Columbia iTunesU Private Store Front Closed

Apple decided to sunset the private iTunes U sites which Columbia used to distribute content internally, usually protected using a UNI and a course affiliation.

Apple's statement: "As institutions have focused more on contributing content to the public catalog and building public and private courses with the iTunes U app on iPad or using Course Manager, fewer and fewer institutions are using the original iTunes U private sites for distributing their content internally. As a result, Apple will be discontinuing legacy iTunes U private sites on September 1, 2015." All content has been removed from the platform.

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In Conversation: Blended Learning in the Biomedical Engineering Classroom with Dr. Katherine E. Reuther

Biomedical Engineering (BME) is a field that requires the rigorous application of engineering principles and cutting-edge design concepts to the ever-changing worlds of science and medicine. Students who are enrolled in a BME program today will be expected to solve the problems of tomorrow. That type of problem-solving expertise demands students be agile, collaborative, and interdisciplinary; able to think fast, communicate well, and work with, and across, myriad fields. It is a demanding discipline, and it requires a rethinking of conventional classroom teaching methods. The question is, “what should that new classroom look like?”

After winning an award from the Provost’s Office in the spring of 2015, Dr. Katherine E. Reuther, a lecturer in the department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia, asked that question, and decided to redesign her graduate level BME course to adhere to the current demands of a dynamic and multidisciplinary field.

The results were remarkable.


Dr. Katherine E. Reuther
Biomedical Engineering

We interviewed Katherine at the start of the spring semester, as she began the implementation of her course. We now return to our conversation to see how everything turned out.

Katherine, you designed your course to meet specific goals for your students. Could you talk about those goals? What did you want your students to be able to do by the end of the semester?
The overall goal of the course was for students to obtain real-world training in biomedical design. More specifically, the course objectives for the students were to: 1) design a novel medical device 2) demonstrate knowledge of all aspects of product design, including problem definition, idea generation, prototyping, regulatory and intellectual property issues, and commercialization potential and business opportunity for a medical device 3) develop communication skills and 4) develop teamwork skills.

There were several different parts to your redesign; what was the most challenging aspect for you? What do you think was most challenging for your students?
While implementation of the course went rather smoothly, the most challenging aspects included dealing with some technical difficulties when preparing and sharing the video lectures and keeping pace to prepare the lectures well in advance such that the students were able to view the material prior to the class period. Similarly, the most challenging aspect for the students was keeping pace with the material, as a lot was expected of them in one semester.

What surprised you most about your course redesign?
I was most surprised about how well the course was received by the students. While most students have not participated in a “flipped classroom”, they were very open and enthusiastic about the new approach and were dedicated to making classroom time useful and productive.

The lecture videos that you created and assigned BEFORE class freed up time DURING class. What were you able to do differently during class?
In-class time was spent on a variety of collaborative learning experiences including workshops, group exercises, case studies, design review meetings, and presentations. I also invited into the classroom experts (from industry, start-ups, and business) to share their first-hand experiences and insights from the field and also to meet individually with student teams to consult with them on their projects.

Your students did a lot of group work, how did that go?
The students really embraced the opportunity to work with their groups in-class while receiving real-time feedback from the instructor, teaching assistants, and/or visiting experts. As the class evolved, the students were also able to interact with and provide feedback to the other groups in the class. This additional feedback with their classmates really engaged the entire classroom and forced the students to think critically about the material which significantly enhanced the learning environment.

What will you do differently next time?
Since the course was extremely fast-paced, I would like to consider extending it to two semesters.

Do you think that your new course design can be implemented across your whole department?
I think that the course design for this project-based biomedical design course was highly effective. However, every course is different and this model may not work for all courses. I do believe that the use of active learning strategies and group discussions are extremely valuable and could significantly enhance the learning environment in many courses.

Do you have any advice for teachers thinking of blending their classes?
If you choose to blend your course, I think it is critical to set expectations from the beginning for students and provide them information in an organized fashion. You can expect that it will be a lot of work on the front end but I do believe it is time well spent in the long run.


Katherine and CCNMTL intend to take all of the lessons learned in Spring 2015 and apply them to the construction of a new course for the upcoming fall. Blended Learning, like Biomedical design, is an iterative process; improvements and innovations become the byproducts of focused effort.

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Tracing Jewish Books Through Time and Place


De bello Judaico by Flavius Josephus.

