Student Beta-Testers

Idea Behind Student Beta-Testers

Increasingly, students are becoming more involved in the pedagogical process within their institutions on campuses across the country. Recently, Inside Higher Ed featured the Mellon-funded project at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges. Their program, called Students as Learners and Teachers, trains student-observers in pedagogy and then pairs them with a professor who they don’t have a course with to give the professor feedback. As put in the piece:

Both professors and students benefit from the program through increased engagement, metacognitive awareness and a stronger sense of identity, and improved classroom experience, Cook-Sather said, sharing the following comment from a student partner: “My preparation for and my discussions with my faculty partner have made me more self-reflexive about my own experience and responsibilities as a student.” 

A different kind of program exists at Harvard, where they have Learning Lab Undergrad Fellows, who help faculty “design and test assignments that utilize innovative modes of communication such as movement, drawing, speaking, etc.” The students often also advise and work with faculty on new technologies that the assignments would involve. Again, these students receive training on working with faculty and pedagogy.

Student Beta-Testers at UMW

The purpose of the Student Beta-Testers is to provide faculty we work with at DTLT the opportunity to test (and get feedback on) their digitally-inflected assignments before using them in the classroom. With the emphasis of President Paino on the incorporation of advanced digital fluency into the curriculum here at UMW, this is a great opportunity to grow the capacity of the students, as well as provide a new resource for the faculty. The project is a collaboration between DTLT, the DKC, and the HCC

Here at UMW, we have provided training for our students in assignment design, feedback, and online learning. You can view the training here (add link).

If you want to work with one of our beta-testers, please contact