Information Services is excited to announce the eleven faculty who have received the Open Educational Resources (OER) Exploration Grant for 2019. The grant includes a monetary award as well as staff assistance to explore and investigate open resources that can be used in courses in lieu of traditional textbooks.
The grant aims to reduce educational costs for students by providing free or low-cost learning materials that are available from day one of their classes. The cost of tuition is nearly $70,000 and financial aid spending has increased 3.4 percent at Connecticut College since 2017. In the 2018 New Camel Survey, almost two-thirds of the class expressed concern about their ability to finance their college education. This program will support Connecticut College’s strategic priority toward financial strength and explore new ways to make a Connecticut College education affordable.
The grant provides funding and support for pedagogical innovation. Open educational materials can be tailored to fit the needs of Connecticut College students and allows students to be active participants in the process of course content creation. In addition, OER expand academic freedom, giving faculty copyright-free options to produce personalized learning materials to meet the specific needs of our students at our institution. Faculty are untethered from the rigid structures and content produced by textbook publishers.
Congratulations to the following faculty!
Rachel Black, Anthropology
Luis Gonzalez, Hispanic Studies
Jillian Marshall and Jennifer Gorman, Psychology
Emily Kuder, Hispanic Studies
Kathy McKeon and Warren Johnson, Mathematics and Statistics
Luz Nick, Hispanic Studies
Yongjin Park, Economics
Maria Rosa, Biology Ari Rotramel, Gender, Sexuality and Intersectionality Studies
What implications could the release of these materials into the public domain have for scholars and teachers? All public domain materials can be remixed, revised, translated, and explored in in new ways. For example, the literary works listed in this document can now be scanned (if they are not already available in Hathi Trust) and shared. Students can engage with the online texts in new collaborative ways – asking questions, discussing passages, and adding annotation to enhance understanding. Scholars can more easily perform new analysis of the texts using data mining and data analysis techniques, not to mention include rights-free images in scholarly publications. Artists and musicians can draw on previous works, remix and adapt them, creating new works that respond to the present. Literature can be translated into new languages, making them available to audiences for the first time. Books and short stories can be transformed into screenplays for the stage and film. In short, works in the public domain foster creativity and innovation by building on our cultural heritage.
Have you ever wanted to create a digital companion for a book project? Do you have collections of research materials collecting dust or physically degrading in your office, or large datasets you’d like to develop into maps or visualizations to accompany your written scholarship? Would you like your students to actively engage with Special Collections & Archives materials or your own research? Are you interested in engaging directly with new communities through crowdsourcing and public scholarship?
If any of these questions resonate with you, and you would like to involve students in the processes of digitization, analysis, and online publishing, please see the Call for Proposals and consider applying to participate in the Digital Scholarship Fellows Program. As a 2019 Digital Scholarship Fellow, you would have the opportunity to work with Information Services staff members and other faculty fellows to 1) gain new technological skills to support the production and broad dissemination of your research; 2) scaffold research projects involving digital technologies and collaboration with students and other partners; and 3) present the results of your participation in the program at speaking engagements at both Connecticut College and other institutions engaging in creative digital scholarship.
Digital scholarship offers liberal arts colleges opportunities to leverage the close working relationship between students and faculty and develop students’ research and technology skill sets through experiential learning. Digital scholarship tools and methodologies reflect a changing landscape in both teaching and scholarship, including innovations in instructional technology, content management platforms, humanities computing, and open-access publishing. The Digital Scholarship Fellows Program invests resources in faculty who want to both model these changes and help build a foundation of best practices for the campus. In support of the College’s commitment to enhancing academic distinction, the DSF Program will promote the research objectives outlined in the College’s Strategic Plan.
Not sure if your project ideas are a good fit for the Digital Scholarship Fellows Program? Contact the Assistant Director for Digital Scholarship, Lyndsay Bratton (firstname.lastname@example.org, x2729), to talk about your ideas and hear more about the program.
On Monday, November 12, join Information Services and the Office of the Dean of Faculty for the inaugural Digital Scholarship and Pedagogy in the Liberal Arts Symposium at Connecticut College. You can see the full schedule and details here.