Since the dawn of history, the written word has served to define us as a species and to provide us with a vessel to pass down insights through generations. Each individual written work—from scroll, to manuscript, to codex—represents a moment in time and space when an idea was conceived and documented. These works were sometimes shared with a chosen few, or distributed widely across regions or continents, instilling every copy of a given publication with its own history, and journey, to share. This is the essence of the Footprints project—an exploration of Jewish books through time and place.

Footprints is a collaboration among Dr. Marjorie Lehman, associate professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS); Michelle Chesner, Jewish Studies Librarian at Columbia University; Dr. Adam Shear, associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh; Dr. Joshua Teplitsky, assistant professor at Stony Brook University; and the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL). The product of this collaboration is a new website designed to trace the movements of early modern Jewish books by way of analyzing evidence of provenance from around the world. CCNMTL designed and developed a pilot database, administrative interface, and front-end browsing interface for the Footprints website, in partnership with the research team.

The process for creating a complex, dynamic website such as Footprints was challenging on multiple levels—technical, academic, and philosophical. Many of these challenges were faced simultaneously in order to design a usable, aesthetically pleasing interface that meets academic standards and has robust metadata within a fixed timetable. Limited time and resources forced us to prioritize addressing these challenges, leaving some for a later iteration. Other challenges were more practical in nature, such as the sheer magnitude of entering data into the system; or pedagogical, an evolving element of how best to incorporate this project into the classroom.

Our most complicated challenges were grounded in library science—capturing the most complete and accurate metadata possible given highly fragmentary sources. One such hurdle was in dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty, particularly in defining dates and places, a problem that has been faced by other projects with similar characteristics. Our research turned up several methodologies to account for uncertainty, but we needed a method that could later be visualized on a timeline, which resulted in adoption of the Library of Congress Extended Date Time Format.

Throughout this process we’ve received invaluable feedback from students, researchers, and librarians that has allowed us to quickly adapt and iterate to find solutions for these challenges. Early in the development, the team conducted a “research-a-thon” designed to bring in scholars, librarians, and other interested parties to talk about the project and enter in sample data. The feedback gleaned from that session, and subsequent attempts at entering data by the researchers, provided great insight into the complexity of our data model and user interface.

During the spring semester, we piloted the site with two classes, one at JTS and one at the University of Pittsburgh. The student feedback we received gave us an essential look at how the site can be used in a classroom, suggesting design modifications needed to facilitate effective learning exercises for undergraduates.

The ongoing renaissance for tracing the history of books, particularly as more books are digitized, emphasizes the study of books-as-objects as an integral part of the humanities. Jewish books in particular have a fascinating history that tells an important story about the spread of knowledge and faith in the diaspora, in societies that often persecuted it’s practitioners. Keeping in mind our goal of telling the stories of Jewish books, we continue to explore how the Footprints project can further our understanding of the cultural and religious significance these books represent.

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In Conversation: Curating Medieval Manuscript Exhibits in the Digital Age with Professor Susan Boynton

Medieval manuscripts, oftentimes secured tightly in library preserves, are being digitized and scholarly research—from Professor Susan Boynton's historical musicology students—is being brightly lit up with images, audio, and digital analysis at thanks to a Hybrid Learning Award from Columbia University's Office of the Provost. The media is available to the web-connected world thanks to the students' digital exhibits.


Professor Boynton's Historical Musicology class touring The Cloisters.

Professor Boynton of the Music Department won a Hybrid Learning Award for her graduate seminar, Historical Musicology in the Medieval Ages. The course is centered around 14th-century medieval manuscripts with a particular focus on Western Manuscript 097 which is held in Columbia University's Rare Books and Manuscripts Library (RBML). Hybrid Learning funds were used for curation consultation and compensation for chant singers. The digital photographs of the manuscript allow for unconstrained viewing access not only for the class but also for those interested in chant manuscripts on the web. The class will be contributing to this community by developing online exhibits with these digital copies in a searchable, organized manner. The exhibit features carefully vetted metadata content, in-depth analysis of Western Manuscript 097 & Plimpton 034, translations from Latin into English, audio chants, and a system for collecting additional manuscripts.

Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL) Media and Production Coordinator Michael DeLeon and Educational Technologist Andre Laboy supported this project by capturing chant audio and video from a Columbia-produced performance at the Church of Notre Dame. Laboy also supported the class’s implementation of—a content management system often used by libraries and museums for digital exhibits.

Laboy spoke with Professor Boynton about her initial reflections on blending her course.

