I was very fortunate to spend Friday at the Duke CIT Showcase. I attended a bunch of interesting sessions on the Duke Digital Initiatives, video feedback on assignments, alumni readers/critiques, a student’s perspectives of blogs in the classroom, iTunes University, and the physical arrangement of classroom space. James Groom, of the EduPunk movement gave the keynote.
I am constantly impressed with Duke’s Center for Instructional Technology. I’ve been paying attention to them for a few years, but really became a fan after attending last year’s showcase. The showcase is really for the Duke community, though they’re kind enough to invite those of us who do this type of work, too. The presentations are all by Duke faculty for Duke faculty, focusing on really cutting edge or interesting ways of incorporating new technologies into the classroom. I normally feel really up on this type of thing, but both times I’ve come away with new ideas. The keynote is normally (at least based on the past two) a nationally known innovator in educational technology.
From the sessions I attended there were two main themes of the day:
- There is a benefit to having the “real world” view student work.
- Providing audio feedback allows you to give students more feedback.
I am totally down with theme number one. This is why I try to put so much of the courses I work with online in public places. This is one of the reasons I avoid traditional learning management systems (like Blackboard). Point two is new to me. Though I love multimedia, and think of it a lot for student assignments, I hadn’t thought about all that it could provide by incorporating it into my grading. I have a few FERPA related things I want to work through (for example, I would assume spoken comments are FERPA encumbered, so do we have to keep those off the network?) but I definitely want to find ways to incorporate this. It actually reminds me a bit of the old-school tutor model, where you could have conversations with students (or, at least, more conversational feedback).
Out of the showcase came a few things I want to try:
- A syndication plugin for a blog, rather than using FriendFeed, for my next class
- Voice comments in lieu of written comments
Another theme for me, though not a major theme of the showcase, was that information management issues are increasingly intertwined with educational technology issues. Again, this is one of the reasons why I tend to think that librarians are in an excellent place to lead here. As faculty start having questions about archiving, indexing, and preserving the scholarly material created by a class, librarians are in an excellent place to be able to answer them.
Great stuff, and certainly worth the drive! I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re up to next year.