Project Presentation: Collaborative Investigation Through Emerging Technologies

Sara Parent-Ramos, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art

Brief description of course:

I am interested in developing a lesson unit that focuses on emergent technologies and sculptural approaches. Unit content will include 3D printing and modeling, digital appropriation/ceramic decals and the impact of the “maker” and “DIY” movement on contemporary artistic practice. This unit will be a part of the Introduction to Sculpture course at Saint Edward’s University.

Brief description of the pedagogical experiment:


The created unit will be based on a combination of Mastery Learning, Apprenticeship and Studio learning educational models (Bloom 1971, Guskey 2010, Schon, 1983). The unit will emphasize the importance of varying forms of collaborative artistic practice in contemporary art through hands-on experiential learning.

What will you do:

The developed unit will be based on a Studio Learning Model, with additional lectures, demonstrations and site visits (fab labs , etc.).


Project #1: Students will modify an appropriated open source 3d printed object in a manner that conceptually comments on the original design.

Project #2: Students will create a ceramic object with appropriated visual decal imagery.

Project #3: For this collaborative group project students will draft a proposal for a large installation/sculpture that uses the technical approaches introduced in class (3d printing/decals).

How will this improve student learning:

This unit will address the following sculpture SLO’s;

  1. Demonstrate competence and skill in the use of basic tools, techniques, technologies, and processes within the sculpture discipline.
  2. Capacity to develop and iterate ideas from initial ideas, to research and through to final project and presentation.
  3. Evidence of personal reflection on artistic decision making process in verbal and written form.
  4. Capable of discussing artistic work and process in the context of class readings/podcasts and larger artistic trends.

In particular, this unit will encourage students to;

  1. Reach beyond the classroom environment to connect with resources
  2. Engage in collaborative practice
  3. Give student confidence in working with emerging technologies

How will you test it?

I will judge this units success based upon students written self-reflections, and the quality of the completed projects.

What will be biggest challenge of this experiment?

  1. The students will need familiarity with collaborative learning and artistic research/planing.
  2. I will need to get my hands on the technology (software/hardware) needed
  3. I need to refresh myself on the technology needed for this project

What is your status? What have you accomplished? What work remains before you teach this course?

  1. I am revamping the Clay I syllabi to include an emphasis on collaborative learnings and artistic research. It is my hope that by emphasizing collaborative learning and artistic research I will empower students to be proactive lifelong learners.
  2. The director of the library and I have organized a group of eleven faculty members who are interested in 3d printing. We are working on drafting a proposal to ask for additional funds from internal and external sources for the development of 3d printing facilities at Saint Edwards.
  3. I will be applying for a grant to take a course at the Digital Fabrication Residency in Laurel Maryland in December (2014).


Graphic Design History: Timeline implementation

My students have been working since last week researching significant events, theories, artifacts, etc. that have to do with reading on the screen in their assigned contexts — design, culture, society and technology. The first round of research was due today, which they submitted online through a Google form. Behind the scenes, I hooked up the resulting spreadsheet to a TimelineJS spreadsheet that generates our very own GDES 3300 Reading on the Screen timeline.

Students were super excited to see their work visualized and in context. In class, I did some reframing around what is a useful entry — not sure if that conversation went over nearly so well. Hopefully the revised entries, due on Wednesday, will set-up the mind mapping phase better than the first entries did.

iPad Pilot Project Report

Georgia Seminet, Associate Professor, Humanities (Languages, Literatures and Cultures)

Final Report

Description of Course: Spanish 3332 is a third year course conceived as an introduction to the history, culture and society of Spain from the pre-historic period to the present. Knowledge acquired in the course will provide students with a basic foundation for further, more in-depth work in Spanish literature and film. Though the course content is interdisciplinary and includes literature, art, film and history, the course is taught entirely in Spanish, presenting challenges for less-advanced students. The skill-levels of the students who take the course usually range from intermediate-mid to advanced-low (on the ACTFL proficiency scale), though often there are students at the “superior or distinguished” level, meaning they most likely have native proficiency. In most cases, however, the four skills of speaking reading, listening and writing are still being developed. Thus, the course focuses on continuing progress in these areas as students learn about the diverse culture of Spain and work toward understanding the complex relationship between history and cultural identity.

