This Week in ODL: Mar 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. 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!

Digital Language Learning: A Liberal Arts Exploration of New Modes of Teaching and Learning Languages

As noted in a previous This Week in ODL, the Office of Digital Learning, in partnership with the Middlebury Language Schools, will be hosting a workshop on April 7-8, 2017 at Middlebury College for the Alliance to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges (AALAC). This week, we have finalized our agenda and notified our participants of the exciting conversations that will be taking place at the workshop, which will center around a liberal arts exploration of digital modes of teaching and learning languages. Some of the program highlights include Breakout Sessions through which participants will explore and dive deeper into one of the following topics:

  • Topic 1: What forms of teaching and learning does the digital privilege and are those approaches aligned with what we want for language learners? How can we reach more learners more effectively? Led by Gabriel Guillen, Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey
  • Topic 2: How does digital language learning complement face-to-face language instruction? What can/does hybridity in language learning look like? Led by Felix Kronenberg, Rhodes College
  • Topic 3: How can digital language practices connect students successfully across cultural and national borders to impact intercultural communication? Led by Trina Marmarelli, Reed College

Additionally, workshop participants will engage in Lighting Rounds: brief presentations by participants on topics such as mobile assisted language learning, Google Tour Builder in the language and culture classroom, using Corpus Linguistics Research Methods in language teaching, Globally Connected Courses initiative and practice, and more. As part of the workshop, the ODL will also host a Technology Test Kitchen, which will provide a relaxed and playful space for talking about technology. We’ll have a table of gadgets and toys to help spark discussions about digital language learning as well as “plug-in” stations where people can connect their laptops to showcase their work to others.

Listening for Community

The ODL’s Amy Collier, Associate Provost for Digital Learning, this week kicked off a listening opportunity to help restore community at Middlebury in the context of recent events on campus around student protests associated with speaker Charles Murray. The listening opportunity arises out of a belief that fostering community takes intentional work, and that listening to and understanding each other is foundational to that work.

To that end, a listening booth has been been created that will help Middlebury community members to share their sense of community, the joys and challenges of community, and the community we envision as we look to the future. The listening booth — a comfortable, intimate conversation space — will allow 2-4 people to listen to one another and share their experiences of being part of the Middlebury community. The conversations will be recorded and some parts may be shared anonymously, with permission, as part of a community building event.

The listening booth will be available from March 15 through April 7 in the President’s Dining Room in Proctor Hall. To schedule a conversation in the listening booth, click here and choose an available time.

Exploring Digital Sanctuary by Amy Collier

This week, Amy Collier published a new post entitled Exploring Digital Sanctuary to the ODL blog. In this post, Amy explores the ways in which critical digital educators are re-orienting their work in response to the current political situation in the United States. Building on a talk she gave at the University of Edinburgh last month, Amy discusses an idea she has had on the sanctuary city and campus movement; namely, that critical digital educators need to be talking about what a digital sanctuary campus might look like. As Amy writes, “Digital tools have been celebrated for bringing efficiency gains and improved learning outcomes to our campuses (claims that can and should be contested) but their presence deserves additional scrutiny in an age where so many of our students are at risk of deportation, of brutality, of harassment.”

In her post, Amy looks at how a digital sanctuary initiative questions the role our technological systems play in students’ safety and looks for ways to minimize risks to students associated with those technological encounters. She shares some steps institutions might consider taking to create digital sanctuaries:

  1. Do an audit of student data repositories & policies associated with third party providers.
  2. Have a standard and well-known policy about how to handle external inquiries for student data and information.
  3. Provide audit of data to any individual who wants to know what data are kept on them, how they are kept, where they are kept, and who else has access.
  4. Have clear guidelines and regulations for how data are communicated and transmitted between offices.
  5. Take seriously the data policies of your third party vendors.
  6. Closely examine and rethink student tracking protocols.

We welcome you to read Amy’s post in its entirety so as to obtain more information or to engage with Amy around her ideas about digital sanctuary.

Sonja Burrows

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