Introducing “Digital Connecticut College”

Digital Connecticut College Homepage

Yesterday we held a workshop to introduce Digital Connecticut College. Thanks to everyone who attended!

What is Digital Connecticut College?

Digital Connecticut College provides students, faculty, and staff with the opportunity to register a domain name and create a digital presence through various mediums such as blogs, portfolios, and wikis. You can easily install open source applications such as WordPress, MediaWiki, Drupal, Scalar, and Omeka to your own domain.

Why would I use it?

Although are are the beginning stages of rolling this out to the community, we can share some ways faculty, staff, and students are already using Digital Connecticut College.

  • Faculty research website. Use your domain as a space for digital scholarship, or to share your research with a broader community.
  • Online annotation of texts. Upload your course material into an interactive site that allows for student comments, discussion, and annotation. CommentPress and hypothes.is are two available options that we can support.
  • Collaborative class website. Several courses created a class website, sharing the results of their coursework with a wide audience.
  • Weekly writing. Students post reflections based on course readings or films. The site is shared with everyone in the class, and students comment on each other’s posts creating a vibrant online discussion.
  • Small group or individual websites. Students can also share their research or a project by creating their own websites.

How do I get started?

Contact Diane Creede, Lyndsay Bratton, or Jessica McCullough to create your domain and get started! If you have an idea, feel free to contact one of us. We can work with anyone regardless of your experience with technology.

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Open Access Week 2018

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:

This year we are focused on advocating for the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) on our campus. Many staff and faculty colleagues have been thinking about ways to decrease the total cost of a Connecticut College education by replacing traditional textbooks with OER. During Open Access week this year, we will conduct a whiteboard survey in Shain Library asking students questions about how students use, acquire, and pay for textbooks. In following weeks we will collect and share the results of the survey.

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.

Copyright Confusion? Attend our workshop next week!

Next Tuesday (October, 2) Fred Folmer will lead a workshop, Copyright Essentials for the Classroom. If you have questions about which materials you can use in in your teaching and research, and when you can use them this workshop is for you. We will help you sort through the key issues surrounding copyrighted materials, including the application of Fair Use as well as various exceptions to copyright, such as the TEACH Act and library reproduction. We’ll also dive into some issues that arise most frequently among college faculty, including the use of copyrighted materials in teaching and assignments; images and video; concerns arising from the public presentation of student work; and copyright/ownership of your own research.

Join Us! Refreshments will be provided.

Copyright Essentials for the Classroom
Tuesday, October 2, 2018 | 10:00 – 11:00 am
Advanced Technology Lab, Lower Level, Shain Library
Register (not required but recommended) by emailing Jessica McCullough or online.

Image credit: Lost and Confused Signpost (CC BY 2.0)

Open Educational Resources: OER Explorers and Informational Libguide

The headlines are frightening: “Student Debt Nears One Trillion Dollars,” “College Costs Out of Control,” and “Betrayed by the Dream Factory.” These are not Hollywood blockbusters, but articles written in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Slate.com about the skyrocketing cost of a college education.

A steep increase in textbook prices is a major factor in actual costs to students.  A 2015 analysis of Bureau of Labor Consumer Price Index (CPI) data found that textbook prices rose by 1041% from 1977 to 2015. The fears of increasing debt are shared by college students across the U.S. Connecticut College student, Jacee Cox in an article in The College Voice described the “dark and frightening online search” that revealed that in 5 years college tuition will increase to $86,787 per year.

Here at Conn, faculty and staff are working to address the issue of textbook costs by creating programming and material about open educational resources. Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or have been released with an open license. In June 2018, librarians at the College formed a group called “OER Explorers” in order to explore programs, funding sources, and support models for adopting Open Educational Resources at Connecticut College.  We also considered challenges and roadblocks for faculty and recommended a grant initiative and implementation plan. OER Explorers are advocates for open and accessible course materials at the College and work to share their knowledge of OER with colleagues across campus.

There is now a dedicated library staff member, Ariela McCaffrey, who will act as point person for faculty, offering consultations and workshops for faculty and staff, developing ways to promote OER, and getting support from stakeholders. A presentation entitled “OER and Your Course: Integrating open content into the curriculum” will be held in the Advanced Technology Lab, Lower Level, Shain Library from 3-4pm on October 22, 2018.

Find more information on the Open Educational Resources at Connecticut College libguide.

Please contact me if you have questions about OER!

Ariela McCaffrey
Research Support and Outreach Librarian
amccaffr@conncoll.edu | 860-439-2103
Shain 226

Don’t Forget: Tempel Summer Institute Proposals Due Friday!

Tempel Summer Institute Participants and Instructors, 2017

Were you thinking about attending Tempel Summer Institute this summer? If so, don’t forget that proposals are due on Friday!

