MiddCreate Spotlight: Margaret Weber

Written by Nadani Dixon

Another MiddCreate Spotlight post!

MiddCreate Spotlight is DLINQ’s newest blog series that features interesting MiddCreate sites created by Middlebury students, faculty or programs outside of the Office of Digital Learning & Inquiry. MiddCreate is an initiative at Middlebury that offers faculty, staff, and students their own subdomain spaces and easy installation of open-source applications such as WordPress, ownCloud, MediaWiki, Drupal, Known, Scalar, and Omeka, among others. This week, we will highlighted a MiddCreate site created by Margaret Weber, a Middlebury College student.

Margaret was kind enough to answer some questions we asked her about her work with MiddCreate. We asked her questions ranging from the purpose of her MiddCreate site to any plans for further development. Margaret expressed that MiddCreate gave her a platform to share and discuss her winter term internship in the Dominican Republic.

The Office of Digital Learning & Inquiry encourages our readers to check-out Margaret’s MiddCreate site here. Look out for more amazing MiddCreate sites!

Intercultural Rhetoric & Inquiry Space (IRIS)

Dr. Amy Collier, Associate Provost for Digital Learning is co-teaching a hybrid class this Spring with Dr. Netta Avineri, TESOL/TFL Assistant Professor and MIIS ICC Committee Chair and Dana Yeaton, Assistant Professor of Theatre and Orator Now Director. The course, Intercultural Rhetoric & Inquiry Space focuses on intercultural communication while connecting Middlebury College and Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) students. It seeks to find answers to the following questions: What are the tensions inherent in intercultural communication, and what happens when intercultural interactions involve persuasion and influence? IRIS creates an inquiry space to investigate, and develop the practice of, intercultural listening and speaking. Class sessions introduce rhetorical and multimodal techniques designed to help students negotiate power differences, deliberate collaboratively, and observe and question empathetically. Students work together to create digital artifacts and live events that demonstrate their developing capacities as ethical communicators and agents of change. The format of the class models the knowledge, skills, and dispositions discussed in the course – virtual interactions in diverse modes with students from two campuses.

The course is framed in three sections: 1. A focus on foundational theories of rhetoric, intercultural studies, and digital studies. 2. Methods of inquiry that will help one understand intercultural rhetoric more deeply and 3. An address of an intercultural rhetoric challenge with the goal of enacting social change. In the first couple sessions last week, students explored how rhetoric shapes our interactions, and how we can use our “rhetorical toolbox” to understand rhetoric in different contexts and situations. The first class session met entirely via Zoom to allow students to see each other clearly and time was spent talking about how to be a part of a class of this structure. In the second session, they met in two classrooms and connected the classrooms via zoom, continuing their discussion of rhetoric by analyzing a recent rhetorical event.
Last night, the focus was on intercultural awareness and integration, and thinking through how culture intersects with rhetoric.

The Office of Digital Learning & Inquiry is just as eager and excited as the students to grow and develop on this ‘Intercultural Rhetoric & Inquiry Space‘ journey.

Shadowing Across Distance

Written by Sonja Burrows & Amy Slay

Instructional Designers Amy Slay and Sonja Burrows have recently begun an exciting, distance-collaborative learning process as a means of gaining insights into how these designers each support teaching and learning in digital environments across Middlebury. As new team members in DLINQ’s Digital Pedagogy and Media group, Amy and Sonja share a desire to learn as much as possible about each other’s roles and areas of expertise. The Digital Pedagogy and Media group — which includes instructional designers, pedagogical consultants, as well as animation and media specialists based in Vermont and Monterey — partners with faculty, staff, and students to build critical learning spaces in both digital and hybrid environments, as well as to research and offer guidance for digital fluency and critical instructional design.

To that end, Amy and Sonja decided to undergo a “digital shadowing” or observation practice, during which time they each accompany and observe each other at work in partnerships by attending Zoom meetings, weighing-in on shared docs, and providing feedback on projects where needed. To kick off the process, Amy has begun to shadow Sonja’s work in creating a pre-immersion website for students preparing to study abroad in Germany. This project combines language-learning with cultural preparations as well as community-building so that students of German can prepare for their studies in Berlin, Potsdam, or Mainz, Germany. The School in Germany team is delighted to be joined by Amy, who brings not only a wealth of expertise in digital learning environments but also speaks German! Likewise, Sonja has agreed to shadow Amy’s work in partnering with MIIS translation and interpretation faculty in building a course in Canvas entitled Written & Sight Translation of Medical Texts. This project is part of the Institute’s Spanish Community Interpretation program, training students for careers in medical and legal interpretation and translation. As a scholar of Spanish language pedagogy, Sonja is thrilled to learn more about the field of Spanish Translation and how this course is taught at MIIS.

Together, Amy and Sonja are gaining front-line access to each other’s work, expertise, approaches to faculty partnerships, and in so doing are growing the knowledge base and skills set of the Digital Pedagogy and Media group. They are also having a lot of fun!

Featured image by Daniel Frank on Unsplash