Tag Archives: humanities

Ready, Set, Go! Next Gen Learning Goes Mobile

T-Mobile HTC G2 (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)In response to the growing use of mobile technology, CDL has several projects underway that focus on increasing mobile accessibility to our online courses. Discovering Math Across Generations, a course in which math partners work together on learning activities, utilizes available mobile math applications and podcasts to increase convenience and flexibility of course content delivery. In addition, revised activities will incorporate use of popular mobile devices, such as iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad and Androids.

Our new course, American Popular Music of the 20th Century (first offered this fall), will feature integrated mobile technology applications that allow students to access course content and participate in online discussions while on the go. The ability to instantly upload audio, video and images to the course will expand students’ learning environment and allow them to connect with their classmates from almost anywhere!

e-Reader (AP Media)Other projects include exploring the potential benefits of e-readers, such as the Amazon Kindle, in literature studies. In particular, students could take advantage of pre-1923 titles, thousands of which are available in digital format from Project Gutenberg, Open Library and others.

But we understand mobile technology’s practical and logistical value as well, and consistently strive to make our adult students’ lives a little more manageable. Currently, those enrolled in GPS and the New Geography are able to access their course schedule via smart phone, to keep up with assignments and due dates.

The Mobile Learning Task Force, a collaborative committee with members from the CDL faculty, Curriculum & Instructional Group and the Office of Academic Technology. The committee will participate in a panel discussion at the 2011 Empire State All-College Conference (March 23-25) and the CDL Conference (April 29-30). Stay tuned!

Virtual Field Trips Offer Inspiration and Expertise


National Geographic- Jim Richardson; Ansel Adams; Box Set Gallery - Chris Enos

One popular art course, The Photographic Vision, employs virtual field trips to enhance the student experience. Primarily an overview of photography, its history and the many genres it encompasses, this course also teaches hands-on techniques. The field trips are designed to expose students to a wealth of historical, educational and artistic knowledge directly related to each module’s topic. A visit to the American Museum of Photography provides a history of the discipline, as well as unique exhibitions and research resources. The websites of individual photographers and galleries offer high-quality, contextualized images and lessons in presentation. These in turn assist students as they complete their own photographic assignments for group critiques.

Throughout the course, students take full advantage of experts working in diverse photographic specialities such as journalism, portraiture and documentation.  At the National Geographic Magazine site, students find professional advice on specific topics such as “Taking Photos in the Rain” or “Shooting with Available Light” in addition to the vast archive of the magazine’s renown images.

During an exploration of nature photography, students visit the website of master Ansel Adams. In a culminating module on fine art photography, inspirational examples include the modern color work of Chris Enos as well as the dreamy, black and white images of Dianne Duenzl, both of Box Set Gallery.

Virtual field trips offer countless pedagogical benefits, the results of which are often evident in lively online discussions grounded in shared experience.

Dual Wiki Support System

The Dual Wiki Support System offers a flexible activity that adapts to student interests and needs, provides unique assignments, and encourages collaboration. It also provides a place for students to reflect on their own work. It operates by using two wikis in conjunction: in the first wiki, students determine topics of research that they will work on together in the second wiki. Each wiki has an area where students can share and expound upon their research strategies.

Introduction to College Studies uses this tool for an activity in which students determine the five areas of college study habits where they need the most improvement. Students then address each issue. The first wiki offers a space where each student proposes the five areas in which he or she needs to improve. The class then works together and decides which five areas most affect the group as a whole. In the second wiki the students create a post for each of the five agreed areas from the first wiki. Collectively students develop strategies to overcome these problem areas. In the comment sections, students reflect and explain their decisions in a class-wide discussion.

Wife Swap! Tying Texts to Written Assignments

Role Swap!
In U.S. Women’s History: Lives and Voices, the texts examine the three prevalent kinds of families in Colonial America: Native American families, slave families and English/European families. An early assignment in the course requires students to imagine (in writing) a wife-swap situation in which one woman temporarily changes places with a woman from another kind of family, using the articles in their texts as sources. 
  • In the first part of the essay, describe your daily life before the swap. Describe where you live, what kind of family you have, and how you relate to your husband, your children and your community. You may be a white colonial woman, a slave woman or a Native American woman.
  • In the second part of your essay, describe the changes that took place during  the swap. How are the women in your new culture treated by the men in their families? What new roles and expectations do you have? How is your daily life different from the one you were accustomed to?
  • In the third part of your essay, describe the learning you took back to your own family after the swap. What would you tell your family about your experience with the other culture? Would your experiences change your attitudes and behavior towards that culture in any way? Explain your answers.

