How can a traditional liberal arts campus practice distance learning?
Vassar College launched a pilot program to take face-to-face learning from a residential setting into cyberspace, and its academic computing director, Steve Taylor, tells the story at the Academic Commons site
The program addressed a non-residential, non-face-to-face need: the summer reading assignment for incoming first-year students. Vassar set up a Moodle course management system instance, and faculty created discussion-provoking videos. Contents went live, and students were able to access them after physical copies of the book (Alison Bechdel, Fun Home (2006)) arrived.
A few key points:
- The faculty involved were from multiple (if quite complementary) disciplines.
- A librarian played a key role.
- Video content was significant in terms of resources (time) and instructional design.
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- The use of Moodle and YouTube enabled some data analytics work, like this analysis of discussion forum writing:
Another interesting point, crucial for small institutions like Vassar, was making a shift in scale. As Taylor points out,
for a college that typically has an average class size of about 17 and a maximum class size of about 42, this was possibly the largest scale of learning experience the college has ever offered.
The incoming first-year Vassar class in 2014 number 670.
Vassar’s 2014 pilot represents another example of small, liberal arts institutions expanding their teaching online.
Let’s see what happens next.
Agghh. Now you’re posting cliff-hangers? Inquiring minds want to know: what happened next?
Hey, you’ll have to read the article. 🙂
Reblogged this on My Educational Technology Blog: A Place of Resources and Tools for Educators.
This seems like an exceptionally appropriate, well thought out, and well executed use of this technology.
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