Dr. Steve Davis is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Kentucky, where he teaches precolonial and modern South African history using the popular video game Minecraft. CELT's Dr. Nicole Martin asked Dr. Davis about his goals for student learning, and how he encourages students to develop skills in historical analysis through virtual world-building.
To unpack some of our assumptions about attention, learning, and technology in the classroom, I spoke with Dr. Yuha Jung and Dr. Rachel Shane of the Department of Arts Administration. Jung and Shane have worked with colleagues to integrate technologies into their teaching so that students are more likely to be on task. What follows is an informal exploration of what it means to pay attention and to learn in the context of the contested value of digital technologies.
In The Slow Professor, Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber's thoughtful contribution to the conversation on academic labor is to challenge what often goes without saying: that it's good to be more efficient, to be faster, to manage as many tasks as possible at once. How can we practice slowness and pleasure in thoughtful ways for the good of our disciplines and colleagues and, more importantly, for those whom our decisions and actions affect profoundly?
Dr. Deb Castiglione is the Universal Design and Instructional Technology Specialist at CELT. She has worked to get a campus-wide license at the University of Kentucky for the software Read&Write Gold, which follows principles of universal design for learning. We asked Dr. Castiglione about what the software can do for learners, and why we should think more about inclusive practices such as universal design in our teaching.
Recent student activism on campus, particularly around safe spaces, trigger warnings, and microaggressions, has led to rising criticism lobbied against millennials as a generation unwilling to engage opposing beliefs or challenging discourse. Yet, taking into consideration all that young adults navigate to pursue higher education, their dissident presence on campus does more to reveal how they actively participate in the world -- including their education.
Last spring, instructors from across campus met with the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) to begin course prep work at the third annual Innovation + Design Lab (I+D Lab). As part of the eLearning Innovation Initiative (eLII), the I+D Lab is a three-day intensive instructional design workshop for UK faculty members to develop tech-enhanced face-to-face, hybrid, and online courses.
At the outset of a new academic year, we'd do well to reflect on how we pitch academic integrity—and the concept of cheating—to our students. Not only does it affect how they see us as teachers and scholars; it also affects in profound ways how we see (or don't see) students as complex human beings. And this asks us to go against our gut reactions to the apparent moral legibility of cheating. If we understand cheating as an evasive concept, and as a product of our institutions, we're much less likely to incentivize it.
In response to the American Bar Association's new learning outcomes for law students, Professor Roberta Harding adapted strategies from digital humanities and gamification to legal education. Using the Ivanhoe software, Professor Harding designed a semester-long, role-playing, digital game in order to reimagine how students approached casework in an introductory criminal law course.
As a university committed to creating inclusive learning environments, we must remember that our pedagogical practices and philosophies are not crafted in insolation from our social, political, and cultural environments. The psychic and emotional injury spurred by the events of this past summer will continue to reverberate across campus as we move into the fall semester. When we boldly address the lingering effects of trauma through our pedagogical practices, we demonstrate how the campus actively creates space for the civic development of students, staff, faculty, and administration.
Abdul Khalil, Professor of Mining Engineering at Balkh University in Afghanistan, recently participated in an international collaboration with the University of Kentucky's College of Engineering and Department of Mining Engineering. As part of the program, Professor Khalil attended a series of curriculum and instructional workshops led by CELT. He hopes that incorporating new teaching and learning strategies will yield better opportunities for his students, who will be able to complete their degrees and find locally-based jobs exploring the region’s terrain.