The Poster Session is available throughout the conference. A question and answer period for presenters is scheduled for Wednesday at 12:30pm. 

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Monday, June 21, 2021

8:30am -9:00am Gathering

  • Program assistance available

9:00am --10:00am 

  • Quantitative Skills in Context. What are the “Keepers” from the Past Year of Teaching?

LACOL QLAB Core Team: Melissa Eblen-Zayas, Professor of Physics, Carleton College, and Laura Muller, Director of Quantitative Skills Programs and Peer Support, Williams College; moderated by Mihai Stoiciu, Williams College

As we look forward to the next academic year, how will your pandemic-imposed experiences with online and hybrid modes of learning shape how you teach? What techniques, tools, and resources enhanced your teaching of quantitative topics or allowed you to support students in the development of their quantitative skills this past year? Did you create your own online resources or did you find and use resources that others had developed? Have your pandemic teaching experiences changed how you understand your role in supporting students from different backgrounds and with different learning approaches and needs? Join members of the QLAB core team and faculty members who teach courses where students use quantitative skills to reflect on the past year and look ahead to new ways of supporting students’ facility with and transfer of quantitative skills in context.

  • 20 Minute Presentations

Pedagogical techniques for making statistical and GIS software accessible
Heather Kropp, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Hamilton

As data availability and volume continues to expand, a wide range of disciplines are adapting statistical coding and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software to engage with emerging data streams. Student interest in data science or analytics has increased demand for statistical or GIS courses, but often results in less focus on basic computing competency for all students. A demand for basic competency in statistical or GIS software is becoming a part of traditional disciplinary practice. The implementation of these basic competencies is varied and not necessarily widely adapted. Furthermore, students may perceive barriers to learning statistical or GIS software. Some students may face both perceived and structural barriers related race, gender and socioeconomic background. Curriculum development that defines basic and advanced software competencies has the potential to perpetuate these barriers. Pedagogical approaches can also influence student perceptions and learning experiences. This roundtable will define basic competencies in statistical and GIS software and discuss pedagogical approaches to teaching these competencies that increases access to these skillsets.

Creating Skill-based Learning Communities for Students
Wiebke Kuhn, Director of Academic Technology, Carleton; moderated by Heather Kropp, Hamilton College

*please note that due to unforeseen circumstances, this session will not be live.

In this round table discussion, let’s explore what skills faculty assume students have or should be able to learn on their own and what kinds of support systems we already have in place. What are the applications or programs that we see students having to learn quickly in order to be successful in classes? What are ways for us to collaborate on creating resources, most likely online, that will help students become proficient in these applications? What are opportunities for these types of learning for students that they may not receive effectively in other forms? What design questions need to be answered to make this kind of resource successful (e.g., UDL, equity-based design, feedback, self-guided vs. community-based learning)? What resources would we need to make this type of student support a reality? What kind of assessment should we consider? At the end of this session, I hope we have a blueprint and potential pilot for developing and maintaining these types of resources with multiple institutions as participating stakeholders. The goal is not to reinvent existing online resources; rather, the goal is to find a way for students to learn from a curated collection of resources that can provide a platform to ask questions and interact with other students.

From Information Consumer to Creator: Innovative Research in Practice and Partnership
Tiffany Johnson, Research Librarian for Digital Scholarship, Davidson; Cara Evanson, Research and First Year Experience Librarian, Davidson; moderated by Heather Kropp, Hamilton College

Most Davidson first year students arrive well-versed in the five paragraph essay readily found in their high school writing repertoire. Because information literacy backgrounds are so diverse, many of these first years see themselves as information consumers rather than creators. The Humanities program at Davidson is a year-long program, and student involvement with the library teaching team requires them to reckon with their information creator identity from start to finish. Using a multi-pronged approach of archivists, librarians and instructional designers, the Library partners with faculty and students to facilitate the creation of original scholarship that culminates into a digital portfolio. Through this work, students are able to grow in understanding of their role within information society, develop digital literacy skills and curate their web presence. Students learn a variety of competencies including research, website design, scholarly communication, intellectual property and information access. As part of this process, students experiment with different practices to engage with their research area. These emerging information creators evolve into self-innovators during the year long course.

