Academic Innovation Studio

GSIs are invited to check out the Academic Innovation Studio (AIS). Managed by Educational Technology Services, the facility offers workstations for screen capture, voice recording, and video editing among other things, as well as comfortable spaces for sharing and collaborating on projects. AIS also houses support for bCourses, and instructional equipment. Learn more about Continue Reading >>

Empowered Learning: History, Collaboratively

by Jesse Cordes Selbin, English
I believe that education functions best when students are not merely passive recipients, but collaborative creators, of knowledge. To that end, I designed an ongoing assignment wherein students used online software to contribute to a collective historical timeline of the nineteenth century…The function of the timeline was primarily informational: it was intended to give a deeper understanding of a historical era. But its crucial secondary function was to ask students to reconceptualize their own role as creators and perpetrators of historical narrative.

Making and Supporting an Argument

by Margot Szarke, French
Many students feel challenged when asked to analyze a literary or cinematic work because there is a certain amount of intellectual freedom involved in the task… How can a text or film be successfully and meaningfully interpreted in multiple ways? How can references and textual details be used to effectively build up an argument?

The End of Romance: Teaching Students to Rethink ‘Wild’ Africa

by Amy Wolfson, African American Studies
One of the most poignant challenges I faced while teaching…was grappling with the preconceived notions and biases about Africa that students bring to the classroom. Romanticized and exoticized as wild, uncivilized, and mystical, Africa is often portrayed in the media as a homogenous space full of wild animals, warring tribes, and dictators…For most of [my students], Africa had modern problems, but no modern cultures.

Fun with Phonetics on a Saturday: Bringing Linguistics Up to Date with the Other Sciences

by Charles Chang, Linguistics
With so much course material to review in section, we are left with little time to get students comfortable with doing the technical things they need to be able to do to fully engage with the course material…In the end, students were offered the chance to come get their hands dirty with phonetics, and they came — even though it was on their own time, and even though it was on the weekend. Who woulda thunk?

The Power of Observation ‘in situ’ (By Proxy)

by Justin Underhill, History of Art
After 20 minutes of excited measurement and discussion, the groups disbanded and I led a very successful discussion about San Francesco della Vigna. Students challenged one another and made observations that I had not noticed. I always know I have succeeded when my students teach me how to look anew.

Solar System on a Laptop: Visualizing the Dynamic Universe

by Daniel Perley, Astronomy
In this case, words and diagrams were the problem, and no amount of them would solve it. My solution, instead, was to produce for my students an animated simulation of the motion of the planets around the sun, and display it on one wall using an LCD projector.

Music and Multi Media: Staging Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’

by Anna Nisnevich, Music
An easy analogy between music and word, music and image, and music and gesture…often proves deceptive…Ever-tempted to “translate” music into a discernible language, the students easily get under the spell of the familiar and end up telling stories and drawing mental pictures, instead of trying to address the subtler ways in which music interacts with other media.

Giving a New Tune to Grammar

by Hélène Bilis, French
I discovered that music was a way of drumming (so to speak) grammar into students while teaching them about the rich diversity of contemporary French culture and some of the concomitant issues usually completely absent from grammar books. But, most importantly, teaching grammar through contemporary music dramatically changed the atmosphere in the classroom.

Teaching Roman Monuments

by Kimberly Cassibry, History of Art
I wanted my students to recognize the urban impact of such monuments as the Colosseum and Trajan’s Column, and to do that, I had to help them imagine the way Rome looked before these structures existed.