Description of Project: The iPad pilot project for Spanish 3332 will provide the instructor with an opportunity to create innovative strategies for helping students meet the learning outcomes of the BA in Spanish, which tie into the university’s Essential Learning Outcomes. The focus on collaboration and creativity in the cloud will help students develop interpersonal skills as they work together in Spanish to understand the cultural practices, products & perspectives of Spain. Students will share and disseminate their research and projects through the cloud, rendering the class paperless to the greatest extent possible. The iPad will also facilitate instructor activities such as keeping track of absences and assessment.

 Description of Pedagogical Experiment: Language instruction has for years used a communicative approach in which the students use and practice the language in the classroom. In a sense, this is similar to flipping the classroom, because students are being asked to practice the language in the classroom, and study the grammar at home. In upper-division courses, my approach is what could be called a “flipped, communicative” approach. Students are asked to cover the reading outside class, as is typical of a lecture course. However, the reading is not necessarily followed by extensive lectures and note taking by the students. Though this is often a valid and necessary approach, needed to supplement the textbook, students are also asked to participate in a variety of activities that require higher-order thinking such as answering questions about, and interpreting the readings, or analyzing literature and film. In preparation for this type of work, students have to read and prepare the material in advance. To reinforce this, I will use Socrative for “flash assessments” in class based on assigned readings. Any notes and writing that the students work on in class can be saved and shared by using Evernote, or any free app they prefer.

Example of Specific Activity: For the iPad pilot project, I will continue to have students perform similar activities in class as I have done in the past, however, they will be able to use the iPad with particular applications chosen to facilitate and improve workflow, communication, direct access to media sites, and sharing of materials and activites. A specific project that has been designed specifically for this class and the use of the iPad, is the “Eulogy to Francisco Franco.” To describe it briefly, students will create a newscast using iMovie in which Francisco Franco is eulogized, as if on a Spanish TV station. Students will be assigned roles to play for their eulogy, each of which will represent a particular ideological perspective on Franco. For example, students may be asked to eulogize Franco from the perspective of a priest, a Basque separatist, a housewife, or an independent businessman from Cataluña. They will be asked to research the stereotypes of these individuals, and based on their research they will develop their eulogy.

An example of an application that will be very useful for this particular project is Diigo. Students will be able to do their research and create a personal network around the theme they are researching. Diigo will facilitate annotation, saving of websites to create a personal network of material relevant to their topic, organizing and sharing of the information with group members and the professor. It is anticipated that through the use of Diigo, students will learn the value of organizing and sharing their research. I will gauge student attitudes toward Diigo via a survey at the end of the course, which will include questions on all the new apps used for class. Also, I will evaluate the usefulness of Diigo as part of the assessment of the eulogy project by requiring that students share the networks they create for their research with the instructor. A rubric will be used to assess the presentation of the project, and will include a bibliography. My expectation is that students will be more organized with their research, will enjoy the process more because they can engage in research anywhere at anytime (and keep track of it all!), and share information. If used systematically, Diigo will result in improved research and thus an improved learning experience .

The biggest challenge with the iPad pilot project will be to identify and learn to use the different applications chosen for the course in an effective and efficient manner. Neither the instructor nor the students are accustomed to using technology for all their activities.

Status: The applications and activities for the course have been defined and integrated into the fall, 2014 syllabus.

Assessment: Coursework will be assessed through a combination of tests, presentations and surveys.

Innovation PowerPoints

I think I was supposed to post this a long long time ago, but I guess better late than never.  A benefit of being late, is that I can now reflect back and see how what I said I was going to do, I really did.  I think my roadmap was accurately used except for one item.  The “ethics app” created by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University has a fee after three uses so it did not make in into my syllabi.   I am adding a competency-based assignment in Business Ethics and that was not part of my original plan.

Innovative Institute presentation2


One of the most exciting things I found this summer while redesigning my two courses was the TED Talk on why we need a “moral operating system” by Damon Horowitz.  His 16 minute talk has been incorporated into my classes in ethics (online or not) and the students first essay is to explain in one to two pages what their moral operating system is.   Horowitz is Google’s Philosopher In-Residence.