10:15am -- 11:15am 

  • Digital Competencies with Classic Technologies: Employing Websites for Teaching and Learning

Doug Higgins, Instructional Designer, Hamilton; Ella Gant, Professor of Art, Hamilton; Priya Chandrasekaran, Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Hamilton; Bret Olsen, Educational Technologist, Hamilton; moderated by Jenny Spohrer, Bryn Mawr

Websites are the Legos or PlayDoh of higher education, they are a basic and established technology that is a building block for both digital competencies and discipline knowledge and skills. Websites provide individuals (or groups) the opportunity to build spaces for teaching and learning. We will explore how faculty at Hamilton College have used websites (e.g., WordPress) to support teaching and learning. Ella Gant, Professor of Art, will discuss how she incorporates this technology into her Advanced Video course to encourage students to create a professional presence on the web. Students build a professional portfolio while developing digital competencies. Using a different approach, Priya Chandrasekaran, Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, incorporates a shared course blog in her Environmental Justice class. Students engage in a semester-long discussion of environmental justice as it relates to a variety of topics (e.g. power and counter-hegemony, race and space, the role of the state and civil society in the neoliberal era). Through the development of a collective blog and individual webpages, students improve their digital competencies while building a shared learning environment and community. Following a short presentation by our panelists about their individual experiences, we will engage in an in- depth discussion of the role of websites in the development of digital competencies and discipline knowledge and skills in higher education.

12:30pm --1:30pm

  • Bringing Creativity and Play to Education with Immersive Technologies

Andy Anderson, Academic Technology Specialist, Amherst; Jaya Kannan, Director of Technology for Curriculum and Research, Amherst; Ben Salzman, Instructional Designer, VR/AR Technologist, Hamilton; Luigi Nicastro, VR/AR Immersive Technology Developer/Programmer, Hamilton; David Pfaff, IQ Center Academic Technologist, Washington and Lee; moderated by Lisa Forrest, Davidson College

Augmented reality and virtual reality are rapidly becoming part of our digital culture, and while the most common applications are games, there are many experiential and educational programs that support teaching and learning, while providing a degree of play and creativity through exploration and manipulation of digital environments. These technologies include augmented reality (AR), which provides an overlay of information and imagery through smartphones or eyewear that recognize real-world spaces, and virtual reality (VR), which provides a computer-generated interactive visual experience, either projected onto a 2D computer screen or presented in 3D using mobile headsets. As these technologies gain more widespread use (and representation in movies and television) they’re becoming part of our digital culture, and as a result provide a familiar, and perhaps even expected, platform for educating our students. Much of the driving force in these technologies has been in gaming, which can sometimes have pedagogical uses, but there are other experiential applications that can support teaching and learning, as well as explicitly educational programs. Even if they are not designated a “game” they can still provide a degree of play and creativity through exploration and manipulation of digital environments. In addition, their immersive nature helps establish student framing for remembrance of concepts developed in course work. As a result of this proliferation, there are now many off-the-shelf applications that schools can apply in teaching and learning, from the humanities to the sciences. For example, a student can immersively visit locations that are central to a course reading, or visit art or poster galleries configured to provide a localized experience. The development platforms are also becoming easier to use, especially when they build on previous technologies, e.g. to examine the details of a protein close-up, inside and out. We will discuss both benefits and drawbacks, such as expense, accessibility, comfort, and limited standardization.

  • Up Close and Personal: Art Museums and Digital Models
    Beth Fischer, Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities, Williams, Amber Orosco, MA candidate, Williams College Art History Graduate Program / Intern, Williams, and Liz Gallerani, Curator of Mellon Academic Programs, Williams; moderated by Austin Mason, Carleton College

