Let’s get the non-work stuff out of the way first. Notre Dame beat UNC, I had a peanut butter burger, and the ND student stores are operated by Follett. I think that all of those speak for themselves.
My day on Friday was spent meeting with the various people throughout Notre Dame’s organization who are involved with INSTTECH. I met with folks from OIT (https://oit.nd.edu/about-oit/divisions/teaching-learning-technologies/), ODL (http://online.nd.edu/about/meet-the-team/), B-School, the CDS house in their Library (http://library.nd.edu/cds/), and the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning (http://kaneb.nd.edu). Many of those talks were familiar conversations that I have had at UNC, and I think emphasizes the notion that we are all doing a lot of the same things and can all greatly benefit from increased communication.
Office of Information Technology
The day started with meeting Brian Burchett with the Teaching & Learning Technologies group of OIT. This group operates in a type of sandbox, and focuses a lot of their work on identifying and evaluating new technologies. The biggest challenge this group sees is on the business side of their work – both making the case for and strategically implementing what can sometimes be viewed by outsiders as “playing with neat toys”. It’s the kind of thing that puts me in mind of Jim Gogan’s eighth layer of the OSI model – the political layer. The group has an impressive working document in Google with a wide range of technologies/software/apps within the INSTTECH domain, and each technology includes metadata relevant to who is working on it, for which group/dept, product/service URL, and then categorized by which phase it is in according to the implementation model.
While I do like the process of formalizing ed techs within the OIT service model, I also caution that such an approach could possibly inhibit long-term innovation. I think the remedy is easy, which is to just acknowledge that not every technology needs to reach their fifth and final stage in order to be adopted and supported. I think the technologies that make it through to the end would be considered enterprise or core, campus-wide technologies that receive full support at the campus level. Everything not reaching that, however, might still be viable and invaluable within specific departments or subsets of the campus at a lower tier of the model.
Mendoza School of Business
The School of Business resembles our own in terms of lecture recording and appearance/functionality of classrooms. I don’t remember seeing what was fully on the back-end at Kenan, but at Mendoza it appears to be a fully staffed and operated process. I believe that at Kenan faculty schedule recording times and then it happens automatically. One key difference is that Mendoza makes use of storage provisioned by OIT (at least for some recorded content), while I think that Kenan is provisioning its own storage. A key theme across a few of the groups is that they or departments have experience with the $10,000 piece of equipment (e.g., eye tracking hardware, body-tracking cameras for lecture recording), and are in the process of discovering less expensive alternatives that do good enough or even better.
Office of Digital Learning
The ODL reminds me a lot of our CFE. As part of their mission they offer annual grants to work with specific classes having compelling projects to transform the class. These projects can range in scope from a single piece of visualization inside of a lecture, to an entire lecture, to an entire class. The office houses a number of media specialists who are capable of rendering objects for 3d visualization in something like SketchFab, or producing compelling media narrative. The focus is innovative course delivery, and I would like to find some examples of their work to share. They develop using best practices, and also use some of their projects to test new styles of pedagogy.
I went to Legends and had a peanut butter burger (http://legendsrestaurant.nd.edu/menu/). I skipped on their Carolina pulled pork BBQ… because why would I have that anywhere but here?
Peanut Butter Burger
- Peanut butter, honey, tick-cut bacon, cheddar, pretzel bun.$12
Center for Digital Scholarship
The CDS is housed within their main Library, and is a key hub for services related to visualization including 3d printing, large format printing (posters), GIS, and a one-button recording studio. In addition to being a center for offering these things as services they additionally provide workshops and training for the use of these various tools with an eye on good pedagogy. They expressed interest in doing something with a drone, which turned up a humorous anecdote related to why Notre Dame has a rather done-aversive policy.
Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning
The Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning focuses on a few topics related to effective pedagogy. They can work directly with faculty as consultants in order to provide suggestions for restructuring classes to more innovatively and better meet specific learning objectives. They also have a key role to play in audio media used in education, ePortfolios, and related concepts (e.g., podcasting). Their uses of ePortfolios are comprehensive, and can be developed over multiple semesters and years – and even used after graduation. And uses of the ePortfolio even extend to the real-world use of them as tools either in a workplace, or as something that can help to secure a job. Another interest of this group is digital badging. As this is a concept I’m familiar with through Scouts and gamification I was able to share some of my own thoughts on the effective use of badging. Maybe I’ll save that for a future post.