Engaging Students Through Technology Symposium 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009, 10:30 am to 3 pm

The symposium explored student engagement through technology and included faculty insights, hands-on exploration of technologies and small-group discussions. It was open to Penn faculty, instructors and graduate students. About 100 people from ten schools at Penn participated.

10:30 am to Noon: Faculty Panel
Noon to 1 pm: Informal Lunch with Faculty Presenters
1 to 3 pm: Tech Tasting Sessions - Hands-on and Small-Group

Faculty Panel in Cohen Rm 402

Penn faculty members present for ten minutes each on how and why they integrate a particular technology into their teaching and course assignments. Presenters include:

  • Linda Chance, Associate Professor of Japanese Studies, School of Arts and Sciences, will discuss use of wikis to inspire and maintain student engagement over the semester.
  • Ann Norton Greene, Undergraduate Coordinator for History and Sociology of Science, School of Arts and Sciences, will discuss use of poster design assignments to help students present their research eloquently and effectively as a visual essay.
  • Amy Hillier, Assistant Professor in City and Regional Planning, School of Design, will discuss her use of online mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to develop teaching and research materials relating to WEB Du Bois's 1899 classic book, for the Mapping DuBois project with the help of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students.
  • Alain Plante, Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, School of Arts and Sciences, will discuss the use of clickers in large lecture classes to engage students with course material and with small-group problem-solving.
  • Paul Rozin, Professor of Psychology, School of Arts and Sciences, will discuss use of online tools such as Survey Monkey to help students collect and analyze real-life and class survey data easily. He will share ways to use computer programs in class to illustrate major points and engage students in the process of discovery.
  • Herb Smith, Professor of Sociology, School of Arts and Sciences, will discuss use of statistical software such as STATA to help students improve their data analysis and critical thinking skills.

Noon to 1 pm: Informal Lunch with Faculty Presenters in Weigle Information Commons Data Diner Booths

Tech Tasting Sessions in Weigle Information Commons: 1 to 3 pm
Choose up to four hands-on sessions of a half-hour each. Participants can listen to a quick introduction, explore student work, and ask questions informally. Twelve topics are offered, each twice. WICshop schedules for longer hands-on workshops and contact information will be provided. All requests have been registered and personal schedules will be distributed at the symposium. Times and locations are indicated below.

  • Adding Video and Presentation Tools for PowerPoint: PowerPoint 2007 has several useful features including the ability to embed YouTube and other videos, and manage content and timing through Presenter View. Presented by Molly Gastinger, Penn Libraries - Goldstein Electronic Classroom, 1 to 1:30 pm and 2 to 2:30 pm
  • BlackBoard Showcase: A little custom work can change the look, feel and functionality of your basic BlackBoard course sites and keep students attentive to course deadlines and activities. Presented by Amanda Chudnow, Penn Libraries - Meyerson Conference Room, 2nd Floor, 1:30 to 2 pm and 2:30 to 3 pm
  • Blogs and Wikis: Student writing and web authoring through blogs and wikis can extend class discussions and provide opportunities for collaborative and reflective activities. Presented by Rashmi Kumar, GSE - Goldstein Electronic Classroom, 1:30 to 2 pm and 2:30 to 3 pm- Both sessions are full.
  • Clickers: Handheld audience response systems can transform a large lecture and energize awkward discussion topics. Presented by Elizabeth Scheyder, SAS Computing - WIC Seminar Room, 1 to 1:30 pm and 2 to 2:30 pm.
  • Comic Life: This popular software makes comic book creation easy and fun. Student work from a Spring 2008 course and the 2009 Comic Book Contest show possibilities for course integration. Presented by Louise Krasniewicz, Department of Anthropology - Rm 128, 1:30 to 2 pm and 2:30 to 3 pm.
  • Facebook Habits: Understanding what Facebook can do and how students use it today can be helpful for planning how to engage your students. Presented by Barbara Kountouzi, Penn Libraries - Vitale Digital Media Lab, 1 to 1:30 pm and 2 to 2:30 pm.
  • Guest Experts via Videoconference: The SAS Computing portable videoconference unit can bring in guest speakers to your classroom virtually. Presented by Shawn Zamechek, SAS Computing - WIC Seminar Room, 1:30 to 2 pm and 2:30 to 3 pm.
  • Poster and Graphic Design: Poster design assignments with Vitale Digital Media Lab have worked well for several courses in disciplines such as Urban Studies and Environmental Studies. PhotoShop, PowerPoint, InDesign and Illustrator are commonly used tools for poster design. Presented by David Toccafondi, Penn Libraries - Vitale Digital Media Lab, 1:30 to 2 pm and 2:30 to 3 pm.
  • Second Life: Explore uses of virtual worlds such as Second Life on Penn's campus. See how virtual realities can be used e.g., to network students with opportunities for extra language practice and conversation outside the brick and mortar classroom. Although the exterior of Williams Hall in 2nd Life resembles the actual site, the interior is quite another story. Presented by Edward Dixon, Penn Language Center - Rm 129, 1 to 1:30 pm and 2 to 2:30 pm.
  • Student-created Websites: Free tools such as Google Sites and iWeb make it easy to create websites for individual and group projects by students. Explore examples from Penn and other institutions. Presented by Anu Vedantham, Penn Libraries - Rm 129, 1:30 to 2 pm and 2:30 to 3 pm.
  • Student Privacy: Students and faculty often are unaware of the privacy implications of many commercial web resources. Class projects need to include explicit privacy safeguards for today's online world. Presented by John MacDermott, SAS Computing - Rm 128, 1 to 1:30 pm and 2 to 2:30 pm.
  • Zotero and Refworks: These online tools make it easy to store, organize and retrieve your research records from any location. Presented by Nick Okrent and Nancy Bellafante, Penn Libraries - Meyerson Conference Room, 2nd Floor, 1:30 to 2 pm and 2:30 to 3 pm.

We thank SAS Computing for their assistance with presentations for this symposium.