How do you bring digital imaging, including RTI (reflectance transformation imaging) and photogrammetry, to students in a liberal arts environment? How do digital models enhance and not replace in-person learning with art? In fall 2020, the Williams College Museum of Art launched a minimal-budget imaging project that initially responded to concerns about equity for hybrid and remote learning. This panel presents strategies for digital imaging that focus on digital accessibility, equity, agency, and liberal arts learning. The pilot program at the Williams College Museum of Art aims to make objects more engaging in a time of distance, while remaining attentive to data bias and trying to highlight under-used objects. Goals of the project include increasing comfort level with objects and digital models, and also encouraging agency, exploration, and play. By sharing our own iterations throughout this ongoing project, we offer a range of possibilities to participants who may wish to explore similar methods and applications. Working with limited staff and resources, we focused on individual strengths and perspectives--Liz with the collection, teaching, and relationships with faculty across campus; Beth with digital humanities, teaching, and entry-level digital technologies; Amber with prior experience using RTI and perspective as a graduate student who is both learning from and teaching with models. Amber is the Academic Programs Intern at the museum, and is also the Teaching Assistant in a studio course that is a key collaborator in this project. We intentionally select objects from a diverse range of makers and cultures, and use information gleaned from the models to improve our representation of objects and their contexts, and even to decolonize the collection. We focus on objects where the catalog data is limited. By employing multiple imaging techniques for the same object, we provide different types of information and invite consideration of what each model can tell us, and how that differs from what the physical object can tell us in person. Especially for objects that are on display with limited visibility and those that are too delicate to handle, digital models and techniques offer an opportunity for students and other users to manipulate an object on their own terms, nurturing agency and a sense of play. A goal of the project is to teach students how to create their own models, as a way to encourage close looking and exploration of art.

1:30pm -- 2:30pm Keynote

  • Bryan Alexander "Gaming and Liberal Education"
    • Introduction by Joe Shelley, Vice President for Libraries and Information Technology, Hamilton College 
    • Moderated by Maria Genao-Homs, Associate Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion, Hamilton College

2:30pm --3:00pm Meet n’ Greet with Keynote Speaker/Virtual Reception

  • Bryan Alexander

3:00pm - 4:00pm Workshops

  • Team-Based Learning as Play

Russell Marcus, Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy, Hamilton; moderated by Lisa Forrest, Davidson College

This sixty-minute interactive workshop will introduce attendees to team-based learning (TBL) through its connections to the structure of collaborative play experiences such as those at a pub quiz (or trivia night). Students learn quickly that they function better together on significant structured tasks than they do individually. I will demonstrate the software that I’ve been using this term for my TBL class, InteDashboard, which serves as a platform for TBL classes.

  • Looking at QLAB Quantitative Skills Modules from New Perspectives

LACOL QLAB Core Team: Melissa Eblen-Zayas, Professor of Physics, Carleton College, and Laura Muller, Director of Quantitative Skills Programs and Peer Support, Williams College; moderated by Mihai Stoiciu, Williams College

In the fall of 2019, over 75 faculty members contributed ideas about what they would like to see in QLAB online modules to support students in reviewing and strengthening basic quantitative skills seen in a variety of introductory STEM and social science courses. In this workshop, we will review the modules that were developed, and discuss responses of those who tested the modules this year. In light of the 2020-2021 teaching experiences, how do you think the modules should be modified? What are the extensions you would like to see to the existing modules? What are topics where you would like to see covered in new modules? Participants will engage in conversations with LACOL faculty and staff within their discipline and across disciplines.


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

8:30am -9:00am Gathering

  • Program assistance available

9:00am --10:00am 

  • Student-led Dialogues toward Anti-Racist Pedagogies and Equitable Assessment

Sophia Friedman '21, Amherst College; Hurum Tohfa ‘22, Bryn Mawr College; Claire Tobin ‘21, Davidson College; Ebony Graham ‘23, Haverford College; Nandeeta Bala ‘22, Vassar College; moderated by Liz Evans, LACOL

Introductions by Alison Cook-Sather, Bryn Mawr and moderated by Liz Evans, LACOL

The global pandemic exacerbated existing inequities and created new ones; therefore, now more than ever faculty, staff, and students need to be in dialogue with one another about how to challenge both existing and new inequities. In Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, five students connected through their Student Pedagogy Partnership Programs to design and lead two series of powerful discussions: Toward Equity in Assessment: A Cross-Constituency Dialogue and Student Perspectives on Trauma-informed, Anti-racist Teaching and Learning in Hybrid and Remote Contexts. Many rich conversations, drawing on annotated reading and resources curated by the student partners, reflect the importance of shared spaces for open dialogue. Join this LACOL 2021 workshop session to hear straight from the student partners about the meaning of their experiences, and connect with faculty, staff and students from across LACOL to share your thoughts and gain perspectives.

