Thursday, December 17, 2015

Wrapping up 2015

As I have stated before, the most exciting part of my job is traveling and experiencing first-hand the creativity of ACM faculty and staff.  Whether it is in a classroom, a newly designed informal learning space, libraries incorporating technology into spaces previously occupied by books, or informal conversations at professional conferences, the focus on student engagement and learning is universal for ACM member campuses. 

For this final installment of 2015, I wanted to supplement my earlier series on innovation.  This list is by no means exhaustive, but provides a good starting point.  Feel free to add more information in the comments so we can share additional initiatives and projects.  As of now, however, here are some things to get us started:

  • Beloit has purchased a Vocal Booth with the help of a grant.  Although there is currently no equipment installed in the booth, students and faculty can check out microphones.  There are plans to install a computer and dedicated microphone based on feedback from users.  Also, Beloit is involved in an Andrew Mellon Foundation funded $100,000 English planning grant with Knox and Lake Forest surrounding the effective use of technology in English departments.
  • Carleton’s IdeaLab allows interested faculty to work with digital assignments and objects.  Carleton also continues to work with St. Olaf on the Andrew Mellon Foundation funded Broadening the Bridge initiative, meant to increase collaboration between the two schools.
  • Knox has begun repurposing space in the library to create both formal and informal learning spaces.  These include huddle stations and an instructional area.  Also, Knox is involved in an Andrew Mellon Foundation funded $100,000 English planning grant with Lake Forest and Beloit surrounding the effective use of technology in English departments.
  • Lake Forest received an $800,000 grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation supporting their Digital Chicago Project.  Also, Lake Forest is involved in an Andrew Mellon Foundation funded $100,000 English planning grant with Knox and Beloit surrounding the effective use of technology in English departments.
  • Monmouth has set up a test environment for a new release of Moodle.  Faculty members have been invited to participate in a pilot and then report out to colleagues and staff on their experiences in using new functionality.
  • St. Olaf is nearing completion of their Digital Scholarship Center (DiSCO), set to open in January.  Included in this space on the fourth floor of the Rolvaag Library will be: Open, collaborative study and work spaces; Computer stations equipped with media production and design software; a computer classroom; Production Lab equipped with large-format and 3D printing, scanning, and creative workspace; Audio recording booth; and a Video recording room.  Pictures soon to come.
In a world of constantly changing and evolving technologies, it is an honor to be associated with colleges on the forefront of taking purposeful and pedagogically driven approaches to teaching and learning.  I look forward to next year to arrive and cannot wait to see what is on the horizon.