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CEL Faculty Profiles

Rebecca Ammerman Uses iPads for Rome/Pompeii Video Narrative

Rebecca Ammerman and a couple of her students reflect on their experience with using iPads to create their video narrative projects on their latest extended study program to Rome/Pompeii. After completing a similar project last year on their extended study to Greece using laptops, HD video cameras, and computer software, they compare their latest experience using iPads both for the collection of images and video, and the editing of video editing using iMovie.

Noor Khan Reflects on Wikipedia Project

CEL asked: Why did you decide to do a Wikipedia editing project?
Noor Khan: The major thing that got me interested in doing this project was really the fact that my students love Wikipedia. I have spent so much time over the past seven years telling students they cannot cite Wikipedia, and I'm amazed at how hard that is for students, because it clearly is one of the major sources. When my students ask why they can't cite it, what I normally tell them is peer review. We need something that is peer reviewed, and the students always point out, "Well, this is peer reviewed by the entire planet." Then we go into what is expertise, and, you know, peer reviewed by any damn fool does not count as peer review. The idea came along at some point when someone did point out, "Well, why can't I be that damn fool?"
What were your learning goals for this project?
Noor Khan: Well, that was what was so exciting about this project, was that it was a very different set of learning goals. The first and most important thing was really working together talking about audience. Students, of course, are used to writing for their professors, and many of us do put effort into saying, "Okay, yes, I'm the one grading it, but think of yourself as writing for a larger audience." But it's still a limited — and extremely specialized in some sense — audience that the students expect to be reading their work, and this one, they knew that the kid next to them in class was the person they should be writing for — the kid next to them in chemistry class, not history class.

Overall, what was it like working with CEL?
It would not have been even remotely possible without the CEL help, the support we got — the support I got just thinking about it, and starting to figure out where to go. Especially since I didn't realize that wikipedia was that easy to get into and start changing things on. I had no idea that the identity [you use in wikipedia] remains stable throughout all of your interactions with wikipedia and all this. The initial learning curve which was mine was necessary and took some serious time. The students found both Clarence and David very accessible, very easy to get a hold of, and very willing to give a lot of time. The students actually mentioned multiple times how, you, "Oh, yeah, this will get taken care of during my meeting with so and so next week."

I fully intend to continue doing things with CEL now that I recognize that when I holler for help, somebody will come. And they won't look at me with that glance... It's very useful to not feel stupid when being trained to do something.

Meika Loe Reflects on Digital Storytelling Project

What do a 20-something Colgate student and a 70-something area resident have in common? More than you might think, it turns out. Twelve seniors in the course Sociology of Age, Aging, and the Lifecourse were paired with an elder and tasked with creating a digital story about that person.

Professor Meika Loe talks about the success of the project.

Tyrell Haberkorn Reflects on the Podcasting Project

Tyrell Haberkorn: What inspired me about the Marginalized Conflicts podcast project is that students became empowered to actively join discussions and debate as actors, rather than only passively consuming knowledge about the world in which they live.

This was pedagogically powerful because students grew more engaged and produced higher quality work for this project than they do, on average, for a standard research paper. In addition, students experientially learned a very broad set of lessons about what is at stake in the production of knowledge.

Their sense of concern about the atrocities which have taken place in the 20th century and the paucity of information available grew palpable over the course of the semester. While the usual response to this realization (which is common in PEAC 111, as students re-understand the 20th century as one of nearly continuous crisis) is paralysis, students who created podcasts short-circuited this paralysis by intervening directly.

Margaret Wehrer Reflects on Poster Project

CEL asked: What motivated you to pursue this type of project with your class?
Several things motivated me to try the poster format. First, the assignment on which the poster is based has been around awhile and I was worried about plagiarism; creating a poster requires individual work.

Second, I spend a lot of time trying to get students to articulate main arguments or claims in their own or others’ writing; the poster format emphasizes that skill.  

Third, I wanted a way for the students to teach each other about their topics, rather than just turn in the material to me.

What were your learning goals?
I was hoping the students would learn to:
  • Articulate their main point clearly and succinctly to a broader audience of students and other professors
  • Convey their points in a visually compelling and culturally sensitive way
  • Create a product they could be proud of and display in other contexts besides the classroom
Overall what was your impression of working with CEL?
It has been a joy to work with Dan, Clarence, and Debbie. They were prepared, well-organized, and had great ideas on how to achieve my goals. Our meetings before, during, and after the semester kept communication flowing and helped us make the process flow smoothly.