Wake Up!: Blogs as a Tool to Encourage Students Progress from Learning to Acting

Discussions about environmental problems require multimedia—no lecture can present the same impact as a photo of turtles entangled in a net or a video of a mountaintop exploding. Typically, the professor chooses the photos, videos, even the issues, to present. Learning about and discussing all these environmental problems, however, can become discouraging, and students can all too easily disconnect. Continuing the discussions onto blog pages allows many more sources, points of view, and subsequent thoughts and actions to be shared, which could empower the students. It also provides the opportunity for students not just to reflect on the course concepts and discussions, but also to add creativity and multimedia to their essays. This presentation will show how blogging in the new course, EESC230 Global Environmental Problems, helped students to wake up and look at their world, express a more personal connection with environmental problems ,and then explore and navigate their burgeoning environmental activism. In the end, students emerged with a deeper, more entrenched connection to and knowledge of many environmental issues than expected by using course blogs.

Fostering Connections in Business Communities through Social Networking

Social networking is a part of most students’ personal and professional lives. This presentation showcases an online learning community fostering connections between students, academia, industry experts, and business partners. Discussion focuses on the role of social networks in business and the value of personal brand creation in business communities.

Finding Their Own Way: Student Digital History Projects

In this panel, 3-4 students from the Adventures in Digital History Senior Seminar will discuss the process by which they developed and created group digital history projects on Civil War Fredericksburg, the James Monroe Papers, and Mary Ball Washington.  They’ll also discuss how such free-form assignments fit into their liberal arts experience.

Exploring an Improved Multidimensional Framework of Cultural Intellgence in the Context of IT

This research attempts to develop an enhanced model for the measurement of cultural intelligence in individuals in the Management Information Systems workforce and identifies additional dimensions of cultural intelligence that supplement the current four dimensional model of Ang Soon’s Cultural Intelligence framework in order to better measure the value of cultural intelligence in individuals working in a global business environment.  The improved cultural intelligence model serves to assist global businesses with a means to measure CQ of available resources in order to enhance the value of expatriate and foreign business assignments.

Two specific questions are explored:  1) What are the key dimensions of on an individual’s Social Environment in regards to Cultural Intelligence, and 2) how are key dimensions of an individual’s Social Environment measured in order to complement the existing Cultural Intelligence Framework?

Thus, being able to more effectively study Cultural Intelligence in an individual will allow global business managers to better assess the quality of cultural intelligence within an organization for the purposes of identifying resources for foreign assignments.  Additionally, global businesses can utilize this enhanced model to better train their workforce.

WordPress for Libraries

Faced with a limited budget and the desire to offer new resources and services, the librarians at the Stafford Campus developed an innovative approach to using WordPress in a library setting.  Their efforts led to the re-creation of the research guides being used by students at the Stafford Campus.  Using WordPress, the Stafford Librarians changed their research guides from a static collection of weblinks to a versatile research blog featuring instant messaging, Twitter, RSS, videos, and a federated database search engine.

James Farmer at UMW: Publishin Oral Histories with UMW Blogs

This presentation will discuss some of the dynamics of publishing oral history interviews with UMW blogs.  As part of a senior seminar on oral history and James Farmer taught by Professor Jess Rigelhaupt in fall 2009, students were trained in oral history interviewing and studied oral history methodology, the civil rights movement, and Farmer’s life history.  Students then conducted interviews with faculty, staff, and former students on Farmer’s legacy at UMW.  As a class, students built a website, farmeroralhistory.umwblogs.org, which documents their analysis and makes the interviews widely accessible.

Another component of the course involved using umwblogs  hist471c8f09.umwblogs.org) as a central gathering point for students’ responses to the readings.  This presentation will discuss how the website served as a repository for students’ writing and as place for students to share information they researched on oral history on the world wide web.

Student Publishers

Looking at ongoing experiments with the Practices in Literary Publishing course as well as the Creative Writing Workshop (a.k.a Ethershop), this presentation will examine the emerging reality that our students at UMW are increasingly becoming publishers read widely on the open web.  And the fact raises some interesting questions about how we think through the implications of student publishing for teaching and learning more generally.

Promoting Creative Thinking Through UMW Blogs

In Fall 2009 I used UMW Blogs in our advanced writing course, Spanish 413, as a way for students to compile a portfolio of their work that semester, with the culmination of the course being the completion of a written project on the topic of each student’s choice.  UMW Blogs allowed students to explore their ideas, collect information, try out new media, and use all of this work throughout the semester to create an original final project.  Students worked on topics from the more traditional research-type papers on literature, art, culture, contemporary politics, and social problems of the Spanish speaking world, while others chose to use the format for more creative sorts of projects.

Creating a Website with “Luddite” Students

The historic preservation planning laboratory tackled a technically challenging project this semester. Although Fredericksburg is a city of recognized historic value, there was no database compiling its historic resources. Anyone interested in learning about a specific building in Fredericksburg would have to know where to look, who to ask, and where to go to get that information. The new site www.fredbuildings.org was designed to solve this problem. The site not only lists historic buildings in Fredericksburg but also maps them, describes them, and provides photos and any available documents. This presentation will describe the functionality of the site and focus on the problems encountered in designing it. In particular: multiple contributors, contributors that are “non-tech-savvy”, collecting content materials, compiling data, and finding free internet tools. This session will demonstrate how even people who are stuck in the past can create a site that looks professional and functions as it should.

The Effectiveness of Peer Instruction in Principles of Economics

Peer instruction is an instructional technique with both in- and out-of-class components.  The in-class component emphasizes students working in teams and teaching each other to solve problems.  The effectiveness of this approach was evaluated in Principles of Economics by using paired sets of isomorphic (similar) questions.  Students were given the first question of the pair to answer individually, but no answer was revealed.  Then they were asked to answer the same question after consultation with their “learning partners,” and again no answer was revealed.  Finally they were asked to answer the second question of the pair individually (sometimes in low-stakes settings in class and other times in high-stakes settings on exams).  The increase in the number of correct answers as they progressed from question to question was a measure of the effectiveness of peer instruction.