Transforming FSTY 1310 into a Living Learning Community: Alex Barron and Chris Flynn

Transforming FSTY 1310 into a Living Learning Community

Chris Flynn, Associate Professor HUMX

Alex Barron, Assistant Professor, SOE


Freshman Studies 1310, or “Introduction to the Liberal Arts,” is where we teach first years what it means to be students at a liberal arts college like ours. It is also one of the primary courses where we show them how the work of a college student differs from what they did in high school. Our goal in revising our section of FSTY 1310 is to clarify the transition from high school to college for our students and to build community. We seek to connect students to one another, to St. Edward’s, and to Austin through its vibrant film and literary scenes.

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Spatial Learning Using a Digital Project for ENSP 2324: Environmental Science (Wasserman)

The Course

My main objective in this course (that receives a number of non-majors seeking to fulfill their science requirement) is that students will gain an improved understanding of and appreciation for the natural environment and how human activity alters its functioning, which will promote critical thought regarding sustainability in both their professional and personal lives.  I attempt to meet this objective using a number of assignments and projects, as well as the traditional lecture format.  For my innovation fellowship, I am focusing on the nature blog project I have the students conduct over the semester, which fulfills one of the student learning outcomes of the course: The students will be able to document their everyday interactions with the environment and evaluate how various actions influence that environment.  This nature blog is entitled A Travis County Almanac and is inspired by a classic text in the fields of environmental science and ecology A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold (1949). Continue reading

Chris Micklethwait’s Digital Projects for CULF 3331: Middle Eastern Revolutions

This summer’s Innovation Institute led to a lot of breakthroughs for my project. I am working on a floor-to-ceiling redesign of the digital components in my course Middle Eastern Revolutions, a section of CULF 3331: Contemporary World Issues.


I originally proposed this course as a vehicle for experimenting with the use of digital learning tools, given that social media was perceived to have played a momentous role in the Arab revolutions starting in late 2010. Also, and really more importantly, it took a good year and a half for academic publishing to catch up to the events we planned to study, so I anticipated from the beginning using a combination of digital archives of primary sources and revolutionary ephemerata, complemented by news, analysis, and scholarship published in blogs and digital newspapers and journals. Continue reading

Report for Brian Sheerin: Shakespeare In Austin (ENGL 3337)

Class Objectives in Previous Semesters

In most literature classes—but in Shakespeare classes in particular—my goals revolve around three incremental priorities. (1) First, I want to teach students how to read texts meaningfully. As opposed to simply scrolling eyes across a page or having a vague idea of plot progression, reading meaningfully involves actually comprehending sentences, passages, characters, and themes in ways that can be coherently summarized and discussed by students. (2) Second, once students can comprehend what they are reading, they should learn how to interrogate the interpretive options of the material. Nearly every moment of a dramatic text presents multiple possible perspectives, whether it be in determining word significance, finding implications of thematic imagery, or (as with drama) thinking about various enunciation and staging options at various moments of a play. (3) Third, students should discover how to apply their well-informed interpretive engagements with specific passages to the rest of the text. Figuring out how one’s particular perspective on a given textual site inflects, complements, or stands in tension with other parts of the text (or the meaning of the work as a whole) is a skill that demonstrates true maturity in literary analysis. Continue reading

Final Report: Inquiry-Based Learning in a Transitional Math Course (Gee)

Thanks to an inspiring group of fellow fellows, I came away from this two-week Innovation Institute with new ideas, clarified goals for myself and for students, resources to help develop and assess the course, and a local personal learning network of like-minded St. Ed’s colleagues.

Setting for my project:  MATH 4343–Topology in SP15 as pilot for new mid-level course that will help transition students from computational lower-division courses to abstract a proof-based upper-division courses.
The Experiment:  Use Inquiry-Based Learning and a Modified Moore method, and move from a content-based course to a skills-based course.
Background:  This project is also grant-funded (for a course release in the pilot semester, and to offset staffing for two subsequent semesters) by the Educational Advancement Foundation.
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