  • Transforming Blended Learning: What the Pandemic Offers to the New Normal

Maria Ocando Finol, Educational Technology Specialist, Bryn Mawr; Michael Jones, Director of Language and Media Centers\Makerspace, Swarthmore; Christine Boyland, Senior Educational Technology Specialist, Bryn Mawr;  Jacqueline Tull, Makerspace Manager, Swarthmore; Ashley Turner, Academic Technologist, Swarthmore; moderated by Steve Taylor, Vassar

Only a year after Covid-19 restrictions significantly reshaped academic activities, liberal arts colleges are already preparing for the next great change — the shift back to residential, in-person life. On one hand, as social human beings, we are eager to “go back to normal” and recover the rich interpersonal, location-bound experiences that drive our day-to-day. On the other, as educational technologists, makers, and educators in general, we are compelled to highlight the lessons we have learned from the pandemic, and to use that knowledge to transform and redesign life for the better as we start over. With this goal in mind, presenters in this roundtable will offer insights regarding key initiatives that Swarthmore and Bryn Mawr College implemented during remote learning, and about how these initiatives will and should affect teaching and learning going forward. In particular, we’ll address the topics of space adaptations for remote learning and how they can be applied in the future to record lectures and create flipped classroom materials; the next stage of asynchronous event participation, what it can offer, and how it can help promote tech diversity and inclusion; the role of online platforms when engaging students in critical making; collaborating with faculty to provide support and guidance for better student engagement while teaching remote; and the role of staff in supporting conscientious, equitable, and transformative uses of technology. This roundtable will provide ample time for discussion. We invite participants to bring their own suggestions for post-remote academic life, their insights on what we should carry forward, and their hopes for more transformative uses of technology in the new normal.

10:15am -- 11:15am 

  • Emerging Technologies and Digital Innovations in the French Language Classroom

Claire Mouflard, Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies, Hamilton; Martine Guyot-Bender, Professor of French and Francophone Studies, Hamilton; Katarzyna Stempniak, Visiting Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies, Hamilton; Yen Vu, Postdoctoral Fellow in French and Francophone Studies, Hamilton; moderated by Mike Jones, Swarthmore

Over the past 20 years, language instructors have adopted new technologies which enhance their students’ learning in and outside the classroom, and have used them in conjunction with the more traditional, non-technological pedagogical tools of language teaching. In 2020, language instructors were forced to explore, research, adopt, and adapt new digital teaching tools to their courses which would not only enhance but, in some cases, completely replace the in-person classroom experience. The three speakers on this panel will present the  innovative tools and practices they have incorporated within their French language classroom in both remote and hybrid learning environments. Martine Guyot-Bender will discuss her incorporating live interactions on Zoom with French authors in her literature course, along with a synchronous virtual visit of the National Museum of Immigration in Paris led by a French specialist on site. Katarzyna Stempniak will then present the assignments in her senior seminar on French fashion, using the virtual collections at the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, along with her use of the software Timeline Knightlab. Finally, Yen Vu will present on the incorporation of digital and social media trends, including memes, TikTok, and post-it forums, in the language classroom in order to diversify participation and engage Generation Z language learners. Because of the challenges that the virtual language classroom has presented in maintaining a student-centered learning environment, such redefinitions of “participation” and course assignments demonstrate the importance of adapting and adopting new strategies that can render the classroom experience more meaningful and equitable to all learners.

