Tracking my grant progress
- Finished work on my video summarizing my work in this grant.
- My His 112 course finished its eight-week session at the end of March. According to my rough records, success in the course, with the new assignments and videos) jumped to about 77%. This compares to the usual figure of roughly 65%.
- Finished up with the MOOC entitled The History and Future of Higher Education. Not sure that I really learned anything there, but it did reinforce my understanding that it is not clear how useful MOOCs will be in higher ed. Also, finished up a MOOC devoted to the music of the Beatles.
- There was something else that I worked on this month, but I can't remember exactly.
- My His 112 is live online with the new videos and some new assignments.
- Enrolled in a MOOC entitled The History and Future of Higher Education. Some things that interest me is the use of Ipods, smartphones and experiences of putting learners in charge of the learning experience (to an extent).
- Finished my last videos for HIS 112. That makes 32 short videos (3 to 10 minutes) that are easily viewable on any handheld device and that deal with short, focused topic.
- Met with my consultants (Michael Krimmer, Julia Turner and Robert Brown) on my projects
- Still need to make an overview video summing up my Chancellor's project
- Would like to develop a GIS example, but the learning curve is pretty steep. I've come across a few different map-type assignments that I can try and develop, but nothing that is full-blooded GIS
- Tinkered with Google charts and found that they are pretty easily developed and customized. Here is a quick example of something that I put together.
- Finished a MOOC on History of Rock, Part 2 (University of Rochester). The course had an optional book, some very well-done videos and some multiple-choice quizzes.
- Added in some new student submissions for the Historical Memory Project database. There are now 61 entries in the project.
- Added in some new student submissions for the Northern Virginia Digital History Archive project database. There are now 755 items in the database.
- Updated my comments on Smartphones, Ipads, MOOCs and Flipping.
- My channel on Youtube now has about 25 videos. Just a few more to finish.
- Finished a MOOC on History of Rock, Part 1 (University of Rochester), and a MOOC on the Kennedy Half Century (University of Virginia) and started on the History of Rock Part 2. I think that this will help me a lot with figuring out how to use videos and APPs
- Training workshop of QM Rubric--basically a checklist to make sure that an online course is set up properly
- Through October and November, and into December, I will be focused on creating online videos that will work with my flipped class. If I am lucky, I can do 3 a week. Have done about 8 or 10 already.
- Trying to figure out the best (and easiest) way to make some videos. The college's lecture capture system is really not an option.
- Started another MOOC on History of Rock, Part 1. Seems to me that these MOOCs give the wrong impression of what "college-level" learning might be (just watch some videos and take some easy quizzes)
- Historical Translation Assignment video finished
- And some thoughts on iPads. With their limited ability to work with text, I have become very suspicious of the ipad's utility in higher education other than a portable TV to watch video.
- finished video on the seventeenth century
- Worked a lot on figuring out how to redo my online HIS 112 course with videos and new assignments. I will focus on this instead of flipping a classroom course since I teach mostly online these days.
- Lot of news recently about the MOOC bandwagon. Are these "courses" being over-hyped? See my comments here.
- Video time
- Did further work on finalizing the schedule for my "flipped" HIS 102 course.
- Completed my MOOC on Maps and the Geospatial Revolution (Coursera) with a final map project dealing with mining and groundwater issues in Pennsylvania (I hope the link works, but there are no guarantees.) Learned a lot of how a MOOC is set up and run; it depends a lot on online discussions, and when you have hundreds or thousands of students in a course, managing discussions can be problematic.
- Finished my new translation assignment (but still have to do the video)
- Did the video for my new historical transcription assignment.
- Start of the school year with meetings, scheduling issues and classes.
- It's already July!
- Taking my first MOOC course on GIS and the Spatial Revolution (a new unit of the five-week course appears every Tuesday
- Finished two videos for the Simple St. Petersburg Map assignment and the Harder St. Petersburg Map assignment!
- Continue to monitor literature online that is appearing about MOOCs, smartphones and flipping a course
- I've started laying out the assignments and videos that I will need to "flip" HIS 102. It gets a bit complicated trying to figure out what to talk about in the videos. I'll have one topic video per unit and then also a video focusing on the specific assignment for the unit.
