Faculty Delve into Digital Learning

News Story: May 25, 2016

From left are Professor James Castonguay, Provost Rupendra Paliwal, Office of Digital Learning
Director Jaya Kannan, ESL Academic Director Alla Schlate and Professor Justin Liberman during the Faculty Institute at the Martire Business & Communications Center.

Professors were the students recently when Sacred Heart University faculty explored the advantages of digital learning at SHU’s third annual Digital Pedagogy Institute.

The weeklong institute comprised seminars on means to improve teaching practices with digital tools and resources faculty can integrate into the classroom.

Twenty-three professors participated in the institute, organized by SHU’s Office of Digital Learning. Four faculty members served as advisers to the group, and students were on hand to provide additional technology support.

Jaya Kannan, director of digital learning, said the institute serves as faculty development on the emerging trends and best practices in digital pedagogy. “It’s not just about focusing on the tools, but thinking critically about the pedagogical effectiveness in relation to the learning theories.” Kannan said.

Though participants only have a short time to learn about new technology and how to apply it to their own classes, she said, “It’s phenomenal what they achieve in one week.”

Faculty from SHU's five colleges met each morning throughout the week for group workshops that focused on various topics. Once the daily workshop concluded, faculty chose one of three concurrent seminars to attend that related to workshop topic. This gave them the opportunity to decide what they wanted to learn based on their own needs and goals.

On the institute’s last day, faculty gathered in the Frank and Marisa Martire Business & Communications Center to share their final projects, demonstrating to their peers and University staff the digital pedagogy strategies they will be implementing in their classrooms.

Professor Sandy Young and Steven Michels, director of University assessment, talked about electronic portfolios for student use. They plan to pilot the ePortfolio with freshman honor students: beginning with their freshman seminar, students will use the technology to store and organize all their work. Michels said the ePortfolio is customizable; students will be able to upload papers, keep track of research, edit their material and much more. At the end of the year, Michels said, there will be a contest for the best portfolio.

“They’ll have this with them for all four years,” Young said.

Anthony Macari, director of the master’s in business administration program, and Stephen Brown, professor of management, presented on designing a blended MBA course. They redesigned one of their MBA classes into a blended format. For this, they will use videos and video chats to supplement their teaching and strengthen instructor presence. The class is more convenient for students while still being interactive and engaging, Macari said.

Education Professor Kristin Rainville showed how she can use Zaption—a free, interactive, video annotation tool—to analyze students’ reading comprehension. Just one of numerous education apps and tools highlighted during the week, Zaption allows her to upload a video of a student reading and then observe the student’s hand gestures and fluency to see how it connects to comprehension. She also can take notes directly in the video and add questions, text and photos. In addition, she said, it’s shareable and others can watch it easily.

“It’s really exciting to see how we’re collaborating in different ways and using and embracing technology,” Rainville said.


Faculty Institute 5/20/16