12:30pm --1:30pm

  • Looking Back to Move Forward: Digital Accessibility and Innovation During and Beyond COVID-19

Shivaji Kumar, Digital Accessibility Specialist, Amherst; moderated by Natalia Toporikova, Washington and Lee 

This presentation focuses on digital accessibility at liberal arts colleges and explores the impact of learning and pedagogical practices on accessibility during the period of COVID-19. COVID-19 intensified the need for dealing with digital accessibility, in that more learning content migrated online than ever before. Even before the onset of COVID-19, however, there was an increase in digital accessibility litigations against higher education institutions. The year 2020 witnessed 2.45 percent of the total digital accessibility litigations against higher education institutions. Because of these combined circumstances, many higher education institutions have made adjustments to their workflows by integrating into their online course offerings accessibility measures such as, but not limited to, captioning for hard-of-hearing learners, alt-text for vision-impaired students, and digital textbooks for all. However, along with providing digital content, platforms and technologies have also raised accessibility concerns. The reality is that while some changes in the past year have made learning more accessible for all students, there are other changes that have disrupted progress toward accessibility. Furthermore, it is still unclear which of these adopted technologies, tools, or techniques (both positive and negative) will continue to persist once learning shifts back to more traditional in-class learning.

We will discuss, among many other issues, the following:

1. What novel practices/techniques liberal arts colleges developed during COVID-19 to address digital accessibility?

2. What trends regarding accessibility emerged that are likely to persist beyond COVID-19?

3. Did any specific accessibility-related tools/technologies become particularly dominant during this period and are likely to have wider application in higher education?

  • 20 Minute Presentations

Creating a Linguistics Podcast about Accents during COVID Times
Kelcie Zarle ’22, Hamilton; moderated by Liz Evans, LACOL

This individual short talk will work to unpack the challenges that came with creating a podcast during the COVID-19 pandemic. One main focus will be to explain the process of learning how to use a new platform virtually. Another focus will be to explain how interviews were conducted in a virtual manner. The short talk will also include a discussion of the project goals and the general creation of the podcast from start to finish. The Linguistics project looked specifically at what accents meant to different people and what accents meant in regard to someone's identity, so a discussion of this will definitely be included in the short talk.

Procedural Generation for Story-Driven Worlds Demonstration: Atlas Chronicle
Elizabeth Matthews, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Washington and Lee; moderated by Liz Evans, LACOL

Procedural Content Generation for Games is the application of computers to generate game content such as landscapes, patterns, or maps. This system (Atlas Chronicle) generates world maps for games that feature story-driven locations. The system uses a combination of story abstraction, graphs, physics simulation, Perlin noise, interpolation, and climate mapping to generate 2D tile-based maps given a basic story structure. To measure the fitness of the levels generated, a user study was performed using established game enjoyment metrics. The study utilized three different content generation approaches for comparison. Eighteen participants (11 Male, 7 Female), aged between 18 and 24 years old were screened based on their prior gaming experience. Results show that levels generated by Atlas Chronicle resulted in statistically similar responses as for the manually designed and static levels.

Building a bilingual digital literacy curriculum: a collaboration with New Sanctuary Movement
Lina Maria Martinez Hernandez, Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish, Haverford, Ariana Huberman, Spanish Department at Haverford College and Marguerite Kise, Political Education Coordinator at the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia; moderated by Liz Evans, LACOL

Digital literacy is now fundamental and should be guaranteed as a right for everyone. That includes migrants and/or Spanish speakers living in the US. Through a collaboration between the Spanish Department at Haverford College and the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, we are working together to create the resources needed to provide a bilingual Digital Literacy Curriculum. The New Sanctuary Movement (NSM) of Philadelphia is an organization that offers radical hospitality for newly arrived migrants. It works with 20+ faith-based congregations and, accelerated by the pandemic, many of their campaigns, events, workshops are being offered online. NSM's leaders recognized the need to offer educational tools to their members that would grant them access not only to the events and actions offered by the organization, but that would enable them to become autonomous digital citizens with a critical perspective on the use of communication and information technologies. With those goals in mind, NSM, the Spanish Department, and language students in the Spanish intermediate courses, are now collaborating by bringing together the different knowledges we already possess: Haverford students possess basic digital skills, while NSM's members possess Spanish language skills, as well as the knowledge of the needs and desires from their community. Together, we are designing bilingual pedagogical tools (i.e. tutorials and lesson plans) and training community leaders to become digital literacy instructors. Our common goal is to bring together different types of knowledge and skills from all of the participants involved to create a community-informed curriculum that can better serve bilingual and/or migrant communities in our area and beyond.

