Grey Tales


Tales from an Instructional Technologist in the world of legal education and beyond…

eTeaching Day at Boston College


May 14, 2008


Today I am attending a one day eTeaching Workshop at BC.

Presentation #1

The first presenter, Crystal Tiala (Associate Professor/Scene Designer from the Theatre Department) demonstrated her experience using a Wiki for student interaction: Creating Social Activist Images. It was built in-house by BC on the open-source Drupal.

Presentation #2

In the second presentation, the Department of History, showcased a resource that allows faculty to share material for their courses. The repository includes texts, images and maps, and “teaching moments”.

Presentation #3

In the third presentation, Jeanne Po, Tim Lindgren and Mark O’Connor discuss creating engaging multimedia course content. Typically content is presented linearly. The typical vehicle is PowerPoint because it is easy and flexible to use. It can then be uploaded to the course management system. This seems at odds with how people teach as educators. We can do better by using malleable material and incorporating visual learning with the least impact on faculty time. Faculty and students need to make relationships with the material by having user driven interfaces with clear navigation.

The result was MEMEO:My Educational Multimedia Explorer Online. This application is way for faculty and students to explore multi-media content online.

  • Topics (linear grouping),
  • Tags: (cross-ref items),
  • Maps (spatial representation),
  • Timeline (temporal representation),
  • Comparison (viewing items side-by-side),
  • Search.





So a basic unit is equivalent to an item (image, audio, video, text). Metadata determines where it appears (topics, map coordinates, dates, tags). To get an idea of what MEMEO looks like, take a look at the screen captures that BC created for Educause 2007.


What can Wikipedia Teach Us About the New Media Literacies?

Henry JenkinsHenry Jenkins, Project NML & Comparative Media Studies, MIT

Macarthur Foundation: the ability to negotatiate and evaluate information online[…] is becoming as basic as reading and writing.

In order to create participatory culture: need low barriers (to artistic expression and civic engagement), strong support (for creating and sharing), informal mentorship, contributions matter, social connection.

Its not simply about technical skills. Also about social skills and cultural competencies. How do we process information collectively, rather than individually?

There are three core challenges:

  1. The Participation Gap-the unequal access of youths to the opportunities, experiences, skills and knowledge that will prepare them for full participation in the world of tomorrow.
  2. The Transparency Problem-the challenges young people face in learning to see clearly the ways media shape our perceptions of the world.
  3. The Ethics Challenge– the breakdown of traditional forms of professional training and socialization which might prepare young people for their increasingly public roles as media makers and community participants.

Four skills of the new media literacies (for young people to acquire to navigate through the world successfully):

  • Collective Intelligence
  • Judgment
  • Networking
  • Negotiation

Wikipedia shouldn’t work in theory but does work in practice – Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia Co-Founder

Encyclopedia is a product, Wikipedia is a process. At first glance it may look like a collection of pages, but as you look more closely it is a collection of people working on a project. The question is not “can you trust Wikipedia”, but rather, “when can you trust Wikipedia?”.

Students should be taught how to be participants not simply consumers of the information. This can be termed “The Participation Gap”. We must move towards “collective intelligence”. “Members of a thinking community search, inscribe, connect, consult, explore…Not only does the cosmopedia make available to the collective intellect all of the pertinent knowledge available to it at a given moment, but it also serves as a site of collective discussion, negotiation, and development….Unanswered questions will create tension with cosmopedic space, indicating regions where invention and innovation are required.” (quote from Pierre Levy-author of “collective intelligence”). For more on this topic, read Henry Jenkins blog about this topic.




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