Innovation Institute: Collecting & Curation Report (Brantl)

Within the two weeks that were the Innovation Institute, I achieved several goals – some clearly intended, some the serendipity of the occasion. A number of these relate to the broader context and offerings of the institute; others relate to the singular project I had posed for myself in applying for this fellowship.

THE BROADER CONTEXT: The institute itself brought us out of our silos offering valuable camaraderie and an eye-opening awareness of projects on which colleagues had been or were working as well as the particular possibilities and challenges in other disciplines. It also made us aware of commonalities ranging from assessment issues and technical challenges to potentials for shared experimentation and possibly even teaching opportunities. Continue reading

Report from Team Brad & Lori

We had a great time these past two weeks learning from such talented colleagues.  Here is a summary of our report:

Our Project

The faculty-led study abroad in Angers, France is in its 6th year.  Each semester since summer 2009, two faculty members from SEU Austin have taught in Angers, France, specified courses in their respective disciplines to both SEU students and First Year in France (FYIF) students.  Yet, as of the present, faculty members teaching in Angers (whether from the same or different Schools) have never collaborated on a team-taught course.  Our project enables such a collaboration.  In line with our mission to “make graduates competent in a chosen discipline and to help them understand and appreciate the contributions of other disciplines”, the goal of our pedagogical experiment is to combine our knowledge of intercultural communication and presentational skills (Lori Peterson) with intercultural leadership/entrepreneurship and business communication (Brad Zehner) into a course that exemplifies our Holy Cross international perspective by challenging students to “be able to navigate across cultures” through knowledge and praxis of French businesses:  Business & Presentational Speaking in France

Course Description

Part of St. Edward’s University’s global learning mission is that SEU “…graduates will be distinctive for their understanding of the world and its cultures and for being prepared to make significant contributions in an increasingly global world.  Our mission promises to teach the skills necessary for our students to be independent and productive in an increasingly interconnected world.”

Effective verbal communication skills are an integral part of student’s ability to succeed in any organization / group, particularly in business. In a complex and culturally diverse business world the ability to effectively communicate in the global marketplace has become paramount. The purpose of this course is to enhance student success in their future career by providing them with authentic business  presentational experience in an intercultural setting.  After successful completion of this course, students will be able to add an item to the “Skills/Accomplishments” section of their resumé along the lines of:

·      Experienced in intercultural business communication practices.

Some of our SLOs

  • Recognizing pre-speaking anxieties and developing strategies to overcome them.
  • Differentiating between oral & written business communication practices in the U.S. & France (e.g., effective use of verbal & nonverbal communication, technology, and time)
  • Developing strategies to communicate effectively in a global workplace
  • Demonstrating intercultural competency in written communication by producing information (e.g. memos, e-mails,) for an organizational context in France in a manner appropriate to French business etiquette.
  • Demonstrating intercultural competency in oral communication by adapting  presentational skills to an organizational context in France in a manner appropriate to French business etiquette.
  • Developing observational and listening skills by providing descriptive, evaluative, and actionable feedback about speeches and speakers.
  • Understanding the ethical responsibilities of the effective, international business speaker

Pedagogical Experiment

  • Interdisciplinary Team-Teaching
  • Globally Networked Classroom Context

Instead of teaching separate sections of the general education “Presentational Speaking” and the Business major requirement “Business Communication”, we will be combining these courses into one class where both instructors are present for all class meetings and students gain a rich, interdisciplinary perspective.

When teaching in a faculty-led study abroad context, it is imperative that the course offers students more than simply the same class they would take on the Austin SEU campus but in an international location.  Thus, it is our goal to get the students interacting in the Angers business community through a series of assignments and guest speakers to create an authentic intercultural course.

Our Plans

Some of our plans include designing the first half of the semester around a series of case studies focusing on French industry:  Wine, Cosmetics, Luxury Goods (Handbags), and Technology (AirBus).  Students will analyze and assess each case, prepare business memos, and make presentations to the class.