1:30pm -- 2:30pm Keynote

  • Heather Pleasants "Reimagining the Future(s) of Learning: Play in Speculative Spaces"
    • Introduction by Nathan Goodale, Associate Dean of Faculty and Associate Professor of Anthropology
    • Moderated by Beth Bohstedt, Director, Learning and Research Services, Hamilton College

2:30pm --3:00pm Meet n’ Greet with Keynote Speaker/Virtual Reception

  • Heather Pleasants

3:00pm - 4:00pm Affinity Groups/Workshops

  • Play and Innovation: Using GIS Technology to Teach the Gerrymandering Game (and How to Kill Gerrymanders)

Mark Rush, Waxberg Prof. Politics and Law, Dir. Ctr for Intl Ed, Washington and Lee; Dick Kuettner, Director, W&L Global Discovery Labs, Washington and Lee

In this workshop, we will demonstrate how to use ArcMap and its redistricting extension as a tool not only to teach GIS skills but also to inculcate an appreciation for the complexities of democracy. We will offer a brief overview of this legal and political background as we demonstrate how GIS software can be used to teach the “gerrymandering game” and instill a clear sense of how to make that game fairer. This, in turn, helps to provide a broader perspective on how to think about political rules more generally and understand the intricacies of the democratic process.

  • Affinity Group Meetings 
    • Language Instruction - moderated by Dr. Lioba Gerhardi, German Language, Literature, and Culture; Self-Instructional Language Program Coordinator, Vassar College 
    • Effective Teaching and Learning - moderated by Dr. Paul Hanstedt, Director of the Harte Center for Teaching and Learning, Washington and Lee University

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

8:30am -9:00am Gathering

  • Program assistance available

9:00am --10:00am 

  • LACOL Shared Course Initiative - Designing the Future

Liz Evans, LACOL Consortium Director, Haverford; moderated by Janet Scannell, Carleton College

Experimenting with effective online modules and courses for the liberal arts has been a major area of exploration for LACOL over the past four years. Now, having gained invaluable experience from our shared experiments and emerging from the pandemic that has upended many assumptions, the time is right to *deeply consider* where LACOL may go from here. Join this session to brainstorm with LACOL colleagues on a future vision for shared online/hybrid courses and modules that serve our students and institutions. What are the potential motivations and curricular benefits for faculty, staff, students and the institutions? What can we offer collectively that we cannot offer (as effectively) individually?

Recommendations from this session will be shared with LACOL’s Advisory Councils as input to strategic planning.

10:15am -- 11:15am 

  • Innovative Partnerships: Digital Learning and Off-Campus Studies

Sacharja Cunningham, Instructional Designer, Hamilton; Madeleine La Cotera, Assistant Director of Off Campus Study, Hamilton, Jiin Jeong '21, Digital Scholarship Services Intern, Hamilton; moderated by Gina Seising, Bryn Mawr

At Hamilton College, 72% of the student population studies off- campus. Students return to Hamilton describing their experience as “life-changing” or “eye-opening,” for example, but frequently find themselves unable to articulate their complex experience beyond the expected script. To engage students in processing their experiences upon their return to campus and in an effort to continue to guide students through the experiential learning stages that lead to a transformative study abroad experience, the Office of Off-Campus Study (OCS) partnered with Library and Information Technology Services (LITS) to create a student-centered and multidisciplinary project that would provide students with the opportunity to create meaning from their time off-campus. In 2019, we launched a video storytelling and archive project that would enable students to clearly explain the knowledge they gained from their off-campus experience, amplify the voices of students from minoritized backgrounds, and enhance student’s digital learning and competencies. Over the course of a semester, students attended digital media workshops and had multiple opportunities to reflect on their off-campus experience. We will outline the process of designing and then refining the project structure based on goals from OCS and LITS. Given the long-term nature of the project, we will cover a timeline of successes, areas for improvement, and lessons learned so far from its various stages in an effort to provide attendees with best practices for similar projects. As a result, our discussion will explore the following questions. How do libraries and resource centers collaborate in spearheading blended learning outside the classroom? In doing so, what are the steps to structuring a project that gradually equips students with the relevant skills to self-sufficiently tell their story in a digital format? Based on that skill development, how do we know when students have successfully become collaborators alongside professional staff? Furthermore, how do we encourage students to have agency in actively processing their off-campus experience individually and with peers also returning to campus in ways that benefit future students studying off- campus? Ultimately, how can the concept of play shape the design process for blended learning so that collaborators strike a balance between having clear goals and pivoting as necessary?