The symposium is the culminating event of the first year of the Digital Scholarship Fellows Program, funded by the Office of the Dean of Faculty and supported by staff members across Information Services. This all-day event features presentations by faculty, technologists, and librarians on methods and outcomes of collaborative digital scholarship in the liberal arts. Learn about the possibilities of using digitization, mapping, crowdsourcing, and online publishing to conduct and share your research in exciting new ways. Hear about initiatives at Trinity College and UConn’s Greenhouse Studios, in addition to developments here at home.
We are pleased to present keynote speaker Nicholas Bauch from the University of Minnesota at 4:30pm in Olin 014:
The symposium is generously co-sponsored by the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology, the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment, the Environmental Studies program, and the departments of Anthropology, Biology, and Religious Studies.
Every year in October we celebrate Open Access Week, an international celebration of everything open. If this doesn’t sound familiar, read up on the topic through the (brief!) blog posts we published in previous years:
We also invite you to attend and participate in a hands-on workshop to explore and discover OER for your courses, learn about and help shape future grant opportunities for OER implementation. Details are below – feel free to register or stop by as your schedule allows. As always, coffee and snacks will be provided!
OER and Your Course: Integrating Open Content into the Curriculum – Register Monday, October 22 | 3:00-4:00pm | Advanced Technology Lab, Shain Library
Open educational resources (OER) are educational materials that are distributed at no cost and have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and other materials. Much work has been done at the College to integrate OER into classes. We will share what OER programming is developing and how to integrate these resources and practices into your own courses.
In this blog post, I want to offer up a few key reasons to consider using Wikipedia in your class:
As of As of Friday, November 10, English Wikipedia had 5,491,385 articles and is estimated to be the seventh most popular site in the United States, and the fifth most popular in the world. I have yet to teach a student who has not visited Wikipedia. While there is a longstanding skepticism of the reliability of Wikipedia, students are often unclear about how the encyclopedia works and yet often use it for information. Through a Wikipedia-engaged assignment, faculty can assist students in learning when Wikipedia could be useful and when it is not an appropriate source.
You can do it!
Thanks to the Wiki Education Foundation’s development of an online dashboard, there is an increasingly easy to use and nicely scaffolded way to plan out an assignment. My dashboardallows me to draw on the trainings provided by Wiki Education to help students learn the basics to Wikipedia as a community, as well as how to edit, conduct research, write an article, and provide substantive feedback to their peers. It also harnesses the transparency of Wikipedia to make it easy to track students work throughout a project. Plus, each class gets connected to a Wikipedia content expert who can provide additional support to students. I have asked my content editors to video chat with students the past two years and that has been helpful for establishing rapport. All in all, while I don’t ever feel like I’m an uber-Wikipedian, I know that I have the basic knowledge needed and when I hit a roadblock, I have the support I need.
Students respond well to the challenge of a Wikipedia assignment because it engages with a public-facing platform. In this case, it’s a site that possibly everyone they know has visited at some point. As a result, they care more about doing high quality work because they have a sense of responsibility towards a public audience. They also look forward to sharing their work with friends and family. Finally, I already have had a student be asked to do Wikipedia work during a junior year internship, and she surprised her placement supervisor by already having this experience.
Student Feedback & Assessment
This fall in their reflection essays, students noted that this assignment allows them to engage with a mainstream audience.
As a student argued:
In 2017, in a climate of extreme political polarization and turmoil, as well as an increasing sense of distrust in news and credible sources, assignments such as the Wikipedia Project are exceptionally valuable, in terms of the content they produce, as well as the online communities they form and support.
Student created content creates a sense of accountability and agency within learning. Producing knowledge is empowering. It gives students a sense of greater purpose within the classroom, creating a conversation in which students can be critical of information and its production. Instead of simply reading about theories about voices being left out and that there is not enough content written by women, I was able to learn transferable skills and add to the voices on Wikipedia that are written about and by women.
Overall, while they noted some limitations of both Wikipedia (an important element to the assignment to develop their understanding of concepts like positivism, objectivity, situated knowledges, and standpoint epistemology) and working with materials from the archives, students reported that this was a particularly compelling assignment unlike a standard research paper.
I’m a young researcher from Guatemala who has been asked by a national TV channel to talk about climate change and hurricanes in an interview. Having access to this highly relevant article gave me the chance to prepare for the interview and provide the most science-based information. Thanks!!