Why did you apply to this provostial initiative? What are the benefits for blending your course?
I applied in order to give my students an opportunity to learn digital humanities in greater depth than I have been able to do before, employing more active learning rather than passive consultation of resources. The benefits to the students include training, skills, and experience in digital humanities techniques. I also wanted to create digital resources that would be of use to scholars and the libraries. The benefits to the educational community include the new digital resources we have created in the course, and will continue to create with the impetus of this semester’s seminar.

Since receiving this award, how has the implementation process been? Did you encounter any challenges getting started?
The implementation process has been mostly excellent and smooth. The only disadvantage of the quick turnaround was that we [needed to utilize a more simple online exhibit platform]. The challenge getting started, choosing and configuring the software, was mostly handled by CCNMTL.

This is a new way of teaching for you, but also for your students. How are they reacting to this new approach?
The students are very resourceful and adapt quickly to the new approach. They seem to thrive in hands-on learning environments.


Sample student exhibit highlighting beasts and birds found within Plimpton MS 034.

Do you have any advice for other faculty who are considering blending their courses? Why should they do it? What should they expect?
I advise other faculty to choose their goals carefully and have in mind one major outcome that can be the focus of the entire course or project. The reason to apply for this particular initiative is the in-kind support from CCNMTL, which makes it possible to accomplish more in one semester than would otherwise be possible. [Faculty] should expect to spend considerable time consulting with the students and with their educational technologist, and working on their own, to reach course goals and fine-tune their approach.

How would the class have been different without the Hybrid Learning Award?
It would have been the seminar as I have taught it in the past, in which students’ final assignments take the form of a presentation and a write-up. There would have been no lasting, public digital outcome. The students would not have learned how to use and would not have created their projects in the digital environment.


We have enjoyed working with Professor Boynton to develop and evaluate this new approach. If you’d like to learn more, please visit

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In Conversation: A Collaborative Online Exhibition for NYC Food Justice with Professor Erin Hasinoff


Museum Anthropology MA students in Dr. Erin Hasinoff’s Exhibitions: Practical Considerations (offered in Spring 2015 at Columbia) explored some of the organizations and people that share the responsibility of nourishing New York City. Through independent fieldwork, students had the opportunity to volunteer for and write about food justice organizations that are making the urban foodshed more democratic, ethical, and sustainable.

As an outcome of their ethnographic research, readings in food studies, and class discussions students developed an online exhibition about New York City’s food justice movement. Urban Table: The Food Movement Serving NYC showcases the activities of community gardens, farms, apiaries, CSAs, farmers’ markets, food cooperatives, soup kitchens, food banks, and restaurant workers’ associations in bringing food to New Yorkers’ tables, alleviating social inequalities, and creating alternatives to the dominant food system.

CCNMTL educational technologist Paul Joseph Stengel worked with professor Hasinoff to plan the integration of the EdBlogs Wordpress platform into her course; Stengel also supported student collaboration and publishing of content in the blog during the course. The Urban Table site is hosted on the CCNMTL EdBlogs platform, which is a free service designed to provide any Columbia course with a blog.

What was the main objective of your course?

The main objective of Exhibitions: Practical Considerations was to simulate an exhibition design project, so that students working toward an MA in Museum Anthropology could gain insight into the collaborative and professional activities of curatorial work. Along the way, they conducted ethnographic fieldwork, developed content, and contributed to the online exhibition’s design.

I noticed that group dynamics were an important part of your course. Can you explain how group work was organized in your course and how it impacted teaching and learning?

Students assumed team-leadership roles in the course. They participated as design liaisons, copy editors, permissions coordinators, project managers, and public relations coordinators. They coordinated group activities with a consultant designer, a professional copy editor, an educational technologist, and myself.

At specific junctures during the course, for example, they gave input to the exhibition’s design, but within boundaries that were laid out for them at the start of the course. The project’s design consultant created a system of icons and three options for the website’s homepage. After the class selected one of the designs for the homepage, the student design liaison uploaded the assets and made decisions about what background image to use, and how the site’s navigation could be refined. He designed a Google map of the locations of the participating food justice organizations the course had partnered with, and collected metadata to incorporate into the map from each course member. Once course members uploaded their contributions, he also designed templates for each post and worked with his peers and the designer to achieve uniformity across the site.

Urban Table's Google Map

By thinking about consistency across their contributions, the students made collaborative decisions about the organization of the Urban Table site and came up with ways to present material in a clear manner accessible to academic and non-academic audiences.

How did the EdBlog support your teaching and learning goals?

