ve got to build it pretty if you want them to show up.” The idea here is that if the user feels welcomed by the digital environments which we create, that user will feel compelled to stay for a while, to explore, to learn, and hopefully to come back. Because as designers, if we are lucky enough to catch your attention, we hope that you will stay a while in the spaces we have created. Sean notes that the the most brilliant digital learning designs are ones which create safe spaces where learners are welcome to stay, think, act, and learn. We hope you will read the post to learn more; and better yet, that you will share your thoughts and reactions!
Embodiment and the Digital: Amy Collier’s Talk at MIIS
This Friday, Amy Collier will deliver a talk at the Middlebury Institute of of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) entitled “Embodiment and the Digital: Constructing and Deconstructing the Body” from 12pm-1:50pm in the McGowan Building, Room 102. This lecture is part of the Whole Body Intelligence Spring Series and will address questions about embodiment in digital spaces and tools. Amy will invite reflection on the importance of considering embodiment in the digital and how to bring a critical lens to the technology we use daily to connect to other embodied humans.
Featured image by liz west CC BY 2.0