We plan to stop at midterm to conduct midterm course assessments.  The second half of the semester we will send students into the Angers community to interview organizational leaders, after which they will present findings to the class.  We will also have a series of guest speakers visit our class during this time-frame.


Some of our challenges include assessing our SLOs.  For example, one of our SLOs seeks to measure whether students have ‘developed strategies to communicate effectively in a global workplace’.  Thus, measuring “effective global communication” may prove difficult and might need to be broken down into smaller pieces.

Another challenge is that we are actually enacting intercultural business communication, ourselves, by working/teaching in France!  Finding ways to reflect meaningfully on our experience and incorporate it into our teaching will undoubtedly be an exciting byproduct of this endeavor.

Current Status of Project

We have completed a rough draft of our syllabus.  Next, we will be choosing the specific case study assignments. Once our case studies have been decided upon, we will begin creating rubrics for all assignments in order to be certain our SLOs are measured.  In the interim, we are communicating with the SEU Angers office and networking in order to secure guest speakers and organizational sites.

Additional Approaches, Experiments, and Ideas from the Innovation Institute

The past two weeks have indeed been full of ideas!  One suggestion from a colleague that was quite intriguing was the idea that we should consider team-teaching this same class on the SEU Austin campus sometime in the future as a sort of ‘control group’–to try to determine whether or not being in an international setting produces increased levels of global learning, or, if similar learning can take place, perhaps, in a global digital classroom.

Finally, we are inspired by the session on SoTL and are thinking of forums within which to present our experience.


My project – end of course post

I have had the pleasure of being part of this Innovation Institute as a Global Fellow. Also, I have been able to use the equipment in the GDC to join the Institute.  Unfortunately my computer microphone could not be fixed despite the best endeavors of Daniel and so I have been able to join the Institute via smartphone and a great app called BlueJeans.

I have long been very interested in using the power of technology to increase the quality of my teaching and the learning environment of our students. My students have responded very favorably to the use of SKYPE in my classes to bring in guest speakers.  Last semester I tried one week of ‘flipped classroom’ and will be analyzing the survey I gave to my students to see how I can improve on this method of teaching. My husband’s PhD is in the use of gaming in education and so he is a great source of new thought for incorporating technology into my classrooms.

It was very helpful for me to be able to learn more each day from the live discussions and our homework reading.  I look forward to being able to continue to collaborate with the Fellows and draw on help from Julie at CTE and Instructional Technology staff.

My project is to bring the world into my classroom in the sense of having ‘visiting Faculty’ and foreign students linking with my class.  The class lends itself very well to Global networking because it is a required course in Criminal Justice called Comparative Legal Systems. In this class we explore the different criminal law systems of our world which include common law, mixed law, sharia law, soviet law and civil law.  We discuss the way in which the legal system operates as well as policing and corrections. My teaching aim for this course is twofold:

  1. To collaborate with Bill Clabby in bringing professors of law or criminal justice from our Partner Universities into our classroom to teach my students ‘their legal system’.
  2. If possible, to set up collaborative learning between my students and students of the guest lecturer.

A further hope is that I might ‘repay’ my guest lecturers by teaching for them by setting up a discussion between us as Faculty and our students.  My great hope is that our students can work together in cross international campus groups.

I taught the course in Fall 2013 and have to re-design part of it to incorporate guest lectures. The students did group work and so I have to find a way of extending those groups across cyber space.  When I return to Campus I will be looking for help from IT on whether this can best be achieved by blog, blackboard, wiki, social media or in combination. Having been reminded by Jason and Bob of how well their course using blog and twitter went I think that combination may work well. I feel positive about this project subject to Bill being able to find me collaborating partners. I do have legal contacts around the world and will fall back on them for guest lecturers, if necessary. However, this will be a better project if we can pair with partner Universities.

