Thursday, December 6, 2007

How does TLC compare? Washington University

The last school that I looked into is Emory's arch nemesis--at least if you believe our 2005 undergraduate student leaders.

I'm pleased to report Washington University (in St. Louis) has a program that, along with Duke's, most closely resembles TLC. The Graduate School there offers a yearly Graduate Student Summer Workshop (GSSW) that focuses on the "development and delivery of technology-enhanced course content." The workshop lasts two days (5 hours each day), and the technologies they cover are similar to those that we have explored thus far in T(P/L)C: course management software, web authoring, PowerPoint, wikis, and blogs. The course is peer-led, and there is a faculty panel discussion as a closing event. Participation in the seminar also fulfills one of the requirements for the Graduate School's Teaching Citation.

GSSW is open to students from every area of the Graduate School. In 2006 (the year for which I could find statistics), 36 students participated: 14 were from the Humanities, 13 from Social Sciences and Social Work, and 9 from Natural Science departments. Over 400 students have participated in the program since its inception in 1997. 1997? Wow: this is the earliest program that I have found so far. Is it any coincidence that this is the year that ECIT opened? I think not.

In addition to GSSW (which really needs a better acronym), Wash U has ITeach. This is an annual, day-long seminar that allows faculty to share ideas and insights about teaching with technology. Graduate students can register to attend, but it doesn't appear that they are frequent presenters. The program reminds me of EduCATE at Emory (which we might need to bring back soon).

One other interesting thing that I found on Wash U's websites was the Graduate Online Lecture Project. The project showcases the work of grad students who have applied to the program to gain the skills they need to develop a module to teach a particular "pedagogical challenge" in an introductory course for which they serve as TA. It is also an outlet for students to showcase their research in new ways, including Flash, a tool we don't teach at ECIT. Based on everything that I can dig up on the program, it appears that it has been defunct since 2005. Nevertheless, I think this represents something that, like Duke's e-portfolio project, is something that we should consider in the future of TPC as it would give our students something concrete to walk away with and to show to others.

In other news, there are several long-term digital projects in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, but these are mainly run by faculty.

My verdict on Wash U is that they have programs that parallel ours rather nicely. GSSW in particular is similar to what we are proposing because it has graduate students and pedagogy as its foci. I'm certain that teaching at Wash U and their graduate students have benefited immensely from the opportunities it fosters and the related discussion happening on their campus. There are some differences between TPC and GSSW, and I--perhaps predictably--believe that our program has important advantages. But I'll address those in a final post that summarizes the whole of my investigation.

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