A Better Articulated Description of What I’m Looking for in the First Year Seminar next Year

As a result of this week’s Faculty Academy, I think I have a better idea of what I’m looking for in the way of IT support for the first year seminar I’m teaching next year, which I wrote about some time ago.

I want my seminar to be “taken over” in the same way that Jim Groome described taking over the Theater Project. I mentioned this to Jerry and he responded, “Well, what do you want to do?” The problem is I’m not sure what I want to do.

I am convinced that careful and appropriate application of technologies has the potential to revolutionize teaching and learning. I don’t use that verb carelessly. I believe that technology may be a tool for making the intellectual life a central focus of higher education again. And I think the place to start is with first year students.

While I have some ideas of how technology might be applied, I can’t imagine all possible productive uses of these digital tools for my course at this time. There are tools I understand and tools I don’t (yet). I know the ITStaff will have some good ideas that haven’t occurred to me, and I expect my students will also.

What I want is a suite of digital tools that will enable my students to find, manipulate, and use text, images, audio, and perhaps even video, to work individually and collaboratively, to be easily accessible through and publishable to the web.

I see the seminar as a journey of discover by each student individually and by all students collectively. I want to record this journey. I want the record to be portable so that students can take it away with them. I want the record to be “owned” by the students so they they can continue to reflect on their university education and experiences, if they choose to do so.

Yesterday, the ITStaff presented an extraordinary account of their function at UMW. So here is my question:

How do I make an appointment for that spiral conversation with the ITStaff that Martha described, where they meet with a faculty member, investigate what he or she wants to accomplish pedagogically, then go away, reflect on it, and come back to the faculty member for another conversation, in the process of which they formulate a plan?

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3 Responses to A Better Articulated Description of What I’m Looking for in the First Year Seminar next Year

  1. Jeff says:

    Steve,
    Sounds great and I can’t wait to see what you (and DoIT) come up with!

  2. Gardner says:

    Ah, I believe our first appointment is tomorrow. 🙂 And it’s all upward from there. I have to say that I find what you’re imagining to be the sort of thing that really fires my imagination. I can’t wait for the takeover, makeover, or whatever it is the “dream team” cooks up with you.

  3. Gardner says:

    Okay, that comment above was too jaunty.

    What you want is a Lifebook, or at least some prototype thereof. An eportfolio that’s not just a digital repository but a form of digital storytelling that will focus student’s reflection and attention more powerfully on their intellectual journey. Together.

    To riff on Jon Udell’s talk yesterday, you want a suite of tools that will help to raise their expectations for their education. What should they be demanding, both from us and (crucially) from themselves.

    I think we can help.

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