UMW’s Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies (DTLT) kicked off its second annual Digital Liberal Arts series last night in the Hurley Convergence Center Digital Auditorium. The presentation, “A Virtual Tool Parade,” was the first in a three-part series planned throughout the fall semester.
Members of the DTLT staff presented some of their favorite digital tools, explaining how they can be applied in the classroom and used to promote scholarly thinking.
The purpose of the session was to “pile as many possible options into your brain as we can in the next 50 minutes,” said Executive Director Jesse Stommel, who opened the event. His picks included the word-cloud application Wordle and the text analysis tool Voyant, both of which, he said, can be used to get students thinking about language and spur research discussions.
Instructional Technology Specialist Kris Shaffer shared the ways in which he has students collaborate by using Hypothesis, a tool for annotating the web, and contribute to public knowledge by editing Wikipedia. Despite the site’s reputation for inaccuracies, he said, Wikipedia is “more comprehensive and accurate than other encyclopedias” and “most resilient in the face of a disinformation campaign.”
Lee Skallerup Bessette, also an instructional technology specialist, presented TimeMapper, which combines collaborative Google spreadsheets with timelines and maps to chronicle the movement of individuals and events throughout time. She’s used the tool, she said, to show students how the Renaissance movement spread across Europe.
Instructional Technology Specialist Jess Reingold shared Audacity, a free multi-track audio editing and recording tool students can use to enhance text and set the tone for projects. And Online Learning Specialist Nigel Haarstad presented a website called Pixabay, a resource of 1.1 million free images and videos.
The initiative supports one of the main goals – reconstituting the liberal arts for the digital age – set forth in UMW President Troy Paino’s recently revealed vision for Mary Washington. In addition, the series showcases UMW’s mission of maintaining its stance as a leader in weaving digital practices into the entire curriculum, as well as into students’ college and post-college experiences.
The next two sessions of the series, which take place in the Digital Auditorium, on the first floor of the Hurley Convergence Center, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., include:
- Oct. 12: “Web Culture in the Disciplines” features a panel of UMW faculty discussing ways in which they currently engage in public scholarship online.
- Nov. 15: Lora Taub-Pervizpour, Professor of Media and Communication at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, explores how digital media inform critical participation in democratic society.