This May, we concluded our inaugural “World. Wine. Web.” series of events for this academic year. The informal gatherings hosted monthly by the MMLC for faculty were lively, entertaining, and filled with discussions about the careful use of technologies that can improve learning.
The hour-long gatherings provided food and drink and discussions for faculty — by faculty. The success of the format was its simplicity: a little mingling, followed by a brief overview by our guests, and then a majority of the time open for questions, discussions, and more mingling. The MMLC also worked to make the setting itself relaxed and informal, transforming our Kresge 1-375 Seminar Room into a salon.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Ana Williams (Portuguese) spoke about her use of Moodle as a course management system and how it contrasts with Blackboard, allowing students to achieve a unique interactivity through their blog-like posts.
- Franziska Lys (German) is a member of the Northwestern CMS Planning Committee currently evaluating the future of online course systems. She discussed the various criteria and options they’re investigating.
- Aude Raymond and Christiane Rey talked about the process, challenges, and benefits of rebuilding a custom-made online learning courseware, compared to licensing products from textbook publishers.
- Michael Kramer (History) has been pioneering Digital Humanities in the classroom by having his Digital Folk History classes create and add to a digital archive through WordPress and Omeka platforms.
- John Bresland (English) teaches his students to make compelling visual essays, demystifying the tech behind it and inspired everyone with the quality of the work his students produced.
- Lis Elliot (Slavic) discussed her investigation of dictionaries: both the need for a culturally sensitive visual dictionary for Russian learners and also a future dictionary project to developed over the summer following a summer digital humanities workshop taking place in the MMLC.
There will be more World. Wine. Web. gatherings next academic year. As before, a little red wine and some imported cheeses will help to fuel the conversation both during the main discussion and afterwards between faculty from different areas of the College. Let us know if you have some discussion ideas you think would make good food for thought.