Quarterly Newsletter from LACOL
Volume 5, Issue 1
Winter 2020

Founded in 2014, the Liberal Arts Collaborative for Digital Innovation is a partnership of Amherst College, Bryn Mawr College, Carleton College, Davidson College, Hamilton College, Haverford College, Swarthmore College, Vassar College, Washington and Lee University, and Williams College. Read about our mission.

In This Issue:
  ▣ LACOL 2020 Consortium-wide Workshop: REGISTRATION OPEN! 
  ▣ LACOL funding opportunities: Call for Proposals
  ▣ QLAB: Project update from the Core Team
  ▣ Digitally Shared Courses: 2020 LACOL Offerings
  ▣ Digital Agility: New post on EDUCAUSEreview
  ▣ On the blog: Blended Learning Conference at Bryn Mawr College
  ▣ On the blog: Video Creation and the Science of Learning 
LACOL2020 at Williams College
Consortium-wide workshop, June 24-26  

Registration is open for the LACOL 2020 Consortium-wide Workshop, June 24-26 on the campus of Williams College. This summer's program gets right to the heart of LACOL's mission - exploring collaborative and digitally-enhanced teaching and learning for the liberal arts, with a focus on effective use of technology.  

Event Page:
June Program: LACOL 2020 Workshop Agenda
Registration: Sign Up Here 

Featured Sessions:
Keynote from Matthew Rascoff, Duke University
▣ LACOL Leaders Panel on Strategic Priorities
Hands-on Teaching workshop with Prof. James Lang
▣ QLAB project intensive (see below)
▣ Oodles of brainstorming on digital collaboration for the Liberal Arts

Come one, come all! Approximately once a year in summer, teams of faculty, librarians, technologists, designers and academic support colleagues gather together for a collaborative, consortium-wide meeting. The 2020 June gathering at Williams is the best way to learn what LACOL is up to and share your ideas. (If you're really planning ahead, mark your calendars for LACOL 2021 at Hamilton College too!)
Click to Register for LACOL 2020
~ Call to Faculty ~

Do you have an idea for
digital collaboration ?

Start Up Funds Are Available !

The Liberal Arts Collaborative for Digital Innovation (LACOL) invites proposals from its members for small grants to fund creative collaborations in line with our mission. Proposals are welcomed and reviewed on a rolling basis.  Areas of particular interest include:
  • Digitally Shared Courses
  • Effective Digital and Inclusive Pedagogies
  • Data Science / Quantitative Skills
  • Language Instruction
Contact your local LACOL Faculty Advisory Council Representative for more information and how to apply, or visit:
online modules for QS/QR

As part of the NSF-funded LACOL QLAB project, faculty were invited to fill out a survey to help identify the most pressing needs for quantitative skills (QS) support in introductory science and social science classes, and what approaches faculty were already using. We had 220 faculty across the 10 schools respond. Thank you to everyone who participated! 

Module topics:

Based on the survey responses, the QLAB project has identified three topical areas for the first round of module development:

  • understanding linear functions
  • understanding logs and exponents
  • understanding descriptive statistics
Because graphs and tables were also identified as a high priority topic for support, we will try to include a focus on the connections between data, underlying math concepts, and graphical representations in each of the three modules.  

Activities to date and next steps:

During November and December, 79 faculty and staff members at Carleton, Davidson, and Williams participated in conversations and workshops to help define the scope and structure of the modules, provide examples of how these skills are relevant in their disciplines, and discuss pedagogical approaches to incorporating these online modules in face-to-face instructional settings.  

Although the prototypes were built in Moodle, that platform did not work well for LACOL institutions that do not use Moodle as their LMS. Therefore, we have decided to explore other software platforms in which to build the modules. This has delayed our timeline, but we think that ultimately it will provide a much better outcome. Rather than asking faculty to test the modules this spring, we will be looking for faculty willing to use modules with their courses in Fall 2020.

Ways to get involved:

We continue to seek input from you about how we can design modules that will be useful in the courses you teach that expect familiarity with quantitative skills. Here are three ways that you can continue to contribute to the conversations: 

  • Engage in conversations with faculty across the LACOL consortium in your discipline about the types of application questions that might be relevant for discipline. 

  • Review the revised modules and provide feedback or additional content.    

  • Participate in the LACOL consortium-wide workshop @ Williams College from June 24-26. In particular, QLAB will have an intensive one-day program focused on connecting colleagues across the consortium around discussion of these modules and how faculty might use them on Thursday, June 25th. 

If any of these opportunities interest you, or if you simply want to get project updates, please fill out this form so that we can target our communications appropriately.
LACOL Shared Course Initiative
2020 Lineup tests new models
TWENTY-NINETEEN was a big year for the LACOL Shared Course Initiative. Multi-campus teams conducted several novel experiments to share blended/hybrid classes in Portuguese, Operations Research, Bayesian Statistics, and a fully online summer course, Introduction to Data Science.

IN TWENTY-TWENTY, the pace of exploration continues. In the spring term, further collaborations in mathematics and statistics include Linear Programming and Advanced Statistics. This summer, Introduction to Data Science will be offered again - more on that below. In Fall 2020, two professors will collaborate on a digital link-up between Intermediate German courses.  

Do you have an idea for a digitally-shared liberal arts course that might capture the imagination of students across our campuses? Check out LACOL's Call for Proposals.

In summer 2020, LACOL's team-taught Introduction to Data Science class is being offered anew as a fully online, immersive course for our undergraduates. Working alongside the professors, the team includes an awesome mix of staff experts, student teaching assistants and a student developer. Many lessons learned from last summer's online class are being applied to enhance our data science learning community in 2020. 
New Publication
Digital Agility in the Liberal Arts

Digital Agility: Embracing a Holistic Approach to Digital Literacy in the Liberal Arts by Beth Bohstedt and Sundi Richard (Jan 8, 2020) EDUCAUSEreviewTransforming Higher Ed

Last spring, instructional designer Sundi Richard (Assistant Director for Digital Learning, Davidson College) convened a new LACOL working group on Digital Competencies. The group's regular discussions drew on a range of perspectives and initiatives unfolding at Carleton College, Denison University, Hamilton College, Vassar College, Washington and Lee University, and Williams College. Inspiration also came from the ground-breaking Digital Competencies Framework developed by Bryn Mawr College and shared at the 2018 LACOL Think Tank.
Reflecting the group's thinking thus far, the new EDUCAUSEreview article examines the meaning of digital agility in the liberal arts and ways to encourage the use of that definition to guide institutional initiatives.

Working Group Info:
On the blog ... 
9th annual      
Blended Learning      
in the Liberal Arts      
at Bryn Mawr College      

CALL FOR PAPERS           
Submit by February 16, 2019 .  .          
Video Creation and the Science of Learning

Dann Hurlbert, Carleton College’s Media & Design Specialist, shares three new video guides, drawing on the popular textbook e-Learning and the Science of Instruction by Clark & Mayer. Visit the Carleton College Academic Technology Blog for more tips from Dann and the AT team.

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