Introduction

I'm Rabia Yalcinkaya, a graduate student in the Digital Media Design for Learning (DMDL) program at NYU Steinhardt! This summer, I am learning and working with the Academic Technologists in NYU Steinhardt’s Office of Academic Technology as an Assistant Academic Technologist. I’ll be discovering and brainstorming with this amazing team for the next 8 weeks as part of the Technology-Enhanced Education Fund (TEE Fund).

Designing /redesigning learning environments to be more technology based is very helpful and has become popular in recent years. As a former mathematics teacher, I have observed that technology integrated classes are a must. Thus, this summer will be a great opportunity to learn by participating/experiencing the design phase directly.

Overview

The Kickoff Workshop of the TEE Fund brought together all participants who would be part of the program for the summer. Dean Ted Magder welcomed the group and for an icebreaker activity, everyone was asked “How would you spend 1 million dollars?” Travelling, charities, investments, and research labs were just a few of the answers!

The participants were asked to pitch their projects to the group. Each participant was provided with a Google Slides template to help them introduce their project. They described the problem, the possible solution, the technology that they would like to use, and their team organization.

The 5 projects that were pitched during the workshop included:

  1. Carolyn Strom: She is a professor at the Department of Teaching and Learning/ Literacy Education. Her purpose is to make the teaching activities on “teaching literacy and reading” more efficient and to provide a better utilization of the LMS.

  2. Kevin Weaver: He is an Assistant Clinical Professor for the Department of Physical Therapy. He is working on to create a portal for a Physical Therapy residency program that provides residents, participating clinicians, and administrators with better communication, and form and data tracking. This, in turn, will allow all parties to spend more time focusing on teaching and learning.

  3. Frank Pignatosi & Nada Ahmed: Frank is an Assistant Professor of Master of Arts in Teaching at the Department of Teaching and Learningand Nada is an Assistant Professor and the Director of Residency Programs at the Department of Teaching and Learning. Their goals are to create a hybrid student teacher experience which would consist of both live and video-mediated mentorship, aligned with coursework which will hopefully provide more in-depth student reflection opportunities.

  4. Jules Joseph & Alyssa Alfano: Jules is the Field Administrator for Steinhardt Arts Education Consortium  and Alyssa is the Assistant Director of Office of Field Studies. The main goal of the project is to redesign a centralized learning management system to effectively place their student teachers by creating a Field Experience Tool.

  5. Susan Murray: She is an Associate Professor of Media, Culture and Communication. Her project is based on using the technology to not only develop a new way to present media to the students, but also to build an interactive online chronology of the history that they are studying. She would like to improve the multimedia learning aspect of her course.

After each presentation, a short Plus Delta Feedback session was conducted. A Plus Delta evaluation is “a formative evaluation process that provides feedback on an experience or event and collects ideas for future improvements” (http://www.igi-global.com/dictionary/plus-delta-evaluation/22865). It is a productive method to get all participants’ thoughts and expectations on each project in real-time. The method asks participants to provide a ‘plus’, what went well that should continue, and a ‘delta’, what should change or be improved upon for next time.

The pitch session was reinforced with a Planning for Success brainstorm and post-it activity. During this activity, the teams added the weaknesses, concerns, and problems that they face during their projects related to people, processes, and technology. Then, as a group, we developed possible solutions to these roadblocks.  

Big Takeaways

As an Assistant Academic Technologist and Masters Degree candidate, I have had some important takeaways during the Kickoff meeting and it was an inspirational start:

  • Feedback is helpful. There were inspirational suggestions and questions at the end of each pitch presentation for the faculty. They started to identify obstacles and concerns going forward. (For example, Kevin Weaver’s portal project prompted questions about  sharing previous and current occupational therapy cases between groups of students; Carolyn Strom’s Literacy Teaching project created questions about using tech tools for students that have learning disabilities).

  • New technology can be difficult for everyone. Faculty were interacting with new technology (Google Drive, Google Slides) and we were able to see what kind of difficulties they had while applying/integrating technology.

Learning Moments

Learning is a lifelong process and every day we experience and learn new things. Gaining an overall view on the projects, how to conduct the projects and meetings, and what to expect from this course are some important learning outcomes for me. My thoughts and understanding have become more clear about the TEE Fund: the goal is to develop high-fidelity solutions for the projects/courses that are selected.The course is designed to assist  faculty and administrators find and use the right resources (technical infrastructure, technical support, design specialists, related and appropriate media) in their classes and make the learning experiences/environments more efficient.

I learned that most projects in the TEE Fund are based on  Experiential Learning and Multimedia Learning. In this concept, experiential learning is out-of-classroom experiences related to core academic programming, like  internships, practicums, or service-learning experiences. Multimedia learning is cultivating and sharing experiences and resources with students which may include department- generated content, NYU library resources, and Open Educational Resources (OERs).

The Plus Delta Feedback was a new framework for me. I learned how to give eye- opening and structured feedback. This was my biggest Ah-ha moment!

The meeting was wrapped up by talking about the fund’s design phases and schedule, weekly 1:1 design meetings, and the assignments Faculty will be completing on an NYU classes course site designed especially for this process. Overall, the kickoff event helped all of us touch base and jump start the fund’s multi-month long journey. We left eager for the first phase: 1 to 1 design meetings where we will tackle Research and Analysis!