Inspiring stories about how OA has helped people across the world abound. Read stories from people around the world that used openly available articles made available through Harvard and MIT to achieve goals. Or peruse bePress’s 100 Stories of Impact report to learn about the impact of OA to institutions, authors, and readers.
At Connecticut College, faculty research in our institutional repository has been downloaded 33,332 times. Of those, 45% (or 14,890) downloads are from the United States, with the remaining downloads coming from 175 countries. Top countries include the UK, China, Canada, India, and Germany.
Upload your work to Connecticut College’s digital repository, Digital Commons, and make your research available to a global audience. Our repository works directly with Google and other search engines to maximize the visibility of your work. Attend our workshop tomorrow at 4:15pm in the Davis Classroom and learn how we can help you contribute to this movement.
Let us help you get your research to the broadest audience possible! Institutional repositories like Digital Commons work directly with Google and other search engines to maximize the visibility of your work. Putting your published research in Digital Commons is an easy, effective way to increase access to your work by making it available to a worldwide community of researchers who might not otherwise have access to expensive databases. Bring a CV to this workshop and library staff will help you determine which articles, conference presentations, and other research can be made openly available in Digital Commons.
Join us on Wednesday, October 25, 4:15-5:00 in the Davis Classroom (main floor, Shain Library). Register (recommended but not required) by filling out the registration form or by emailing Jessica McCullough.
Will you be at Camp Teach & Learn next week? If so we look forward to seeing you at the following sessions!
Reflect, Integrate, Demonstrate: Student Digital Portfolio Pilots Wednesday 24 May 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM
As we build a curriculum that asks students to reflect upon and integrate their coursework and co-curricular activities, several members of our teaching and learning community are experimenting with digital portfolios as a space for this work. Through digital portfolios, students can archive artifacts that document and demonstrate their path through their education. Narrative explanations and curated examples make it clear why they selected courses, a major or pathway, as well as what they learned and accomplished. Faculty and staff who have used portfolios or participated in the pilot will share their experiences and sample student portfolios will be demonstrated. We will end with a discussion and leave with ideas for future implementations.
Session leaders: Laura Little and Jessica McCullough; discussants include Amy Dooling, John Madura, Ariella Rotramel, and Sarah Queen.
Open Access & Digital Commons Thursday 25 May 10:30 AM to 12:15
Did you know that most journals allow you to make previously published articles freely available over the internet? Archiving your research in an institutional repository like Digital Commons makes it accessible to researchers who don’t have access to expensive databases and can make it more readily discoverable by those who do. Bring a c.v. or list of publications to this workshop and we will show you how to determine which articles can be made open access and how we can make your research as widely available as possible through Digital Commons. We will also discuss some of the author features that make Digital Commons a practical, useful, and appealing platform for your research.
Developing Digital Humanities Projects:The Why and the How of Digital Scholarship Thursday 25 May 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM
Does digital humanities (DH) research have the same outcomes as traditional research? Does DH appear to require more effort to reach the same end goals? Why do digital humanities?
This session will focus on how digital scholarship projects can enhance student engagement and lend students useful new skillsets (both technical and critical), all while helping you achieve your pedagogical goals. Hear from faculty about why and how they integrated digital projects—mapping, online exhibitions, and computational analysis of data mined from digitized texts—into their humanities courses, what worked well, and what students gained from the experience.
We had a great time creating our tweet-stream about Open Access for International Open Access Week last week! If you didn’t follow us, click on the Storify above to read all our Tweets – I promise you won’t be disappointed! Bonus points if you find yourself mentioned!
I’d like to leave you with what I think the most important information about Open Access is. It is easy to participate and make a difference by including your publication in Digital Commons! Authors usually retain the right to make the final draft of their article freely available. In some instances, we can even make available a pdf of the final published version from the journal. Simply send an email to Ben Panciera and include your CV or a list of citations. Librarians will research your publications, determine what can and cannot be posted (and in what format), and will upload your articles to Digital Commons @ Connecticut College. It is a simple as providing us with a list of citations.
Your research does not need to be locked up behind a paywall, only available to those students and scholars affiliated with institutions that can continue to afford the ever-increasing prices for journal subscription packages. In addition to feeling good about supporting open access, making research available in institutional repositories increases citations to your work. It’s a win-win for everyone, including libraries.