This Week in ODL: Feb 20-24, 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. With this post we highlight news 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!
Russian Language Pedagogy Retreat
The Office of Digital Learning will be hosting a cross-institutional discussion on February 24, 2017, at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) centering around Russian pedagogy and practice. The discussion will bring together a cohort of teachers from Middlebury’s School of Russian, instructional designers from the ODL, folks from the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies, and the Graduate School of Translation & Interpretation and Language Education at MIIS. The School of Russian cohort will be in Monterey already doing detail work on their Digital School of Russian project spearheaded by the ODL (you can read more about this project here), and have kindly allowed us to take some time to elevate discussion to the more broadly pedagogical. It is our hope that a meeting of minds around the possibilities for digital language learning will bring fresh ideas all around, and help establish a more diverse community for ongoing exploration and experimentation.
On February 21, 2017, MiddCast launched the online streaming and iTunes availability of the powerful new Middlebury podcast storytelling series entitled It’s Not What You Think. This series hosts live events on campus, featuring personal stories from members of our campus community who have successfully navigated some of life’s unexpected twists and turns. The companion podcast brings these stories directly to listeners, on demand. On February 21, attendees listened to the first, unreleased episode of It’s Not What You Think, narrated live by MiddCast’s producer Erin Davis of Middlebury College’s Department of Film and Media Culture. “Stay in Your Lane,” which features guest storyteller Brendon Hawkins ’11, was recorded during the inaugural It’s Not What You Think event in January 2016.
The podcast series It’s Not What You Think lives on MiddCast, a dynamic website created by the ODL in partnership with Professor Davis. The site features a collection of podcasts as dispatches from Middlebury’s campus and community about shaping the future. By supporting MiddCast, the ODL helps to provide an opportunity for digital learning to encounter narrative research, and to support students and others in the Middlebury community in creating reflective, challenging, and meaningful stories that tell of their learning and experiences in the world.
On February 27, 2017, Amy Collier will deliver a seminar entitled “It should be necessary to start”: critical digital pedagogy for troubled political times – an American perspective at the University of Edinburgh’s Moray House School of Education. Amy’s seminar will invite participants to examine the ways in digital learning is not a neutral force in education. Amy will underscore that in today’s troubled sociopolitical waters, critical digital pedagogues are asking how digital learning can provide a space of resistance and criticism. Drawing from Paulo Freire and Myles Horton’s We Make the Road by Walking, Amy Collier will discuss the work of critical digital pedagogues in the United States and Canada. If neutrality is “an immoral act” in education, how can we begin to move our digital learning organizations and programs toward a social change agenda?
Middlebury Tech Group Cross-Institutional Collaboration
On February 8, 2017, the Office of Digital Learning was joined by members of the Academic Technology Group (ATG) and the Digital Learning Commons (DLC) as part of an exciting new cross-institutional tech collaboration at Middlebury. This collaboration was envisioned as part of Middlebury’s emphasis on thinking more globally about our institution and in so doing to cultivate opportunities to create harmonies between the ATG, DLC, and ODL that help us move into the future effectively and together.
During a one-hour Zoom meeting, after a whole-group discussion with all three groups, participants were divided into smaller discussions and provided with virtual space to share ideas and envision partnerships that continue to build relationships and trust between the ODL, DLC, and ATG. The ODL was thrilled to open up what is a very important conversation about bringing together expertise and partnerships at Middlebury. We are looking forward to the next virtual gathering with these groups!