What is Tempel Summer Institute? It is an annual, one-week immersion program for faculty started in 2000 by a generous gift from Jean C. Tempel ’65. The Institute provides a pedagogical approach to the integration of new technologies into the curriculum, and is led by Information Services staff and two faculty leaders.

During the Institute, you will participate in group discussions on pedagogical challenges and teaching and learning goals, and learn about instructional technologies that can be used to address those challenges and goals. Many sessions are hands-on, allowing you to get a better understanding of the technology. Time for course development is built into the Institute, enabling you to make significant progress on redesigning courses and creating course materials with the assistance of faculty and staff.

Sound interesting? More information and the full Call for Proposals can be found on this page.

TSI 2014 Mascot, By Orizatriz (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Two Opportunities from Instructional Technology

Did you miss our most recent Call for Proposals? In case you did, see both below! Contact Jessica McCullough with questions about either opportunity.

Instructional Technology Mini-Grants

The Digitally Enhanced Learning Initiative (DELI) MiniGrant program provides funding for faculty members to explore and experiment with digital technologies to enhance teaching and learning. Faculty members may request up to $300 (per academic year) to support the purchase of software or hardware that will be used in one or more courses.

Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis year-round, and decisions on awards will be made once a month by the Instructional Technology team. Funds are limited. You are encouraged to consult with a member of the Instructional Technology team when crafting your proposal. View the full Call for Proposals.

Tempel Summer Institute 2018

The 19th Annual Tempel Summer Institute will be held June 4-8, 2018. Faculty participate in group discussions on pedagogical challenges and teaching and learning goals, and learn about instructional technologies that can be used to address those challenges and goals. Sessions are hands-on and ample time for course development is built into the Institute, enabling participants to make significant progress on redesigning courses and creating course materials with the assistance of faculty and staff.
Find more information and the call for proposals on the Tempel Summer Institute webpage.

How is your class going? Tools for mid-semester feedback

Join Diane Creede and me on Thursday for a new workshop, Tools for Mid-Semester Feedback.  In this hour-long workshop, we will discuss the purpose and goals for collecting mid-semester feedback, demonstrate and teach several tools you can use, and help participants select the right tool too meet their goals. Details are below. We look forward to seeing you!

Tools for Mid-Semester Feedback – Register (or just drop-in!)
Thursday, February 22, 3:00 – 4:00 PM| Advanced Technology Lab
How is the semester going so far? Join us as we discuss technology tools including Moodle Questionnaire and Google Forms, that can provide information on students’ progress in your course and give you valuable insight to guide your teaching through the rest of the semester. This workshop will include hands-on practice and discussion.

Weatherproofing Workshop Recap

*This post was scheduled for later in the day, but we are publishing it now due to the weather!


Did you miss the weatherproofing workshop last week? We focused on three types of activities you can do with your students if you are unable to attend class. Here are just a few ideas we shared. If you want more information or need step-by-step instructions about anything mentioned, contact Diane Creede or Jessica McCullough!

  1. Record mini-lectures or a full lecture. This can be so easy and done on the fly! Record audio directly on PowerPoint slides, or make mini-lectures and share with students. Students can listen/watch from any location, and you can include some of the more participatory ideas below to hold discussion and check for understanding. Technologies we demonstrated are PowerPoint (Insert Audio feature), QuickTime audio/screen capture, Jing, and whiteboard apps such as Educreations.
  2. Hold discussion, collect responses, and continue group work.  Students can participate in discussion and participate in group projects just as they would during class. Use a Moodle Forum to elicit responses to readings or your recorded mini-lectures, or to hold (asynchronous) discussion. Google Docs can be used for group work – ask students to add you as an editor and check in, answer questions, and provide feedback as they progress.
  3. Meet virtually. Have an exam coming up and want to be available to answer questions or hold a review? Hold virtual office hours using a tool such as Zoom. A free license allows for a 40-minute virtual meeting. We have a limited number of Pro licenses that we can distribute for longer meetings. Other options are Google Hangouts or Skype.

Weatherproofing Your Class

We are excited to offer our Weatherproofing Your Class workshop again for those who have missed it or need a refresher. Join us on Wednesday at 1:30 in the Advanced Technology Lab and learn how to employ technology creatively so you don’t have to cancel class. We will discuss tools and strategies for modifying your class in response to last minute events. You will leave with hands-on experience using communication and collaboration technologies, such as Moodle discussion boards, Google hangouts and Zoom, screencasting and recording tools, that will help you achieve your learning goals despite the snow. Hot chocolate will be served!

Registration is recommended but not required. Register by filling out this form, or email Jessica McCullough. Drop-ins are always welcome if your schedule frees up!