Flipbooks: Content With Style

At CDL, one of our primary curricular goals is to encourage active learning in every course we offer. Often, we achieve this goal by providing students with guided explorations of the many resources available on the web today. Under the instruction of faculty, students are supported in their search for content that fits their style of learning and enhances their experience in the course. The Curriculum & Instructional Design group collaborates with faculty to create and provide exploratory opportunities like these.

Flipbooks are a great way to provide students with a variety of content related to the course – as well as the option to explore it at their own pace.  Multiple presentation styles (timelines, lists or maps) are not only visually-rich, but allow students to choose the method of presentation that works best for their own style of learning.

Below is an example of a Flipbook currently being used in the Caribbean History and Culture course at CDL.

Click on the link to see a full screen version of this learning object, http://www.dipity.com/timeline/Caribbean-History-And-Culture/flip/fs

Where Second Life and Real Life Meet

SaratogaArtsFest09 copy2

Empire State College participated in the annual Saratoga ArtsFest in June 09 with its exhibit Art Across Boundaries: Virtually Real and Really Virtual.

This event used the Second Life platform to simultaneously feature artists performing at the festival while their Second Life avatar broadcast their performance in real time through Second Life at the 28 Union building on ESC Island. Taking advantage of the global use of SL, the event began with classically trained vocalist Jaynine Scarborough (Juliane Gabreil) performing live in Germany, while her music streams live in Second Life through her virtual avatar. Large projection screens allow an audience in Saratoga to watch the Second Life avatars performances, while participants in Germany could watch the live performance and the SL performance.

Next, professional Argentine tango dancers David Wolf, of the Saratoga SAVOY, and Jackie Lin Wong of TangoPulse  performed several dances ranging from the traditional melody ‘Lo Pasado Paso’ by Fransisco Canaro to the more contemporary ‘Cuoro Sacro’ by Andrea Guerra. Finally, the event ended with Sonny and Perley  performing international cabaret. Their performance included Perley singing Brazilian melodies in Portugeuse, French melodies, as well as songs in English.

The event was held at the Empire State College (ESC) Alumni House, at 28 Union location in Saratoga Springs, and the  ESC Alumni House virtual counterpart. The virtual audience included members from three continents.

Using Video to Teach Drawing

A picture can say a million words.  Illustrating the various ways to draw perspective can be vastly more effective with the use of video. In Introduction to Studio Art, we use mash-ups (web 2.0 web application hybrid), to create an interactive video tutorial that illustrates 1, 2 and 4 point perspective. Tutorials like these augment the instructions and assignments.

Using the tools in the mashup you can enlarge areas, use the fullscreen option, stop video play, or enlarge the small video screen. The slider-bar, located below the mashup, or the side tabs, allow easy access to other tutorials.

Caribbean Virtual Tours

The Caribbean History and Culture course offers panoramic virtual tours of specific regions of the Caribbean.  These interactive panoramas allow students to move their view around a 360-degree plane, pan the area, and zoom in or out to visually examine Caribbean cityscapes and flora.  

A full-screen option also offers web links to regional information about the natural environments that shape the culture of the Caribbean.

 (click the red button to start and the “fullscreen” option for tour options)

A Discussion Without Walls

In Women, Girls, and the Media, learners create their own Blogs (Web Logs) and share the blog’s location on the web (its URL, or web address) with the class.  Each week, everyone regularly post topics on their blogs about issues in the media and comment on each others’ posts. A custom feature, or widget, built into the course automates the collection of the most recent posts and they can all be viewed in on location. This way, staying current and commenting on each others work daily is quick and convenient.  Below features a similar RSS collecting widget that allows for instant updating of posted materials which is similar to the one in the course :

1&au=y&utf=y&html=y”>View RSS feed

The open nature of the blog opens the students’ posts to the public.  Their observations and discussions become an open discussion for the web community at-large.  This also allows learners to connect with other blogs and participate in related discussions with bloggers all over the world. This reciprocity inherently increases the number of the members active in the course discussions occuring on the learners blogs. It also empowers the learner by indirectly teaching current web technology and trends.

Multimedia Timeline

Fashion in US History explores the interrelation between fashion and historical events from approximately 1850 to the present. The interactive timeline (shown below) plots various moments in history as well as developments and trends in fashion, allowing students to interpret historical information and incorporate it into their discussions and course activities. The use of web links, video clips, images, and content pages encourages students to revisit the timeline as part of their course work.

Click on the boxes to expand and explore the links.