The Edblog was a simple content management system that allowed students with little or no prior web-design experience to produce thoughtful posts and contribute to an online exhibition that had a limited budget and an accelerated time frame (most museum exhibitions take two to three years to develop and install, but the class had under four months to curate Urban Table). Because Edblogs was accessible to all students, the class could focus on generating content and writing exhibition text.

How did the implementation process of the EdBlog go?

About six months before the class began, I had several conversations with you (Paul Stengel) and CCNMTL about the goals of the design project. I gave examples of online exhibitions I thought could serve as models for the project, and you suggested a WordPress theme (“Pictorico”) that Edblogs offered.

After selecting the theme, I ran the theme by our consultant designer who brainstormed some initial ideas for the site’s organization and appearance. Like any exhibition project, I had the challenge of coming up with a way of visually uniting a range of student contributions. During the spring semester, the designer produced three concepts for the site, and the students selected one and requested some revisions to the graphics, icons, and color.

Can you tell me about the projects you asked students to complete in the EdBlog?

About a year before I taught Exhibitions: Practical Considerations, I identified and met with twelve exemplary food justice organizations in New York City, whose work students would profile for the exhibition: Bartow-Pell Mansion Children’s Garden, Green Oasis Community Garden, Corbin Hill Food Project, and the Edible Churchyard at Union Theological Seminary, for example. I developed a syllabus that included some of the key academic literature on food justice published in a range of disciplines: anthropology, sociology, political science, geography, and history.

The students were encouraged to volunteer, attend events, and interview members of the participating organizations about their work. Then, over the course of the semester they curated 800-word posts about the activities of each organization and their contributions to New York City’s burgeoning food justice movement. They also worked in teams to produce welcome text, a glossary, and a bibliography.

In researching and curating a single post (presented as a “tile” on the site’s homepage), each student related their work to the main concepts and arguments of the course readings. During seminars, students gave presentations about the topics they were working on and identified themes that ran through their projects. These themes (e.g. food desert, countercuisine, dominant food system, and the Slow Food movement) became glossary items, which they hyperlinked to their text, and tags, which would function as an index of the site’s content.

Students peer reviewed each other’s work, responded to my edits, and then gained the experience of working with a professional copy editor who provided critical feedback and worked closely with them to refine their on-line exhibition’s text. This process proved to be the most arduous, as the polishing of exhibition text is in any professional gallery or museum setting.

How did your students respond to the instructional support you leveraged through CCNMTL?

You (Paul Stengel) offered a tutorial, an overview of EdBlogs, and directions for uploading media, at the beginning of the semester. The tutorial provided the class with enough knowledge to post content, and to see the web design resources they had at their disposal. Students with more familiarity with EdBlogs took on leadership roles and offered technical support to their peers. In cases where they couldn’t answer questions, we compiled lists of questions for CCNMTL, for which they found solutions.

How did you assess the project content created by students in the EdBlog? Were there any outcomes that surprised you?

As in any exhibition-design course, the goal wasn’t the outcome—the online exhibition—but the process of curating a show. The students were evaluated for the leadership roles they assumed, the research and volunteer work they put into their individual posts, and their ability to creatively revise their writing and content along the lines suggested by their peers, the consultant designer, the copy editor, and myself.

I suppose I hadn’t anticipated that some students would see the on-line exhibition as an opportunity to forge relationships that could outlive the course and extend beyond the digital exhibition. One student, for example, who volunteered with the Sathya Sai Baba Center of Manhattan’s Healthy Harlem project, plans to continue to participate in serving food at their Wednesday evening feeding services on 116th and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. Another has become committed to maintaining the Edible Churchyard at Union Theological Seminary. The Edblog site has also become a resource for some of the projects that did not have a presence on the Internet prior to this course (e.g., City Island Gold Apiary). And, as a result of the exhibition project, some of the organizations became aware of each other’s work for the first time, and plan to forge new partnerships.

Do you have any advice for faculty interested in developing a digital exhibition with their students?

From the outset it’s a good idea to have a structure and some basic design ideas (a “wireframe”) for an online exhibition, and a clear picture of what can be accomplished in a single semester or as a yearlong project. CCNMTL can offer guidelines in terms of what’s feasible and how much of a site should be implemented before students contribute to it. Students should always be given options, but the more limited those options are, the more time they can spend focusing on researching their contributions and generating content for an online exhibition.

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CCNMTL's Paul Stengel and Sarohini Chahal Present at 2015 AERA Annual Meeting

Last month CCNMTL educational technologists Paul Joseph Stengel and Sarohini Chahal traveled to Chicago, IL to present at the 2015 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting. While there, Stengel and Chahal presented to, and attended presentations by, colleagues in the field of educational research.


