For the past 8 years, I’ve been working on a co-edited volume, Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities, that includes the stuff of teaching, syllabi, assignments, rubrics, that are often the unsung and often an invisible labor of our teaching jobs. To write a clear, concise, well-situated assignment prompt is an art form, especially considering that our students’ abilities and needs have experienced a profound shift in the last 10 years.
What am I talking about?
Those full-fledged computers we carry around in our pockets.
Or, the need for wifi at all places all over campus to research, write, engage.
Or, the network of friends we’ve all established in a virtual world.
I’ve spent a lot of my career here at SJSU converting my research-oriented practices towards a more forward-facing collaboration with my students in project-centered learning environments. During my first forays into adventures with SJSU English and Composition students more than a decade ago, I taught the way that faculty had taught me at Cal State L.A. so many years ago: lectures with lots of interesting discussion centered around a novel or poem or philosophical musing. Grad school was like that, too, until I got into my dissertation area. And, I just assumed, even while teaching at multiple schools in the City University of New York system, that all students were as fascinated as I was about literature, culture, news, politics, the world. The CUNY students at Hostos Community College, Queens College, and Lehman College taught me differently, but in the throes of finishing a dissertation, living in the vibrancy of NYC, and moving across country for a job, I didn’t quite get it.
And, I didn’t quite get it when I arrived at SJSU an Assistant Professor in 2005, though I had just finished a traditional dissertation PLUS a project-based dissertation where my advisors let me roam around, ask questions, fail, and discover for myself. I hadn’t yet found a bridge to be able to facilitate that kind of learning…at least until Digital Humanities methodologies became much more transparent.
The Excelsior Online Writing Lab (OWL) makes it’s debut at San Jose State University fall 2018 semester. The Excelsior OWL is a replacement for Writer’s Help, it’s a free, open educational resource that is easy to use and mobile friendly! This powerful online tool is an excellent resource that instructors can freely share with their students so that they can get the help they need to improve their reading and writing skills. Students can also go directly to Excelsior OWL on their own, no account is necessary.
Reading & Writing Support
The Excelsior OWL if chock full of engaging college level interactive content on a variety of topics.There are actual two distinct areas of Excelsior OWL, the Online Reading Lab and the Online Writing Lab. Both are easy to navigate, and the search feature returns targeted and more relevant results than searching in Google.
Instructors might be interested in several other exciting options that let them integrate Excelsior OWL content with their own curriculum. The link below takes you to a page that shows you how to get the HTML embed code of over one hundred writing activities and almost two hundred interactive reading activities. Once you have the embed code, you easily add it to your own page in Canvas. Your students will be able to see and interact with that content without ever leaving your Canvas course.
How much do you know about Piazza, the robust wiki-style Q & A platform that helps boost participation of women and minorities in STEM and other disciplines? If you’re not familiar with it this is a great opportunity to meet representatives who will be on hand for a demo, and hear from a panel of SJSU faculty who use and recommend Piazza. This platform helps boost the participation of women and minorities, in STEM and other disciplines!
Recent research indicates that students really value recorded lectures to supplement their learning, and videos can stand in for you when you are NOT face to face with your students. It’s also easier than ever to get started with video development, with Camtasia! From a quick motivational talking-head style pep talk, a screen-cast showing a software application, to a narrated PowerPoint with additional images and effects, Camtasia is a robust program that lets you do it all.
In fact, there’s still room in the two beginner workshops scheduled for tomorrow, September 26th, at 9 and 10am. Don’t hesitate to get in on the fun, email firstname.lastname@example.org to join one or both workshops!
(NOTE: Camtasia is available for SJSU faculty and staff only. For students interested in video check out your options with Adobe!)