Meeting 5: Peering Into the Future

Our last meeting will look at several major future trends.  What’s happening next?  What do we think about it?  How does it relate to our goals as educators at a liberal arts institution?

Discussion Leaders: Rich Parsells, Mary Brantl 

We will focus on one document for this final meeting:

1) The 2013 New Media Consortium Horizon Report: Higher Education Edition.

The NMC Horizon Project, a decade-long research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in higher education. Six emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, as well as key trends and challenges expected to continue over the same period, giving campus leaders and practitioners a valuable guide for strategic technology planning.

Click on the first hyper-link: “> Download the NMC Horizon Report > 2013 Higher Ed Edition PDF”

How much should you read?
I encourage you to read the Executive Summary (pg 3), Key Trends (pg 7), and Significant Challenges (pg 9). Then, skim over the 6 trends and focus on those that interest you most.


2)  Optional reading – one for the road:
Kevin Carey,The Seige of Academe,” Washington Monthly, Sept/Oct 2012. 

Teaser: “For years, Silicon Valley has failed to breach the walls of higher education with disruptive technology. But the tide of battle is changing. A report from the front lines.”

This article describes the growing ranks of ed tech entrepreneurs and the changes they may bring to higher education and the academy.  The article is both fascinating and disturbing.   If you don’t have time to read it before our next meeting, come back to it after grades are in.  You can’t think about the future of teaching and technology without knowing about how for-profit entrepreneurs are working to shape it.

Meeting 4: Digital Literacies

Our 4th meeting is focused on the topics of “Digital Resources and Digital Information Literacy.”   How have digital learning resources changed the possibilities for teaching and learning, and what literacies do students need to know to navigate the explosion of digital information?

We’re going to look at three separate attempts to define “digital literacy” – and think about the implications of each for our practice as college teachers.

Discussion Leaders:  Tony Alvarado & Kady Ferris


Definition #1:   Digital Literacies, Libraries, and Public Policies,” the American Library Association, January 2013 report.  In this report, the ALA outlines a fairly concise definition of “digital literacy.”  It appears on page 2 of the report.

  • For the purposes of our meeting, you only need to read this definition on page 2.
  • If you want to read more about how academic libraries (as opposed to K-12 or public libraries, for example), are tackling these questions, read pages 14-16.
Optional additional reading on these more traditional definitions of “information literacy”:
  • The 2012 Pew Research Center report, “How Teens Do Research in the Digital World” will confirm many of your suspicions about the benefits and perils of our students’ research challenges in the digital age.
  • Want even more info on young adult’s research skills?  Check out Project Information Literacy. This project is “a public benefit nonprofit dedicated to conducting ongoing, large-scale research about early adults and their research habits. [ . . . ] Our goal is to understand how early adults conceptualize and operationalize research activities for course work and “everyday life” use and especially how they resolve issues of credibility, authority, relevance, and currency in the digital age.”


Definition #2: What Should We Teach? Rethinking Literacy” – Henry Jenkins et al. in Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century (2009).  pp. 19-55.  We began reading this report at our last meeting.  This time, we’re digging into it’s definition of “literacy.”  Jenkins and his colleagues identify 11 “core media literacy skills” (which they list on page 4 of their report).

  • In pages 19-55, they describe each in greater detail, provide examples of them, and then offer suggestions for how this skill might be deliberately taught within an educational setting.  You don’t need to read this lengthy selection in its entirety, because it has been formatted for easy skimming.  To focus your reading, I encourage you to pick 2 or 3 literacies from the list and read the sections about them in their entirety, skimming through the rest as interests you.


Definition #3: Howard Rheingold’s definition of “digital literacies,” as outlined in his 2012 book, Net Smart.  I have linked to Rheingold’s “Introduction,” which his publisher (MIT Press) has made freely available on their site.  The full chapter is 33 pages long.

  • Want the shortest version?  Read his chapter previews, each of which focuses on one of his 5 digital literacies.  These appear in pages 9-12.
  • Want to know a little more?  The remainder of the chapter (pages 12-33) is devoted to sections discussing each literacy in greater depth.  You might pick 2 literacies that interest you and read more about each.

Further Reading

Want to see how a college instructor might teach a few of these literacies?  Take a look at Sean Michael Morris’s “Digital Composition” course at  Marylhurst University.  His syllabus is online.