12:30pm --1:30pm 

  • 20 Minute Presentations

Pandemic-Driven Academic Innovation
Emily Liu,  Professor of Nuclear Engineering in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Jasmine Yang, Director of Institutional Research and Assessment, Hamilton; Keith Moo-Young, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; moderated by Barron Koralesky, Williams

Life during a global pandemic is not easy. It is very difficult to constantly innovate the ways to teach and live. We are devoting three, even four times more of our day to our teaching responsibilities than before the pandemic hit. However, the feeling that we have uncovered new ways to educate is actually very satisfying. The silver lining is that we have discovered we are strong and innovative. At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), fueled by innovative methods and techniques developed by Faculty, Undergraduate Education Office, Institutional Research & Assessment (IR&A), and Cognitive and Immersive Systems Lab (CISL), students studying remotely and those attending socially distant classes on campus are gaining a world-class education at a time that demands adaptability and resilience. Faculty have been tasked with coming up with ways to deliver a high-quality education across time zones, in person, and using technology in ways that didn’t even exist at the beginning of last year. From developing new tools to using established technologies in novel ways to completely rethinking the concept of a classroom, the faculty is leading the way to provide students an exemplary level of learning during the pandemic and into the future. In this proposal, we will discuss a collaborative study to utilize existing immersive technologies.  Since the beginning of remote learning, we have been looking for new ways to connect with our students, even when that means exploring options in the virtual world. Collaborating with IR&A, CISL, and the Office of Undergraduate Education, we and our Nuclear Phenomena for Engineering Applications students are on the vanguard of pedagogy by using a game environment and avatars to teach and learn in real time in a virtual classroom through the use of a remote-work platform called Virbela. This immersive software lets our lecture to students and answer questions in ways we had not ever considered in Professor Liu’s 15 years of teaching. Our hope is that by incorporating this virtual classroom into the students’ experience, we can meet them in a dynamic environment that will enrich their learning. Based on our course evaluation results, 87% of the students agree or strongly agree that they feel a sense of belonging to a community participating in this class. “Virbela made class feel more interactive and special,” one student said. Another student said “The classroom experience was very wonderful and by far the best course of mine, in part to the software.”

Increasing Online Engagement through Canva
Sean Keenan, Educational and Scholarly Technology Assistant, Bryn Mawr; moderated by Barron Koralesky, Williams

This presentation will be focusing on the graphic design software known as “Canva” and how it can be utilized in higher education as a method of user engagement. The presentation will be covering the versatility of Canva’s “Templates” system which assigns a design with the needed dimensions for a variety of different formats, such as presentations, posters, and social media posts. This is coupled with Canva's availability of free-to-use photographs and elements which form the decorative aspect of their design. In this discussion of available images, I will be focusing on graphics within the art style known as “Alegria” to showcase how the software utilizes strategic imagery that is known to draw user attention and engagement. I will be providing examples of some of the ways my institution has utilized Canva to help cultivate our social media presence and to stimulate outreach to the Bryn Mawr College community. Attendants of this presentation will come out at the end with an understanding of the diversity and flexibility in compiling graphics through Canva’s interface and how they themselves can utilize this software at their own institution.

Now that We Built the Classroom Technology, Will They Keep Coming?
Wiebke Kuhn, Director of Academic Technology, Carleton; moderated by Barron Koralesky, Williams

*please note that due to unforeseen circumstances, this session will not be live.

