It’s finals week, and everyone is busy closing out the semester. We’re sad to be saying goodbye in less than two weeks to our two aides, Bethany and Stefanie, who are graduating seniors. They have done tremendous work with us over the past academic year, and we are sad to see them go, but thrilled to see where their skills, talent, and enthusiasm take them moving forward. We’ll always have our sweatshirts to keep us warm with their memory.

The online teaching cohort completed their first semester together, reading works by Paulo Freire, bell hooks, selected works from Hybrid Pedagogy, and exploring the intersections between critical pedagogy and online course design. In the next phase of their work together, the cohort will participate in two separate digital learning experiences—a self-guided Canvas course about using Canvas for course design, and a facilitated, partly synchronous course about critical instructional design. Instructors who participated this term are all enthusiastic about continuing their work together. Kristin Marsh, Tracy Citeroni, Suzie Kim, Jackie Gallagher, Melina Patterson, Melanie Szulczewski, Virginia Mackintosh, and Jason Robinson will finish off the next phase of this cohort by writing and submitting an online course proposal to the Distance and Blended Learning Committee. This group was lead by Sean with assistance from Nigel.

We also concluded the year long Digital Knowledge faculty development initiative, which gathered a brilliant cohort of faculty and staff, including Marjorie Och, Julia DeLancey, Chelsea Hampton, Parrish Waters, Shannon Hauser, and Angie White. This initiative was co-lead by Jesse with Martha and Jess.

The Advisory Group on Digital Fluency met to begin the process of identifying courses that could be considered “Digitally Intensive” and begin to understand and assess these learning outcomes. The group consists of a number of faculty and staff advisors from across campus: Bellah Fontem, Janine Davis, Zach Whalen, Sean Morris, Angie White, and Parrish Waters, lead by Lee.

Jess attended a grant workshop at UVa this month to assist us in seeking external funding for the work we do. We’re very excited to have this new set of expertise in our office! She has also been doing work with Safe Zone and volunteered at the Day of Silence BBQ.

Nigel has been developing a number of projects, including an asynchronous online “Welcome to Canvas” course for UMW faculty, to be launched this summer. Alongside assisting faculty the usual end-of-semester Canvas issues, he has also started redesigning his own course in Canvas with a learning mastery approach to grading, with the hopes of being able to provide it as a model to faculty.

Lee wrote a number of blog posts about digital fluency, released the latest Closing Tabs podcast with Mike Caulfield, and oversaw the publication of two guest posts from colleagues from UMW Libraries: Sharing our Community: UMW Assignment Bank by Peter Catlin and Introducing Digital Collection: An Access and Preservation Platform by Angie White. We value our collaborations with the UMW Libraries, as our work intersects and builds off of our shared goals and vision for digital fluency here at UMW.

Jesse published Textbooks, OER, and the Need for Open Pedagogy and was quoted in a piece about textbooks in the Washington Post. This was on top of his responsibilities as our fearless leader.

Sean published Instructional Designers are Teachers, and has been hard at work planning this year’s Digital Pedagogy Lab. As the semester winds down, we’re all starting to increasingly pitch in to ensure the event’s success. Jesse, Martha, Jess, Nigel, and Lora Taub-Pervizpour are working on a digital storymaking project for this year’s event. Jess has designed the t-shirts, while Bethany has been working on designing a map for participants. Lee is planning her one-day course on digital fluency, as well as coordinating with UMW DPL Alumni to better understand how the event can better meet their faculty development needs.

As of May 1, three of the DPL 2018 courses have filled and two others are about to fill. There are participants coming from around the world to participate in this event. This is an opportunity for UMW faculty and staff to engage in conversations and collaborations with a wide variety of respected educators. Even if you can’t make the entire event, we have two open keynotes: Anya Kamenetz on Monday, July 30th, and Jade E. Davis on Wednesday, August 1st, both from 4:30-6:00pm in the Digital Auditorium.  

As the semester winds down, we at DTLT wish you a restful and productive (and fun!) summer. We’re around all summer if you want to get ahead of your planning for the fall. We have a number of initiatives for next year that we’ll working on, ready to launch in August. Have a great summer!

Photo by Ankush Minda on Unsplash

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