Want to share some other examples of syllabi or assignments?  Feel free to add them as comments to this post, or Tweet them with the #stedbc hashtag!

I look forward to talking with you all about what literacies our students may need to be active participants in a 21st-century world!


Meeting 3: Learning in a Connected World

Our March 18 meeting will focus upon the topic of “Learning in a Connected World.”  How are social media and online communities shaping how students learn, what can we learn from these developments, and how do socially-based pedagogical strategies work?  This topic is a big one, and we’re just going to begin chipping away at it at this meeting.  Our first reading is an excerpt from a longer report that is often-cited by those discussing social media and social pedagogies, even though it’s now a few years old.  It will provide some broader context, looking at the ways social learning has organically developed on the internet, and the ways that learning is defined by the active participation of learners.  Our second two readings will jump into several specific ways college instructors are using social media.

Discussion leader: Julie Sievers

1. Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century — a June 2009 MacArthur Foundation white paper, authored by Henry Jenkins, Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Katie Clinton, Ravi Purushotma, Alice J. Robison, and Margaret Weigel.  This report is an oldie but goody and it provides a good entry point into the concept of “participatory culture” and “digital collectives” –and, more broadly, new ways people are using the internet to learn together.

What to read?  For today, just read the first 3 sections: “Executive Summary,” “Needed Skills in the New Media Culture,” and “Enabling Participation.”  That’s just the first 11 pages, and they are an easy read.

Why so little?  For this session, we just want to get a sense of what this so-called “participatory” culture is, and why it might be something college educators want to know about.  In our next session, we’ll look further into what forms of “media literacy” we might want to be teaching students in order to prepare them for lives as active participators, not just passive consumers, in digital cultures.

2. A Social Network Can Be a Learning Network – Derek Bruff, Chronicle of Higher Education, 6 November 2011.  This article, and the next, are short CHE pieces written by college professors who are using social media in their classrooms.  They detail a few specific pedagogical strategies for these media.  Bruff is a math instructor at Vanderbilt University and the director of their center for teaching and learning.

3. Tracking Moves on the Classroom Backchannel with Storify – Mark Sample, Chronicle of Higher Education, 1 December 2011.  Sample describes using Twitter in a film and literature course.  He is an assoc. professor of literature and new media at George Mason University.  (Like this article?  You might want to check out Sample’s even shorter piece, “A Framework for Teaching with Twitter.”)  Curious about the details?  Sample’s essay has hyperlinks to a variety of examples.

Additional Reading:

  • Bruff has a nice “Social Pedagogies Reading List” — a good place to start for exploring this topic further.
  • Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown’s provocative manifesto, A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change, focuses at length on the way the “collective” is changing how people learn.  Last summer’s Books & Coffee group read this book, and we have extra copies available for check-out at the CTE.  A word of caution, however.  If you have never participated in an online collective — a multi-player game, participatory blogging communities, a group of people with a shared medical condition who share information and support, a fanfiction reading & writing group — you’ll find a lot of this book to be abstract and a little puzzling.  Think of this not as an intro to the subject, but as an intermediary-level  work.


Meeting 2: Today’s Students

Our Monday, Feb 25 meeting will focus on today’s students.  Who are they?  How are they using technology?  In what contexts do they find technology helpful for their learning?  For this meeting, we’re not reading any opinion or analysis pieces.  Rather, we’re sticking to data sets — which means that the work of interpreting these data will fall to us.   What should we make of these data?  How can they help us make decisions about our own teaching, and our curricula?  What appear to be major issues facing us as we prepare students to be liberally educated for a digital information age?

Discussion Leaders: Brenda Adrian, Cousett Ruelas, and Sara Gibson

1. ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2012.
This report is our main focus for this meeting.  It summarizes the results of an ongoing, large-scale study, conducted by the research arm of EDUCAUSE.  Never heard of EDUCAUSE?  It’s the major organization for higher ed IT professionals, and it has a branch that focuses on teaching and learning – the Educause Learning Initiative.

  • Check out the infographic that summarizes the reports findings.
  • Then skim the full report.  No need to read every word, but read the headings, and read the discussions for those topics that most interest you.  The data graphics are also full of interesting details.
  • (Optional): Want to see the survey instrument used in this study?  Educause has posted it along with other “supporting materials.”
2.  St. Edward’s University 2012 Freshmen Technology Survey.

