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Wednesday Memo
Oct. 22, 2014

Teaching and learning forum scheduled at UM


Teaching and learning forum scheduled at UM

The 2014 Teaching and Learning Forum is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 23, from 3:30-6 p.m. on the ground floor of Carmichael Library.

Nine Montevallo faculty members will present seven innovative projects in an informal, teacher-to-teacher roundtable format at this year’s event. The forum is designed to provide opportunities to exchange assignments, projects, activities, tests and other ideas that promote teaching and learning effectiveness.

Jennifer Alexiou-Ray (Education) and Cassie Raulston (Education), will present “Modeling Best Practice by Using BYOD to Increase Engagement.”

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a relatively new initiative that is popping up in schools and school systems where students bring personal mobile computing devices to school to aid in completing classwork and meeting learning objectives. Students enrolled in the elementary and secondary programs are trained on what BYOD is and how the initiative can engage their own students. They analyze the effectiveness of BYOD as a component to classroom instruction and discuss how BYOD could be used in their current and/or future placements and classrooms.

John Bawden (History), will present “Digital History Projects: Wikipedia and Google Maps.”

Students learned how Wikipedia articles get written collaboratively, how they are edited, modified, and how a small number of individuals exercise power within the Wikipedia community. Online vandals tried to delete one student’s contributions to a wiki and the ultimate outcome proved quite interesting. In another instructive episode, a nameless Wikipedia administrator refused to publish an article one student created. This digital project turns students into contributors and refiners of online knowledge and puts them in touch with the infrastructure of the world’s most widely used online encyclopedia. Students used Google to annotate maps and tell stories about events or personalities. This interactive digital project combined storytelling with an appealing sense of space and movement.

Jason Cooper (Carmichael Library) and Eric Vaccarella (Spanish), will present “Bringing Day of the Dead to Life.”

Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is a Latin American observance dedicated to the remembrance of friends and relatives who have died. Since 2002, Vaccarella has assigned his students the task of constructing a Day of the Dead altar (ofrenda) in honor of a historical figure. Past altars have been built to honor well-known Mexicans such as the painter Frida Kahlo and Tejano musician Selena Quintanilla-Pérez. The altars are on display annually for a period of about two weeks. Students present their work during class time to fellow UM students and faculty, as well as to campus guests.

Vaccarella and Cooper envisioned a resource shelf of materials that could aid in the construction of the altars, as well as provide broader context on the Day of the Dead tradition and other aspects of life and culture in Latin America. Upon receiving an ILlUMinate grant in 2013, the pair curated a list of 30 books, DVDs, and other materials that provide support for this annual project and display. The Day of the Dead bookshelf will also support general studies in Spanish, as well as UM’s new Latin American Studies minor.

Joseph Sargent (Music), will present “Source Materials in Music History: The Music of Luis Benejam.”

The University of Montevallo holds a unique collection of original manuscripts and musical scores by Luis Benejam (1914-1968), a Spanish composer who spent several years as violinist of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and as composer-in-residence here at Montevallo. Music history students examine primary source materials (both physical manuscripts and digital images) drawn from Montevallo’s collection and learn how to assess these materials like a historian: examining the material’s condition, state of completeness, physical dimensions, quality of notation, and any clues that might indicate where and when the piece was composed. They go on to investigate a single Benejam composition in greater depth, using this archival material along with secondary sources such as scores, recordings, books and articles.

Catherine Walsh (Art), will present “Digital Art History” and “Hands-On Learning: Cataloguing the UM Art Collection Using Omeka.”

During the Spring 2014 semester, students in ART 327: Collections Management, inventoried, photographed and catalogued more than 100 artworks in the University of Montevallo collection. In this course, students learned about principles of information architecture, museum taxonomies, art handling techniques and cataloguing standards. Together, the class established controlled vocabularies for describing and categorizing artworks, as well as class standards for numbering and labeling artworks. Working in teams, the students captured pertinent information about each artwork and contributed metadata and free-form object descriptions for each artwork to an Omeka database, which can now be used to research the UM art collection. It is anticipated that this resource will be made publicly accessible in the future.

Tiffany Wang (Communication), will present “Using Tablets to Promote IL Skills in the COMS Foundational Class.”

During the Spring/Summer 2014 semesters, COMS 101/102 students identified, located, evaluated and cited online sources. Several instructors incorporated a Library iPad IL Day that focused on evaluating online source credibility, utilizing IL tablet apps and utilizing online library resources. The class was able to build on the Library iPad IL Day and encourage students to continue to practice IL skills learned from this day that in turn increased the likelihood that these IL skills would be applied to their assignments.

Melanie Williams (Music) will present “The Alexander Technique.”

The Alexander Technique can be used to identify and reduce or alleviate such physical obstructions to optimal freedom and efficiency of movement in singers, instrumentalists and anyone else who seeks to improve their health and freedom of movement through such study. It is a method that works to change movement habits in our everyday activities. It is a simple and practical method for improving ease and freedom of movement, balance, support and coordination. The technique teaches the use of the appropriate amount of effort for a particular activity, giving you more energy for all your activities. It is not a series of treatments or exercises, but rather a re-education of the mind and body. The Alexander Technique is a method that helps a person discover a new balance in the body by releasing unnecessary tension.

All are encouraged to drop by and check out these creative teaching and learning strategies! Refreshments will be available!


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