- Ok, I've got it all planned out, and have about three videos already done. I'll do some videos as screen capture and then some videos using my flip camera "on location." I've got pretty good ideas for most of the videos. Just need to find the time and energy to do the videos and then process them.
- Still working with my new summer adjuncts, getting my new fall adjuncts processed, and finishing up the schedules for next spring. What a mess!
- Signed up for a digital curation discussion/meeting in July. Should be interesting.
- I've got to finish out my spring classes, get Blackboard ready for all of our online summer courses (29 sections), and then upload website changes for the summer. And guess what just appeared in the email inbox, a request to work on the spring 2014 history schedule (for campus and online).
- Will work on a new short Youtube video on encouraging students to ask questions in the online courses. I've got notes jotted down all over my desk of some other ideas for assignments that I hope to get to, including use of the US census data.
- Well, April went pretty fast. I was forced to throw a lot of my time and effort into the hiring of new adjuncts to teach on campus this summer because of the sudden announcement of new limits on adjunct teaching loads. This new limitation has been further complicated bu changing definition of workloads and teaching credits. This is of particular concern for the adjuncts who teach online, combining low enrollment sections of courses may not be possible in the future. I've had to hire at least three new adjuncts for the summer, and then there are four new adjuncts for the fall. The paperwork is unbelievable, and the hiring process takes forever. Then I've got to meet with the new adjuncts, get them books (another pain), and answer all their questions.
- Will continue working on my new assignments and doing some videos
- I am still in the process of working on these assignments: Historical Transcription, GIS, Word Cloud assignment.
- I have tweaked some of my new assignments: Timeline (new notes and directions) and Online Exhibit (could use some video remarks).
- Finished my Reston Historical Map Assignment. Took a while before I got around to doing the video.
- Will continue working on my new assignments and doing some videos
- Finished my De-Industrialization assignment. Took a long time to gather information and write up the notes for the assignment. Also finished the video to accompany the assignment.
- Finished my Tolstoi paper assignment and notes for my HIS 241 course.
- Added further materials to the Historical Memory database and to the Northern Virginia Digital History Archive (the March snowstorms)
- Just an interesting aside. Set up a quick survey on Survey Monkey yo see where students are purchasing their textbooks, and most are not buying new books anymore (not surprising). Renting books has become a very popular option for students.
- Took me about a week to figure out settings to do short course videos, but now I will get started on recording more of them.
- Slowly working on a series of new assignments: a new map assignment using my 1897 map of St. Petersburg, Russia, an aerial photo interpretation assignment based on Reston, Virginia in 1973, a de-industrialization paper, and an online GIS project most likely with census data)
- Have decided to record some videos for HIS 102 so that I can "flip" the course. That means that I have to figure out exactly the kind of settings that will work on my Mac to record video and screenshots.
- The MOOC stuff continues to hit the headlines. Amazing how few people really understand anything about higher education in this country
- Going to "flip" my HIS 102 course. That means figuring out some videos to create and use.
- College and VCCS decided to impose new limits on adjunct instructors based on teaching credits (8 in the summer and 10 in the fall). Suddenly, I am ending up having to deal with hiring six new adjuncts for the summer and fall and tinkering with the schedule.
- I now have separate sections on this project site that list materials: Flipping a Course, Ipads and Teaching, MOOCs and Teaching, Smartphones and Teaching, Reflections on Students and Digital Technology
- Students have so many different devices these days (Iphone, Android phone, no phone, I-pad, I tablet, e-reader, tablet, PC laptop, Mac laptop, etc) that it is kind of difficult to design something that works in every case.
- I will be looking more closely at GIS this spring to see if there is something that I can develop into my course.
- My pronunciation of Russian names and terms website took me a lot longer to create than expected. While html 5 does simplify some things, there remains browser issues, i.e., items display and work differently in different browsers and on different devices--I just mentioned that above. The page still does not work on IE9.