Annually, the folks in Instructional Technology at SEU poll incoming freshmen to find out about their technology ownership and use.  For this year’s data, they recently created a nifty infographic, which appears at the top of this page, but you can scroll down and see the direct survey data in text form below.

  • Find the survey on the Faculty Resource Center’s web site.
3. The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Almanac 2012” section on students
Lastly, if you have another 10 minutes, take a glance at the student demographics section of this year’s almanac.  Most of this page’s resources are for “subscribers only,” so you’ll need to get in through SEU’s library subscriptions.  How?  You should be automatically prompted to enter your SEU login.  But if you’re not, go to the library’s home page and in the main search box, type “Chronicle of Higher Education.” The first link to appear is the one you want. Click on it, and then make sure you’re logged in.  Then follow the links below.  If you’re on campus, the links should work automatically.

What should you read?  Bop around and see what interests you, but I encourage you to look at the following sections, at least.  Each will take fewer than 5 minutes:

  • The short summary essay, which begins at the top of the page and continues if you click on the “read more” link, provides a quick overview of the data.  It’s a quick way to grasp some of the overall demographic trends.
  • Under “The Data,” at the bottom of the page, check out “A Profile of Freshman at 4-Year Colleges

What else?

  •  Tweet a link to an article. Remember your homework challenge?  Between now and the meeting, I strongly encourage you to use Twitter to share an article with the rest of our group.  Not sure how to do this?  You’ll find instructions under the “How Do I .. . .” page of this web site.
  • Check out our “Blogroll” links.   In the “Blogroll” section to the right of this post, you’ll see links to a variety of online journals or web sites that relate to our topic.  Take a few minutes to look at these sites and see which might interest you for further reading.

Meeting 1: Defining the Issues

Welcome!  I’m excited that you all are joining this semester’s “Books & Coffee” group.  We’ll be holding our first meeting next Monday, February 11, in Fleck 306.

In this posting, you’ll find some initial instructions to prepare for our first meeting.

Session I Topic: 
Defining the Issues: How Do Emerging Digital Technologies Challenge Us to Rethink the Goals and Practices of Liberal Education?

Our goal at this first meeting is to explore major emerging issues for liberal education brought about by digital information and digital pedagogies.  Right now, the national press and institutions of higher ed are all aflutter about MOOCs – massively open online courses, like those offered by EdX, Udacity, or Coursera.  (Not sure you understand the MOOC phenomenon?  Check out this recent article by the NY Times: “The Year of the MOOC.”) So, we can’t really avoid talking about them.  But MOOCs are only one set of waves in a storm of tides heading our way. So we’re going to look at several different issues for this meeting.

Before our first meeting, try to read the following two short pieces.  Together, they’ll take you 30 minutes – or fewer.

1)  Clay Shirky’s November 2012 blog entry, “Napster, Udacity, and the Academy.”
Clay Shirky has emerged as a major voice on the implications of new internet technologies on social formations and economics.  He’s a college professor, but also a kind of public intellectual.  You can find out more about him on his Wikipedia profile.

2)  The NITLE “Future Trends” report for February 2013.
NITLE is the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education. This report, compiled monthly by NITLE Senior Fellow Bryan Alexander, provides a quick profile of emerging educational tech trends. This report is only available to NITLE member institutions (and SEU is one) who subscribe to it.  So, we’ll be discussing it, but we cannot link to it through this public website.  Want to know more about NITLE?  Check out their organization online.

 If you cannot attend the meeting, watch this video.  (Otherwise, you’ll see it at our meeting.)  Michael Wesch, “From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able,” TEDx Talk, Aug 12, 2010.
During our first meeting, we’ll watch this short video by cultural anthropologist / college professor / YouTube phenom, Michael Wesch.  If you are one of the group members who cannot attend our live meetings, you can go ahead and watch this video on your own.  Who is this Michael Wesch character?  You’ve probably seen his video, “A Vision of Students Today,” which went viral among college faculty several years ago. (If you haven’t seen it yet, you might check it out.)  Learn more about him from his Wikipedia profile.


So, to recap, here’s how to prepare for Monday’s discussion:
1) read the Shirky blog post
2) look in your email for the NITLE report
3) watch the video if and only if you won’t be with us on Monday, Feb 11
4) and if you feel like it . . . write some of your thoughts in the comments.  To leave a comment, click on the bubble icon in the top right corner of this post.
And I’ll see you on Monday!