Welcome Summer 2018 DLINQ Interns

Summer is here and the Office of Digital Learning & Inquiry is thrilled to have a number of student interns working on various projects throughout the next few months. This week will feature Ianthe Jillian, a summer graduate assistant at the Digital Learning Commons (DLC) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) in Monterey. Ianthe was born in Chicago and raised in Houston, Texas and studies International Policy and Development. She focuses on uplifting communities and improving education, on the behalf of disadvantaged groups and people of color. For this reason she is interested in policy implementation as she believes policy change is the only way to address these issues. Ianthe wants to use visual arts to document both the pitfalls and progresses.


She has been working at the DLC since August 2017 and since then has been able to expand her knowledge in many different areas and inevitably learn new ones. Ianthe has a love for creativity and storytelling for change and thus has created  a storytelling project called Stories you MIISed which highlights students, faculty, and local community members’ stories in order to create community. In collaboration with the Students’ Council at MIIS, she has co-hosted a podcast discussion about ‘Black History Month’ where a panel consisting of other students of color expressed their experiences on and off campus. She was also given the opportunity to takeover MIIStagram, the MIIS Instagram account for seven days to highlight the campus, classrooms, students, faculty and the DLC space. She describes this experience as fun and enlightening and hopes to do it again.

Currently as an intern, Ianthe is working on creating a virtual campus tour for Admissions, using 360 footage to capture the campus, while using storytelling so that prospective students can see MIIS virtually. Along with her other colleagues, she is also working on a Shared Studio setup Portals for MIIS and Middlebury College that combines education and technology.

Ianthe has many interests but ultimately showcases these interests visually and creatively as she enjoys creating images, sounds, words, videos, etc in an attention-grabbing way that brings content to people refreshingly. She strongly believes that everything she has the opportunity to be a part of has a greater purpose and wants to be vital in fulfilling those purposes.

MiddCreate Spotlight Roundup

Written by Nadani Dixon

MiddCreate Spotlight is a fairly new blog series hosted by the Office of Digital Learning & Inquiry. In this series, we highlight one MiddCreate site at regular intervals from a faculty, student or member of staff at Middlebury College or the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS), to bring attention to the some of the amazing ways MiddCreate is being used by our peers and colleagues.

In the past two weeks we have published two MiddCreate Spotlights. The first MiddCreate Spotlight is on Travis Wayne Sanderson, a rising senior International and Global Studies major with a concentration in East Asia Studies at Middlebury College. Travis’ website is a collection of stories, thoughts, and pictures from his time abroad in China. It explores his photographic documentation of his semester. Travis is also the winner of the ‘Best Overall Site’ in the Study Abroad MiddCreate Contest. The contest was created to challenge students to present their cultural, linguistic and academic integration in the form of photography, video and writing on their own MiddCreate sites. The second MiddCreate Spotlight is on Emily Cipriani, a senior Feb, Chinese and Political Science double major at Middlebury College. Emily is also the winner of  ‘Vantage Point: Best Reflective Writing’ in the Study Abroad MiddCreate Contest. Emily’s site is a bilingual blog about the friendships she has made (especially with a guard named Auntie Cai), museums and historical sites she has visited, as well as academic posts to document her language progress.

We would like to thank Emily and Travis for entering our MiddCreate Contest by sharing their study abroad experiences and congratulate them once again on winning their respective categories. We believe that these MiddCreate sites are great examples of how we would like the Middlebury family to utilize this Domain of One’s Own project.

Check out Travis Wayne Sanderson’s site here and Emily Cipriani’s here.

DLINQ Blog Post: Designing for Hindi Language Learning by Sonja Burrows

Written by Nadani Dixon

Last week, Instructional Designer, Sonja Burrows, published a blog post detailing the process of designing the pre-immersion Hindi language learning site. Following the creation of a similar site for Middlebury’s School in Morocco, Sonja, Amy Collier, Bill Mayers – Middlebury’s Assistant Director of International Programs and Vinita Tripathi, the Director of Middlebury’s School in India gathered to discuss the possibility of an online Hindi learning space to support students preparing to study abroad in Delhi. Sonja explains that this is her favorite part of this job – “The part when we sit around the table in Amy’s office, ideas flying to and fro, hands gesturing madly into the air, excitement punctuating every suggestion.”

The blog post describes the origin of ideas like visual and audio aids for learning Hindi. Amy Collier, having watched and listened to Vinita pronounce several Hindi letters, thought to explore the possibility of creating a video in which students learning Hindi could not only hear the sound of her voice but also see her as she pronounced those letters. Amy thought that there was something very powerful about seeing and hearing Hindi. Sonja and the team ran with this idea and Sonja’s imagination teemed with design visions. Sonja commented,  “I could already see something beautiful forming in my mind’s eye, a space that reflected the aesthetic of Delhi, of India, of Hindi — I knew there would be yellows and golds, deep browns, intricate patterns and henna-dyed hands and saris.”

In Designing for Hindi Language Learning,  Sonja addresses the absent language barrier. Only one member of the team, Vinita, spoke Hindi. Nevertheless, this band of people was able to create a digital language-learning website all about this language. Sonja asserts that as a language educator and instructional designer, she knows enough about language learning to understand how to create spaces where meaningful linguistic acquisition can occur and thus her inability to speak the language did not detract from the project and instead made her work more effective. After many discussions and much scheduling,  the site is now ready for language learners!

Read Sonja’s post here to understand more why she’s sad the project has come to a close but is proud and hopeful that you will stop by and check out the site.

Dig Deeper:

We know we cannot plant seeds with closed fists. To sow, we must open our hands.
– Adolfo Perez Esquivel

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash