Monday, October 31, 2011

Involving our students in publishing and presenting digitally

As Daniel Zappala and I have been discussing the next round of Digital Civilization which we will be teaching starting in January, 2012, we are intent upon finding authentic projects in which to involve our students. Two such ideas are the creation and publication of an eBook; and participating in online conferences or webinars.

Prior students made and
published an eBook.
Currently we've been brainstorming having our students get into teams to research, prepare, and publish an eBook about key issues in changes to education today -- all from the historical vantage point of digital civilization. This idea stems from the success that my students had in Spring, 2011, producing Writing About Literature in the Digital Age. After blogging through various related issues on the topic, they each produced a chapter for this eBook, which we then launched in a public webinar. This has led to some good things, such as NYU PhD Candidate, Anna Smith,  using our book as a way to structure her own experiments in teaching writing digitally. This constructive response encourages Daniel and me to repeat and perfect that experiment. We'll have more to say about that as our ideas form and as we involve our students in planning.

A second idea is to have our students participate in online conferences, such as the Global Education Conference or the Library 2.011 Virtual Worldwide Conference, both happening in November, 2011. First, students could virtually attend just such a conference. This could get them launched very quickly into present conversations on key topics and give them an idea for how they could, in turn, participate later by presenting their own ideas at such an event.

I'm glad that one of the themes of the Global Ed conference is authentic learning. Daniel and I believe strongly in breaking through the artificial barriers of academic courses and getting students involved in influencing their evolving world. We can do so very easily today, and as students realize they have both a stake in and a voice in these matters, then suddenly the history we research and the concepts about digital culture we explore will obviously be relevant.

Another source for such conferences is educational webinars.
Here is an index of many such webinars, most of which (if not all) are free and open to the public (Thanks to Steve Hargadon for his hard work with Classroom 2.0):

Do you know of other conferences or webinars happening in coming months to which Honors students could be profitably directed?

How much should undergraduates be involved in such things?