The links for this week include a way of viewing digital collections, strategies for how to assess digital scholarship, the mash-up vs the MOOC, and an infographic on stats about online courses. Enjoy!
Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance first introduced me to the competing concepts of the “classical” aesthetic and the “romantic” aesthetic. In short, and with apologies to Dr. Pirsig, the classical aesthetic is the ability to see beauty and meaning in systems and the interconnectivity of systems, while the romantic aesthetic is the ability to see beauty and meaning in individual objects. While these two aesthetics are not necessarily at odds with each other, I find that in my work as an academic technologist in the humanities, it really helps me to understand and exploit these distinctions.
I never thought I’d see the day when I had to confess to becoming a classroom flipper. After generations of teaching courses that focus almost entirely on interaction among the students, I’m now trying to learn how to create screencasts of my “lectures” so that students can “cover the material” before they come to the class session. The course I’ll be teaching this spring is an undergraduate course in the Mason School of Business on “using computers to make business decisions.” I taught the class last spring as an experiment, and if there ever was a course that begged to be put online, this is the one.
Last spring I used a wiki in a course for the first time. It had its ups and downs, but for the most part it went well and it was a useful tool. However, as these things go, it of course had some pitfalls (caused by me, not the wiki itself) — the most surprising to me was the way that student collaborative writing went. The ease of collaborative writing was the aspect of using a wiki I was most sold on, and it did not work out at all the way I’d expected.
The educational blogosphere has definitely been abuzz about e-learning in the last year. One part of the conversation has turned to leveraging technology to develop alternatives to the term paper. Assigning different kinds of writing assignments can hold students to the rigorous research standards of traditional long papers while also helping students gain skills in different writing and presentation styles as well as bringing new kinds of technology-based blended learning to the classroom. In this post, Arts Librarian Kathleen DeLaurenti shares some of her experiences helping to develop alternative assignments.
While writing my post on how I use Evernote, I thought a lot about why I chose to use it over keeping my dissertation notes organized in Zotero or DEVONthink Pro Office, the two other research managers that we’ve written about on the blog. So, the following is a brief overview of each application and reasons why you might want to use one over the other. So, if you’re trying to decide what application you might want to try out this may help you out!