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The DIRT for April 30-May 4, 2018

“This Week in DLINQ” Renamed to the “DIRT”

“This Week in DLINQ” is now DIRT. Why the name change, and what does it mean?

Written by Evelyn Helminen

As you likely know, if you’ve been a reader of ours for the past few months, The Office of Digital Learning and Inquiry (DLINQ) publishes a weekly blog post on Tuesdays that summarizes 2-4 events, projects, or blog posts connected to staff members of DLINQ. The goal is to make visible the work of DLINQ, build connections, and establish leadership in the field of digital pedagogy. However, the name doesn’t fully encapsulate what the blog post is about.

So as we’ve transitioned into this new office, we’ve also decided to transition the name of the weekly post. We chose “DIRT.” Here are some reasons why:

  1. We already use a “garden” metaphor for MiddCreate; we are doing work on Information Environmentalism; and the newly created Resources section on the DLINQ website uses the term the “Tool Shed,” so this will help carry on that “Earthy” theme.
  2. “Dirt” is sometimes seen as “scoop,” or news and information, which this blog post has in spades. (see what we did there?)
  3. Dirt is also messy, and our message is often one of admitting we don’t have everything figured out (not-yetness, anyone?), but we are carrying on, prototyping, and learning constantly from our mistakes and from each other.
  4. It’s light-hearted so we’ll have a reminder not to take everything so seriously, and we don’t have to be scared that our ideas “aren’t good serious critical enough.”
  5. There are tons of possibilities for adding a fun tidbit at the end connected to “dirt.” (See the end of this post for an example.)

What does D.I.R.T. stand for? That’s where you come in! We have a few ideas, but we haven’t settled on what it means yet.

See some of our ideas. (Click the “show me another” link to refresh what you see below.)

What could DIRT stand for?

Dreams In Real Time


Fighting Mis/Disinformation Zombies

Written by Amy Collier

Amy Collier, Associate Provost for Digital Learning, is fighting mis/disinformation zombies with Mike Caulfield and Jason Scorse.

In episode 33 of the Dispatch from the Zombie Apocalypse podcast, hosted by Middlebury Institute (MIIS) professor Jason Scorse, Amy Collier and Mike Caulfield (Director of Blended and Networked Learning, Washington State University-Vancouver) talked about their work facing off against toxic mis/disinformation of the web.

In the podcast, Mike describes his project with the American Association State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) called the Digital Polarization Project, which aims to change how we teach information literacy to students in a way that is more suited to how information is shared and spread on the web. Amy discusses Middlebury’s Information Environmentalism project, modeled on the Digital Polarization Project, that works with Middlebury students to understand and begin to “clean up” pollution in specific social media spaces, like Pinterest. Mike and Amy also share some of their favorite strategies for evaluating information on the web, all from Mike’s free textbook Web Literacy for Student Fact Checkers.

Listen to the entire podcast episode here »

Also check out Amy’s personal post on using the 4 Moves process, written for members of her family who share misinformation on the web.


2018 Student Spring Symposium

Co-Written by Evelyn Helminen & Shel Sax

The Spring Student Symposium is a presidential Middlebury College all-campus event that showcases the research and creative endeavors of the Middlebury undergraduate student body. First started by Professor Pat Manley of the Geology Department in 2007, it was originally intended to show the research of natural science majors. The work was displayed primarily in poster format as is the custom at science conferences. Over the past 10 years, the event has grown considerably and involves more than 275 student presenters from all disciplines. While many of the presenters are seniors showing their thesis work, the symposium this year included first years, sophomores and juniors as well. The symposium now includes poster sessions and oral presentations.

This year’s symposium was held on Friday, April 20, 2018. Posters were displayed in the Great Hall of the McCardell Bicentennial Hall and oral presentations took place in 10 different rooms in the building. There were 4 concurrent sessions for oral presentations, and each 15-minute presentation had to start and end precisely in order for attendees to move from location to location between presentations. This is particularly important so that faculty advisors can attend their students’ presentations.

The logistics of the symposium each year are complex and involve many departments on campus from the fire marshal to facilities and dining services. On the technology side, collaboration among the Undergraduate Research Office, Information & Technology Services, the Library, the Center for Teaching, Learning and Research (CTLR) and the Office of Digital Learning & Inquiry (DLINQ) helped to ensure a smooth, reliable environment for the students.

Details of technological support included:

  • Pre-symposium workshops on poster creation and printing using Adobe Illustrator and wide sheet plotters for output
  • Pre-symposium meeting on planning presentation, time constraints, structure
  • Pre-symposium workshop on oration, public speaking
  • Evaluating and testing hardware, software, and networks to ensure support the 100’s of attendees on symposium day
  • Preparing presentation files for smooth transition on presentation day
  • and much, much more!

Dig Deeper:

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body but the soul


Photo by Mark Koch on Unsplash

Sources: Online Learning Consortium

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