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This Week at the Center: November 12, 2014

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This week we reflect on the ways that the Center supports teaching with technology in the humanities at Columbia. Like the field itself, the use of technology in humanities classrooms is diverse, but it often has a common goal: engaging students in discussions that enrich and transcend the classroom.

Last summer our Lead Technical Architect Jonah Bossewitch worked with Graham Sack, an instructor in the English and Comparative Literature Department at Columbia, to support his introductory digital humanities course "Computational Methods for Literary and Cultural Criticism." The goal of this project was to bring undergraduates with little or no computer science background into a new conversation, using computational methods for literary and cultural analysis. Jonah helped set up an IPython Notebook that allowed Graham Sack's students to experiment with a variety of programs for analysis. Read more about this project here, and subscribe to our mailing list to learn how we continue to expand and refine our support of computational needs outside of scientific disciplines.

On November 6, Professor Shigeru Miyagawa (MIT) described another strategy for student engagement that he explored in his humanities MOOC on edX, "Visualizing Japan." Professor Miyagawa gave the inaugural talk for this year’s Conversations on Online Learning, a series of talks co-sponsored by the Center and the Provost’s office. He discussed the ways his course brought image-driven research from MIT’s “Visualizing Cultures” face-to-face courses into a discussion-rich MOOC, and made all of the course resources available with a Creative Commons license through the MIT Open CourseWare initiative.

The Center’s own humanities MOOCs on edX, "The Civil War and Reconstruction" with Eric Foner, offered its students the opportunity for broader discussion through a Google Hangout on November 7. For an hour, Prof. Foner answered questions from students, and Center staff captured the session on video

The first course in the three-course series will end on December 3. The second course, "A New Birth of Freedom: The Civil War, 1861-1865" begins December 1. Join the second course today, and follow @cwrMOOC on Twitter for news and updates.

Also From This Week
Our own Executive Director Maurice Matiz and Associate Director Lucy Appert gave a presentation for the Advisory Board of the Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership on trends in online learning.

Coming Up
On November 20, the Center’s Lunch Bytes series continues with an Innovation Showcase by the audience response system provider Top Hat. The Columbia educational technology community are encouraged to join, but anyone with a Columbia ID is welcome to attend. RSVP here.

On December 4, the Conversations on Online Learning series continues with, “Digitize, Democratize: Libraries, Books, and the Digital Future“, a talk by Harvard’s University Librarian Robert Darnton. The Conversations on Online Learning series is open to anyone with a Columbia ID.