- I am almost done with the creation of an online exhibit assignment and have asked for some student volunteers to try it out. I've seen three drafts from students so far, and each student has vastly under-appreciated how much work is involved. They did not seem to grasp the important point that there work will be public.
- Working to round up support from within NVCC, the VCCS and other colleges in Virginia for my HIS 295 course, Introduction to Digital History.
- Been trying to find some more documentation from users of Ipads.
- Did a reflection on my progress to date. There is just so much appearing in the digital world these days, it is hard to figure out the wheat from the chaff.
- Started work on two new assignments: online exhibit creation and industrial ruins reflection
- An awful lot of time spent creating a schedule for our history course offerings for the fall (both on campus and online)--you would think that technology would simplify such a task, but it has instead made it more difficult. At the same time I am also working on a proposal to get my Introduction to Digital History course officially included in the curriculum.
- I was also able to get a blog set up to support the Humanities Division of our campus. I've been able to post on a number of topics there, including online v print reading for students.
- I am also developing a website devoted to the pronunciation of Russian names and terms.
Focus for Spring 2013 Activities
- census materials
- data visualization
- GIS and Google Earth
- Project Dissemination
- wiki on Russian Emigration using PM wiki as a test case
- devise an assignment using Europeana
Summary of Fall 2012 Activities and Original Proposal
- from proposal, work on the historical memory collection (Omeka database tool). I was able to get this designed and finally online in a condition that I was satisfied with. I was able to add some papers to the database (there re 25 there now) from my HIS 102 and HIS 135 courses. I have added this option to my online HIS 102, 112, and 135 courses for the spring, so I should be able to get more papers added. When I get a larger working amount, I will revisit the assignment to see if I can add more depth
- from proposal, determine how students will work with Northern Virginia historical materials (possible Omeka database). Right now I have limited myself to students adding photos to my Northern Virginia Digital Archive. It took a while to get this archive straightened out, and I have added an option to my online HIS 102, 112, and 135 courses for students to submit photos. After the Hurricane Sandy storm, I sought contributions from a wider range of courses to document the impact of the storm on Northern Virginia. I need to do more with this.
- the development of my Intro to digital History course has led me to add the timeline assignment in my courses.
- work on the historical memory collection (Omeka database tool); determine how students will work with Northern Virginia historical materials (possible Omeka database); assistance of Ms. Amy Bertsch to evaluate sources for materials to be digitized. Work with census
- Adding some more papers to my Memory database. I now have about 25 papers in the database. Some are very interesting, and some could have been even more interesting.
- Here's a list of just some recent MOOC announcements, articles and news items that my colleague Julia Turner has put together:
- Completed the last set of videos and notes my HIS 295, Intro to Digital History course. Several of the assignments that I developed for that course, e.g., online timeline, will be used in my other courses.
- Adding some more papers to my Memory database.
- Student reaction to the timeline assignment is favorable. They did some pretty good work, and I will post some examples on the assignment page.
- What about "flipping" a course with in class project work and out of class background reading and viewing?
- There is just so much other work that I have with preps and work on the ELI courses and with campus adjuncts, that 1 credit reassigned time really just gets lost in the shuffle. Also working on some dual enrollment courses with local high school teachers.
- Will build a data visualization (group project option using Wiggio) into my online HIS 112 and HIS 135 courses to see how students are able to work with some online data visualization apps. I'd like to get some volunteers to try this in the spring semester. I don't think that it is a very hard assignment from a technology perspective.
- Lot of discussion these days about MOOCs. I am suspicious. Sounds like big university lecture halls again.
- Videos for my HIS 295, Intro to Digital History course, are almost done.
- Had to move all of my Omeka projects to my own virtual personal server (VPS) to get around the security roadblock that I mentioned earlier. That took a lot of my time to trouble shoot problems and figure out a new set up.
- Have one student in my HIS 295, Intro to Digital History course. Been working out my notes for the course as we work through the course, and I am also adding some screen capture video movies for each unit of the course. Some of the quality is not the highest, but it is good practice working with video.
- Added a separate page on Ipads and teaching (to complement the one that I already have on Smartphones and teaching). I think that they are two different critters.
