In my role, I teach students on a daily basis but not in a formal classroom setting. The work I do with leadership development, coaching, and advising students allows me to create informal learning experiences. This week of #digpins was more difficult for me to connect to my day-to-day work but it helped me think about how great professors are engaging their students beyond the traditional methods.
One of my student affairs colleagues turned professor, Michelle Boettcher, a higher education professor at Clemson University, has a podcast called The Contemporary College Student. Her masters level students create podcasts about topics impacting today’s college students. I appreciate this method of encouraging students to learn technology tools as well as to consider interacting with students outside of their own experience. She is thinking outside the box in terms of how to help her students learn while sharing their learning with others.
I enjoyed reading about Robin DeRosa’s experimentation with open textbooks. In this post, she wrote, “But a textbook is a textbook, and they saw it as neutral at best, uninspiring or frustrating at worst I was just looking to replace a textbook and save some cash for strapped students. Boy, did I underestimate the power of the open textbook.” There are so many connections between the type of work Robin DeRosa is doing with open textbooks with the work of academic service-learning. Robin is giving students an opportunity to really interact with the material. They are helping others and making connections beyond sitting next to one another in a classroom. This learning is parallel to the learning done in academic service-learning.
In the article, “But You Can’t Do That in a STEM Course,” Karen Cangialosi encourages the idea of having students share their research as they are developing it. She writes, “ If we model ways for students to be transparent about all of the stages of the research process — encouraging them to publicly post and openly license their methodology and data long before it is polished into a final paper, they can receive broad and sometimes expert feedback on their work.” That statement reminded me of part of Angela Duckworth’s book entitled Grit: The Power and Passion of Perseverance. In the book, she shares about the process of developing her TedTalk. She reflects on the fact that we do not see the iterations of talks that it took to get from the first draft to the final, polished product. It takes perseverance to work behind the scenes to create a meaningful product. We should give students more opportunities for their work to be praised and critiqued in a public way as they are developing it.
I will continue to reflect on how to use digital methods in the work I do outside of the classroom. There are so many ways our students already connect to one another, how can we create more ways for them to connect with others outside of our campus?