This weekend was homecoming at Duke, and the place was crawling with alums, young and old. Some were back for football, others to see old friends, and a special group of alumni were back to catch up on what is new and exciting at Duke – so that they can spread details back within their networks at home. These are the folks who come to participate in the Duke Alumni Leadership weekend, and it was my great pleasure to meet some of them and tell them all about our new iPad app – Cachalot.
About 65 people signed up for a session on Teaching Innovation at Duke. This session was essentially a panel discussion designed to provide an overview of how Duke is changing the landscape of university teaching, and they got an excellent overview of several interesting developments.
The panelists were:
- Dr. Mohamed Noor – Professor of Biology
- Dr. Cary Moskovitz – Assistant Professor of the Practice in Writing and Director, Writing in the Disciplines
- Dr. David Johnston – Research Scientist, Duke Marine Lab
- Dr. Lynne O’Brien – Director of Academic Technology and Instructional Services for Perkins Library at Duke University
- Ann Prybylowski – undergrad student of Dr. Noor
The panel discussion was moderated by esteemed alumni volunteer, Forever Duke Award winner, DAA Executive Board Member, and parent of 3 Duke students – Julie Ferguson.
It was a great meeting. Dr Noor provided details on how he has revamped one of the intro biology courses, and Dr Moscovitz provided an excellent overview of the Duke Reader program. Ann Prybylowski attested to the quality of Dr. Boors revamp. Lynne O’Brien gave the roundup and provided a great overview of the five areas of teaching innovation at Duke: open access, multimedia, mobility, active learning and new technology. Lots of fantastic discussion about the future of teaching and how can technology assist followed. Questions addressed included:
- Do today’s students, as plugged into technology as they are, really process information differently?
- What do you see in the future of learning in the classroom?
- What motivates faculty to adopt new technologies in their teaching?
- What if students don’t have the latest technology? How can they participate in these new teaching and learning strategies?
I got to talk a bit about digital textbooks and costs incurred by students, and focused some discussion about students using smartphones and tablets in class spontaneously, e.g. to augment ongoing discussions etc. In terms of our Cachalot app, I was really happy to talk more about creating customized textbooks for specialized courses and how we’ve used iPads in teaching down here at the Marine Lab. People really enjoyed the cachalot demo, and I think we’ll see a few more downloads after this!
Thanks to Jennifer Copeland at the Duke Alumni Association for coordinating the event.
The link to details on the event are here.