In this round table discussion, the focus is on how classroom technology that was necessitated by the COVID19 pandemic will be used and maintained in the future. What questions do we need to ask to determine what spaces warrant continued deployment of cameras and microphones? How is the conversation around post-pandemic teaching and learning informing classroom technology and, more broadly, classroom/learning space design? As many institutions in higher education are considering how to leverage last year’s experiences with remote learning, hoping to continue offering online choices for students, small liberal arts institutions and their primary residential nature may need to look more carefully what physical learning spaces look and feel like to incoming students. Are we still projecting an image of 19th-century industrialized education with large lecture halls that do not invite student-centered teaching and learning? Do the spaces echo students’ high school experiences or do they preview potential work environments so that students are better prepared for the spaces they will most likely work in? One tool that may help keep a focus on innovation in learning spaces is Educause’s Learning Space Rating system ( , with the 3rd version just released. The larger goal of this session is starting an ongoing conversation around our learning spaces, how we assess them, what resources we provide faculty to be successful in these spaces, and how we plan these spaces to ensure student success for all.

  • 30 Minute Presentations

Aus der Finsternis: Cross-Institutional Intermediate German with Dark (Netflix 2017-20)
Sunka Simon, Professor of German, Film and Media Studies, Swarthmore, Matthew Miller, Associate Professor of German, Colgate, Pia Eger, DAAD Fellow, Colgate; moderated by Liz Evans, LACOL

This group presentation (ca. 30 minutes, 10 minutes each) will showcase the pedagogical and technological tools utilized to achieve the learning outcomes for the LACOL sponsored cross-institutional digitally connected Intermediate German course in the fall semester of 2020 between Swarthmore and Colgate Colleges. The three collaborators will explore both synchronous and asynchronous activities and projects built on cross-institutional team-screenings of weekly episodes of Dark's first season on Netflix.

  • Poster Session Question and Answer Period

Join the poster presenters with your questions and comments. Moderated by Nhora Lucía Serrano, Hamilton College.

View the posters at

Advancing Data Curation and Archiving: An Application of Coding to Lab Management in the Geosciences
Tierney Latham '21, Hamilton, Cat Beck, Assistant Professor of Geosciences, Hamilton, Bruce Wegter, Sciences Instrumentation Technician, Hamilton, Ahra Wu, Data Science/Analysis Research Librarian, Hamilton

"No Time to Play Around:" Addressing Equity and Cultivating Play with Library Workers
Lorin Jackson, Interim Head of Access & User Services, Black Studies Librarian, Swarthmore

Joining the Team: Collaborating with Athletics for Increased Student Success
Kristin Strohmeyer, Research and Community Engagement Librarian, Hamilton and Nhora Lucía Serrano, Associate Director for Digital Learning and Research, Hamilton

1:30pm -- 2:30pm Keynote

  • Catherine D'Ignazio "Data Feminism"
    • Introduction by Suzanne Keen, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, Hamilton College
    • Moderated by Ahra Wu, Data Science/Analysis Research Librarian, Hamilton College

2:30pm --3:00pm Meet n’ Greet with Keynote Speaker/Virtual Reception

  • Catherine D'Ignazio

3:00pm - 4:00pm Affinity Groups/Workshops

  • The “Perfect” Instructional Video

Dann Hurlbert, Media & Digital Specialist, Carleton; moderated by Alex Savoth, Haverford

Asynchronous instruction is often seen as creating content to be consumed--whether that involves readings or videos. This presentation (and video series) shares important research on delivering content while also modeling ways to engage with it. Whether teaching face-to-face or online, video continues to be a valuable tool for instructors. Perfection is always a goal, and there are some tips that can help faculty make their videos and online instruction even more engaging and effective.  For this session, Dann will provide an overview of the content before inviting attendees to explore a couple short, "Perfect Instructional Videos." You’ll be invited to interact by completing the associated questions or activities, and Dann will be available throughout to answer questions and provide additional insights.  For participants who like to work ahead, the video series is available here:

  • Affinity Group Meetings
    • Data Science and Quantitative Skills - moderated by Dr. Laurie Heyer, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, Davidson College
    • Inclusive Pedagogies  - moderated by Riley Caldwell-O'Keefe, Director, Center for Teaching and Learning, Amherst College


Contact Information

Research & Instructional Design Team

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, New York 13323
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