Carrie and I recently traveled to the University of Pittsburgh to attend the semi-annual Learning Technology Consortium meeting. This is a great group of learning technologies professionals from ten institutions, including Duke, Florida, Notre Dame, Penn State, Maryland, UCF, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Pitt, and UGA. Our meetings include updates from each institution, as well as special presentations and campus tours from the host institution. We thought we might share a few items from the meeting that we found interesting.
First, did you know that the signature building at Pitt is the Cathedral of Learning? It completely lives up to its name, with its 40 stories, Late Gothic Revival architecture, and stained glass windows. The first floor has plenty of soft seating as well as fireplaces that are often lit in the chilling winter months to keep students cozy as they study. On the top floor is the Babcock Room, which is used for special events, including our LTC meeting. The views were amazing, but somehow, we were able to focus on the meeting topics!
Penn State is the newest member of the LTC, and you might be interested in a couple of UGA initiatives that were inspired by projects at Penn State. The first is the One-Button Studio. The College of Family and Consumer Sciences received a Learning Technologies Grant to build a One-Button Studio in Dawson Hall, and two more studios are in planning stages around campus.
Another project inspired by Penn State is CTL’s own Learning Glass. This is a tool that is used in video production and allows faculty to share written content, just as if they were using a whiteboard or chalkboard in the classroom. In the photo, UGA Professor Robert Nielsen is using the Learning Glass to record a video for his Summer 2016 online course, FHCE 3150E: Consumer Decision Making. If this technology looks interesting to you, contact CTL’s Media and Production Services team for a demo!
A Pitt faculty member shared his research on the benefits of peer review, as well as a software product he created called Peerceptiv (formerly known as SWoRD). Dr. Christian Schunn and his colleagues have found that students who review their peer’s work write better themselves. They have also found that multiple peer reviews result in better feedback than feedback from a single instructor. We plan to organize a demo with Peerceptiv in the near future.
One last initiative I want to share is The Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education, and Research (WISER). WISER, a partnership between the University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, offers training and simulations for students and practitioners in a number of medical fields. They coordinate both online and on premise training, which takes place in their state of the art simulation center. Touring the facilities made me see how easy it would be to suspend disbelief during training. Very impressive!