In addition to the project for which I have been awarded the Fellowship, I have been inspired by the Institute to implement a change which I was considering to my Summer II Human Rights and Human Trafficking class.  I use project based learning in this class but believe that a semester long project of the type that my students developed in Spring would not be suitable for a short summer course. Therefore, I have decided to design a semester long project which is inquiry based and created by collaborative learning in student groups. The class will create two websites – one dedicated to research on Human Trafficking and the other to research on the Human Rights issues which they chose from those which I propose. These will meet the general SLOs for the CULF 3331 course and also give the students a chance to ‘make a change’ by raising awareness of problems and create a lasting resource for educators and students. I will incorporate these websites into the work done by students in my longer semester classes so that it is an ongoing resource.  The website will incorporate a blog and I will be using blogging assignments.  Also, I will be encouraging students to explore twitter and follow scholars and activists who tweet about the subject in which they are interested. Currently, I think I am going to ask student groups working on the Human Rights website to select from the following topics for their research and postings:

  1. Women in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan – this will cover the recent ‘honor killings’, changes to the rape law and will enable the students to dig deeply into the cultural underpinnings, education and poverty aspects of these issues.
  2. Human Rights and technology – we are discussing ‘net neutrality’ around the world but what about 3D printing, being able to access the net for education, robots, drones and the possibility of singularity. How does technology shape our thinking about human rights. In 2011 it was agreed that access to the net is a human right.
  3. Bangladesh – rising sea levels threaten to overwhelm this extremely populous country. Already, the salt from the sea is destroying coastal rice fields. But rising seas are not the only threat to the land – dyes from the clothing businesses which meet the needs of western society are release onto farm land without regulation. From factory collapses to factory fires this country is a case study for globalization and social justice.
  4. Brazil and Qatar are to be host to the Soccer World Cup but at what cost to citizens and guest workers alike. This inquiry will enable students to think about the social justice issues surrounding poverty and wealth in both countries. The Favelas of Rio are lawless, self-regulating places into which the poor crowd. Street children are at the mercy of pimps, tourists and gangs. Slavery in the ranching system and steel making of Brazil has begun to be documented. Students will be able to explore the complex issues of poverty, global economy and BRIC(S) in this element.

I hope that this method of teaching will inspire the students to want to continue to know more and have a life-long commitment to understanding how the world works and the impact of one society’s actions upon others. I have certainly been inspired by this Fellowship and hope to continue to use and develop the tools I have learned to improve the education which my students receive.

Report: Collaborative Learning for GDES 3300

The Course

The History of Graphic Design has traditionally been a survey course from the Lascaux Paintings (15,000 BC) to present. For our students who are used to hands-on projects in studio courses, the lecture model has proved problematic. They become frustrated by the amount of information served to them without a sense of relevance to their own studio practice. Their frustration often turns to disengagement.

  Continue reading

Final Report: Supplemental Resources for the Math0309 Self-Paced Course

Background: The number of sections of Math 0309 has drastically increased as St. Edward’s student population has changed in recent years. The math department is striving to improve students’ success in this course to support the university’s mission of strengthening our developmental education. Continue reading

Final Presentation and Report, Due Friday, May 30

On the final day of the Innovation Institute the following elements are due from each fellow (or team of fellows for those team-teaching).

I. Project Presentation (8 minutes)

The presentation should cover the following information:

  1. Brief description of course
  2. Brief description of pedagogical experiment
    • What is the approach, e.g., inquiry-guided learning?
    • What will you do: describe x assignment or project
    • How will this improve student learning
    • How will you test it?
    • What will be biggest challenge of this experiment?
    • What is your status? What have you accomplished? What work remains before you teach this course?
  3. What other approach or experiment have you heard about this week that you would like to try next?

II. Written Report

After your presentation please share a written report covering the same elements as your presentation as a post on this blog.  (This could be the text of your presentation.) This post is due by Monday, June 2.