- Well, clear cut evidence that smartphone use in the classroom is not that easy. The problem lies in the fact that there are two different kinds of smartphones, Iphones and Androids (and anything else), and they do not work the same. It is very hard to instruct a class what to do since instructions depend on the type of phone. For example, wanted students to watch something on ItunesU. Half the class could figure out how to do it; half couldn't. We had a similar (but less so) problem with watching something on Youtube. Don't think that this problem is going to go away soon.
- Well, I have now realized that there is a second possible problem with using smartphones in a class, and that is the current trend towards data limits on many mobile phone plans. Now I know that many smartphones can operate on wifi and that kind of takes care of the problem, but it remains a problem right now. Not sure that it is going to disappear.
- Courses have started and I have adopted some new kinds of assignments for my campus HIS 102 courses.
- One of my adjuncts came up with the idea of having different "tracks" for students in a course, for example, a discussion track or a writing track or a multimedia track.
- Been coming across some different kinds of online GIS projects. Mike Krimmer has offered to put together some kind of projects for me, but I have yet to figure out exactly what to do.
- mapstory.org looks like an interesting tools. There was also the spatial humanities website. There is also neatline, designed to be a plugin with Omeka (see the Scholar's lab description)
- Investigating fluid grid layout (an HTML 5.0 concept being implemented in Adobe's Dreamweaver CS6)--the coding of a web pages will sense the type of device displaying a web page and automatically adapt the page for optimum viewing on the specific device.
- Problem with the hosting of my Omeka online projects (PHP exec () function disabled for security concerns, which means Omeka will not run properly. I'm going to have to figure out a work around or move things. Pain.
- Webinar on Ipad Uses in the Classroom, Amy Campbell of Duke University covered some examples of use cases. The cases were kind of interesting, depending on the kinds of apps used, but what was more interesting was that on our campus 4 faculty and 1 staff attended out of 110 full-time faculty, 100 or so full-time staff, and probably 400 adjuncts. It is not that hard to figure out a way to use an Ipad in a course; what is difficult is to match up the content with the app.
- What about interaction when we use an etext? (Already using etexts in elementary school!)
Summary of Summer 2012 Activities and Original Proposal
- from proposal, I will gather a team of experts to think over the appropriate technology approaches that I might be able to investigate and apply. I was able to meet with all of the team to discuss different aspects of my proposal.
- I was also able to work on my different digital archives and set up my courses for the fall, HIS 102 and HIS 295, that will include some new kinds of digital assignments.
- Dealt with the bureaucracy of my grant paperwork!
- Working on revising my campus HIS 102 for the fall. I will be introducing some new assignments instead of the heavy reliance on just the written assignments as in the past. This is part of my Chancellor's proposal.
- Created a specific page with instructions for contributing items to the Northern Virginia Digital History Archive (before I used to send out new directions via email each semester).
- Lot of work coming up with directions for a simple translation exercise for students so that they can understand one of the important tasks (and difficulties) of a historian--translation.
- I think that I am done with revisions to my campus HIS 102. I removed a bunch of my traditional writing assignments, but left enough in so that there is still a significant amount of writing required, and added in a variety of different kinds of assignments, such as the timeline assignment. Many of the newer kinds of assignments will be used as in-class group assignments, so that I can help work with the groups.
- I have finished writing up my assignments for my HIS 295 course (and added a lot of images)--I just think that if you are going to use the web as a medium of information interchange, then you had better have visuals. I still need to work on the weekly notes that go with the schedule.
- Also, I am pretty much done with the design of my Memory and History database (looks much better now). I'll go back in a few days to see if there is anything more that I want to supplement. I added a picture of the Somme battlefield, and then some links to memoirs of soldiers who fought in the battle. I think that is a good way of connecting to the purpose of the database of family memories. I have sent out information about the project to all of the adjuncts who teach online and on campus HIS 102 and 112 courses.
- It is very difficult to get anything done in August with the slate of back-to-school meetings, getting BB course sections ready, monitoring course enrollments, doing keep/cancels, working with adjuncts, getting my own courses ready, etc.
