Page 28 - Campus Technology, January/February 2018
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by teaching and learning activity; b) transparency of data models created through our data (rather than being propri- etary); and c) data and integration standards (such as those shepherded by the IMS Global Learning Consortium).
2) Immersive Learning
Anu Vedantham: Last January, I indulged my curiosity about virtual reality and gamification with a workshop at Harvard organized by Alex Zahlten and presented by Johanna Pirker. It was a joy to spend two days learning the basics of programs such as Unity and PhotoScan. Touching the software hands-on was essential for me to understand why this technology is powerful and how it can be used for more than just first-person-shooter games. Later in the year, for HUBweek, our Cabot Science Library hosted presentations on the Giza Project and the Archaeology of Harvard Yard. My appreciation for the educational potential for VR technologies was deepened after exploring the work of Nicole Mills, who is using VR to capture the feel of different Parisian neighborhoods.
One challenge of this technology is how fast it is moving. Another is that it crosses conceptual boundaries. Is it like watching a movie? Is it like playing a game? Is it like wan- dering an online landscape without constraint or direction? It has all of these components, which makes it harder to integrate into an educational experience. I’m also interested
in how we are exploring other senses — touch, smell and taste — in the context of virtual reality.
3) Digital Course Materials
and Assignments
Vedantham: YouTube began in February 2005, and 12 years later, Wikipedia reports 1 billion hours of content watched on the platform each day. The sheer volume of educational video creates challenges for faculty in creating new content, as well as finding and reusing content. During the busy academic semesters, faculty do not have time to watch, curate and clip videos! The cognitive overload of video use can be significant, leading us to look for specialized collections such as Ted Talks and Khan Academy. Harvard’s DART initiative is one recent effort to try to help faculty and instructional designers make full use of open access assets created for edX MOOCs.
As we increase dependence on instructional videos, we also need to focus on issues of accessibility for people with a range of needs. I have benefited from the annual Disability
Symposium at the University of Pennsylvania for its ability to bring campus together to discuss such issues.
I can skim text material fast to decide if it is worth includ- ing in my course. I need a similar tool to assess video con- tent quickly and reliably. Video has emotional and cultural connotations that can be hard for me to predict or control without taking time to watch and digest the content and identify what to include and what to edit out. We need to develop new metaphors for how to work with video content in education in ways similar to the established practices of quotes, paraphrases and adaptations of text content. Our ability to abstract out of specific tools (What do YellowDig, Canvas and Piazza have in common?) and to develop path- ways from simple to more complex tools will be needed to maintain momentum.
Goodrum: Digital education is generating new learning opportunities as students engage in online, digital environ- ments and as faculty change educational practices through the use of hybrid courses, personalized instruction, new collaboration models and a wide array of innovative, engag-
“We need to develop new metaphors for how to work with video content in education in ways similar to the established practices of quotes, paraphrases and adaptations of text content.”
— Anu Vedantham
CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | January/February 2018

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