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May 15 eTeaching Day Puts Spotlight on MediaKron Platform

05/09/13
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By Ed Hayward | Chronicle Staff

Published: May 9, 2013

The University’s annual eTeaching Day and Teaching with New Media Awards ceremony take place next Wednesday, May 15, highlighting innovative teaching practices and the MediaKron digital instruction platform developed by the Office of Instructional Design and eTeaching Services (IDeS).

Gardner Campbell, director of professional development and innovative initiatives at Virginia Tech, will present the keynote address “From Memex to YouTube: Cognition, Learning and the Internet,” according to Executive Director for Academic Technology Rita Owens.

The eTeaching Day program reflects the emphasis on finding innovative applications for a number of well-established eteaching tools, including off-the-shelf products as well as the University’s proprietary MediaKron technology. A web-based application developed by a team of faculty and designers at IDeS, MediaKron lets faculty build customized sites using a range of tools  – such as maps and timelines – to organize and present images, video, audio and text.

“Our emphasis is on innovation,” said Owens. “The proliferation of new technologies in the field of higher education allows our office and faculty to do a lot of new and exciting things. But it’s not just about MediaKron. We take a big-picture view of innovation and match faculty with the technologies that best suit their needs. It’s not just about the widget or what the technology does, but about how we can innovate with it.”

Sessions will highlight The MediaKron Project, which opened up the University’s proprietary platform to faculty at six outside universities to expand the reach of the technology.

At BC, there are nearly 40 active MediaKron projects developed by faculty for courses ranging from biology to theology. Last year, BC selected faculty from Boston University, Bucknell University, Clark University, Dartmouth College, Providence College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute to use the platform.

“Our partners from other institutions will all be here presenting on their projects and showing just how flexible this tool is and how it can be applied to almost any discipline,” Owens said. “MediaKron was developed with a primary emphasis on the digital humanities, so it will be exciting to see projects from a course in civil engineering at Bucknell and one from WPI focused on teaching biology.”

The annual Teaching with New Media (TWIN) Awards ceremony recognizes BC faculty members for outstanding uses of technology to enhance learning. Through an online submission form, students have the opportunity to rate their instructors on categories such as innovation and effectiveness.

A committee of students, faculty, and IDeS staff selected the 2013 TWIN Award winners: Adjunct Associate Professor of Economics Paul Cichello, Assistant Professor of Communication Seung-A Jin, Adjunct Associate Professor of English Joseph Nugent, Clinical Associate Professor of Nursing Colleen Simonelli and Adjunct Lecturer in Operations Management Gregory Stoller.

Owens said this year’s recipients and their projects reflect a growing emphasis on faculty-student collaboration to create online archives and presentations focused on course topics.

“It’s really about student collaboration using these tools,” said Owens. “We can now work with students to curate digital information and they can curate their own material. This is changing scholarship, the student contribution to scholarship and the traditional ways in which we teach students.”

For more information or to register for eTeaching Day events, see www.bc.edu/eteachingday.