- I've also encountered a hurdle in moving many of my course materials from a Microsoft NT server (where file names are not case-sensitive) to an Apache server (Unix files are case sensitive). That makes for a lot of html coding to double-check and fix.
- Discovered some great online archival materials on Stalin and Andrei Sakharov. Stuff keeps popping up online all over the place; the problem is the reflective time to figure out how to use it all. (I forgot to note down the URLs!)
- Sites coded for the web do not always display correctly on an Ipad or a Smartphone.
- Students are uploading photos of storm damage to the Northern Virginia Digital History Archive. They do not seem to be having any problems. This is a good way to get them to understand about how quickly history becomes history and the task of preserving that history.
- Jean-Baptiste Michel: The mathematics of history
- Installed the Omeka software to support my database project at Memory.ctevans.net/.
- Installed plugins for the Omeka software
- Met with Andrea Odiorne about designing the Omeka site and also about ideas about customizing functionality of the software.
- Digitized, formatted and added 13 sample personal family histories to the Memory.ctevans.net/ site. I now have to get cracking on redesigning the site so that it looks ok. That involves a lot of work with CSS styles (it can be pretty labor intensive for me since I am not very proficient with CSS).
- Look at the web-based projects done by high school students for National History Day. Seems that more of that should be included in our courses now, especially since there are so many ways to put content online now.
- 19 July in Richmond met VCCS Chancellor and chair of the board of visitors for a photo op. Here is the shot of all of us together with the chancellor and board.
- Spent almost an entire day working on a logo image for my Memory website; still not really happy with it. Also set up some other settings for the site.
- Look at these international conferences devoted to the idea of digital memory: The Memory of the World in the Digital age: Digitization and Preservation (Vancouver, 2012) and Digital Memories (Lisbon, 2013). There are some interesting ideas and concepts on the discussion lists for those conferences. This is exactly what I am partly trying to do with my project.
- Spent a bunch of hours just trying to fix the footer on my database home page. Usually I use both my Mac and PC when doing design work, but since my PC was tied up doing some heavy OCR work with Adobe Acrobat, that really slowed me down. Still finished a lot of design work
- worked to sharpen the wording of some of my assignments for my HIS 295 course (Introduction to Digital History). I am going to use some of these assignments, for example the digital timeline creation, in my HIS 102 course, which I am revising for this project. I still need to work on the accompanying notes for each of those assignments; that is going to take some time.
- still designing my database; I have also added to the project description. I discovered since there are no real images associated with the database (all text documents) that I am going to have to be more creative with visuals. I am also adding short descriptions of each of the papers that are currently in the database.
- I created the MySQL database and set up a sub-domain for my Omeka-based historical memory project, Memory.ctevans.net/.
- I have been working with directions of using an online Timeline exercise in my courses. I worked on this first as part of my HIS 295 course, Introduction to Digital History. Once I have it set up there, it will be easy to use in my other history courses.
- Conference call with other grant recipients
- first draft of ideas for my HIS 102 course
- began looking at ideas, articles, posts on smartphones and teaching. My suspicion is that the Ipad and tablets hold more promise in the classroom with regard to content, but that the smartphone holds the edge for communication. It is also pretty good for video delivery of content.
After notification of the grant award, I got started.
- the first thing that I did was notify my colleagues with whom I will be consulting on different sub-projects within my overall project.
- I then went back through my grant proposal to reacquaint myself with what I am supposed to be doing--you'd be surprised how quick you can forget things.
- some serious brainstorming we off an on (I think that will be occurring throughout the terms of my grant)
- I contacted our college's budget office for a budget code to be able to charge and track expenses. This can be a problem with even the tiniest amounts of grant funding.
- Went back through my notes from my HIS 295 course (Introduction to Digital History), because I had jotted down a lot of tools, apps and websites when I last taught the course. (I'm also working on redesigning that right now.)
- put together this website so that I can use it to disseminate information.
- my next step is to prioritize and decide what I am going to work on first.
- created a pdf of the current version of my campus HIS 102 course (it is difficult to track changes to web-based materials.) so that I will be able to show overall changes.