As part of an in-progress graduate student research-roundtable, Stengel and Chahal presented research regarding “The Effects of Peer Collaboration on a Summer Intensive 21st Century Teaching Institute”. The research investigated whether peer interaction during edtech trainings lead to the formation of sustained peer support networks, and more informed choices when using technology in the university classroom. Survey results showed that participants were interested in working with their peers on difficult teaching challenges, and also that interactions of this nature enhanced the technology knowledge of participants. The research project was sponsored by CCNMTL and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Teaching Center.

Stengel and Chahal also attended conference presentations related to work at CCNMTL and the GSAS Teaching Center. Of particular interest were sessions on teacher professional development and Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCS). The team spent some time with the AERA Faculty Teaching, Evaluation, and Development special interest group and attended a great session on “Conceptualizing, Measuring, and Influencing Instructional Practice”. The team also attended notable paper sessions on MOOCS that discussed research on the challenges and possibilities for emerging teacher professional development MOOCs, Hybrid MOOCs as well as a process for MOOCs designed by university students.

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CCNMTL's Maurice Matiz on NYU Panel for Technological Innovation in Higher Ed

Last month, CCNMTL director, Maurice Matiz, participated in a panel at NYU’s Leonard Stern School of Business to discuss technological innovation in the classroom. Numerous topics were covered, including student-centered classrooms, case studies, tools, online learning, measuring and assessing learning, and faculty development. Matiz joined a panel that included Steven Goss, vice provost of Digital Learning at Teachers College, Columbia University; Shay David, co-founder of Kaltura and a visiting fellow at the Yale Information Society Project; and John Katzman, education entrepreneur and founder of Noodle,, and The Princeton Review. Messrs David and Katzman also offered their companies’ visions for technical innovation in higher ed.

The panel fielded questions from the moderator, Professor Kristen Sosulski, director at the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning at the NYU Stern School of Business, and from the audience. The two-hour event was held at Kaufman Management Center at NYU-Stern.

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2015 Summer Institute for Teaching and Learning Announced!

The 8th Annual Summer Institute for Teaching and Learning, a day-long workshop devoted to exploring effective teaching and learning strategies in health sciences education, will be held on Monday, June 22, 2015 from 8am to 5pm at Butler Library on the Morningside Campus. Topics covered during the Institute will include:

  • Effective Course Design
  • Engaging Learners in the Classroom and Online
  • Creating Innovative Lesson Plans
  • Teaching and Learning Resources for CUMC Faculty

This event is designed for junior faculty or senior faculty who have recently taken on a new teaching role. Apply for free admission to the Summer Institute by submitting the online application. The application deadline is Friday, June 5th, 2015.

If you have questions, email us at

In addition, this year, Summer Institute fellows will have the opportunity to continue their development as educators by participating in a new mentorship program. Interested fellows will be paired with a mentor from their school or program. This exciting program will be lead by Deborah Cabaniss, Director of the Virginia Apgar Academy of Medical Educators Columbia University's College of Physicians & Surgeons. Participants may reach out to their mentors to get help developing learning objectives, plans for teaching activities, or methods for evaluating your teaching. Participants can ask their mentors to sit in on teaching sessions. Participant's mentor’s name and contact number will be provided in this year's packet.

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CCNMTL Hosts NYC MOOC-Maker Meet-Up

Columbia University’s Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL) hosted the second official New York City “meet-up” for cultural and educational institutions producing online courses. Close to thirty professionals, in video production and course design, from the American Museum of Natural History, Coursera, edX, Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, the Museum of Modern Art, and Yeshiva University gathered in Butler Library to exchange new ideas for improving production, distribution, and course design for MOOCs. The agenda focused on video transcription, captioning, translation, and annotation; new partnership opportunities; and media production best practices for distribution and preservation. In addition, representatives from Coursera presented recent research on MOOC retention and completion rates.

The group reviewed a range of options and requirements—governmental, institutional, and moral—for transcribing and syncing video transcripts in higher education. In early April 2015, the Department of Justice reached a settlement with MOOC-platform (and Columbia partner) edX that outlined some of the federal requirements for making educational content fully accessible to Americans with disabilities. Meet-up members discussed how they use a combination of automated systems (i.e. Automated Sync and 3Play Media), internal staff, and freelance employees for editing transcripts that comply with these standards.

The group also discussed the possibilities for fostering partnerships within a university (i.e. CCNMTL’s partnership with the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs), across multiple universities, or between unaffiliated institutions (i.e. a museum and a university). With these possibilities in mind, meet-up members discussed the challenges of making online education more sustainable with options for distribution beyond Coursera and edX—keeping in mind the looming concerns over how to preserve content and where to find server space.

The next NYC MOOC Meet-up will be hosted by the American Museum of Natural History in June covering licensing, copyright, and best practices for investing in memory and storage.

In October, Columbia will host the Learning With MOOCS conference. Follow @CCNMTL on Twitter for more information as it becomes available.

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A High-Stakes, Decision-Making Experience for Leaders in Urban Education

This month the Urban Education Leaders Collaborative (UELC) at Teachers College, Columbia University and the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL) launched the Education Leadership Development Experience (ELDEx). Under the leadership of Zuki Kekana, Assistant Director for the Urban Education Leaders Collaborative (UELC), and Professor Brian Perkins, Director of the Urban Education Leaders Program, the UELC team will begin to use the ELDEx across the country to support professional development for urban education leaders. ELDEx will be used for the first time this summer in New Orleans, LA, NYC, and Charlotte, NC. Stocked with interactive case simulations, ELDEx enhances the UELC experience using interactive decision-making activities based on real leadership challenges and national events in urban schooling.

ELDEx is a custom platform designed by UELC and CCNMTL to enable cohort facilitators to facilitate team progress through a decision-driven experience with simulated outcomes. The development of the tool by CCNMTL was guided by the requirements of the UELC case simulation model. At the heart of this model is the need for participants to work in a group to analyze information, address the circumstances that have brought them to a decision point, draw on prior knowledge, predict outcomes, manage surprises, come to a group consensus on a choice, commit to that choice, and discuss the outcomes in order to provide a report to the larger group.

UELC gathers prospective and current education leaders to discuss contemporary challenges in urban educational leadership. Drawing from effective case approaches used in business schools, ELDEx enhances the UELC cohort discussions and improves learning outcomes by engaging participants in case narratives on relevant topics using the ELDEx as a multimedia learning tool. Participant discussions often involve research-based approaches for leading schools through complex issues, reaching for positive outcomes while trying to avoid negative repercussions. These discussions are anchored in the practical experiences of the participants invited to the cohort. Current case topics include high-stakes standardized testing, teacher contract negotiations, racially influenced bullying, and sexual misconduct in urban schools.

ELDEx gives UELC participants the opportunity to experience high stakes decision-making in groups with the potential of arriving at multiple simulated outcomes based on real events. For each case, the main actor is an education leader with a conflict that needs the consultation of the UELC participants team to resolve. Each UELC cohort has three teams that work independently to discuss assigned case content within the ELDEx system.


Figure 1: ELDEx case narratives include multimedia content, such as an interactive map of the district with test scores for each school.

At the start of the experience, each team is assigned a UELC trained facilitator who guides and facilitates group discussions of the leadership challenge. The facilitator prompts discussion and, based on their observations of the group learning process and the focus of discussions, releases gated content for participants to view. Then, at each decision point in the narrative, the team leader selects from three potential recommendations for how the main actor in the case should respond.


Figure 2: The decision point interface triggers related impact results for the group to discuss based on their choice.

After a choice is registered, and the gated content is released, the system provides custom results based on the team’s recommendation. Results in ELDEx typically include a visual display of key variables designed to indicate the impact the decision had on the main actor’s relationship with key stakeholders such as the school board, the community, and the media.


Figure 3: The variable matrix of impact for choice three, manage quietly behind closed doors.

Each case has nine potential stakeholder outcomes that correlate to choices made by UELC participants at two decision points in the narrative. Throughout the day, UELC facilitators bring the teams together to discuss their progress in the system, as well as the differences in choices and results among the teams. In these directed discussions, UELC participants reflect upon their experience in the ELDEx system as it relates to real-life leadership situations in urban schooling. This reflective learning process encourages aspiring, and current urban education leaders to analyze and dissect causality in a safe environment, thus preparing them to lead effectively when the consequences are actual and imminent.


Figure 4: ULEC facilitators use the case control to lead group users through the case. Each button in the control panel provides a status of gated content in a case (Green is complete; Tan is in progress; and Red is incomplete).

CCNMTL is excited to work with Zuki and Brian to provide ELDEx to education leaders that come from all over the country. Using an interactive instructional tool such as ELDEx, UELC develops urban leaders’ ability to think about complex educational challenges, prepares them to make high stakes decisions, and to lead the way toward developing leadership solutions to the most critical challenges in urban education.

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