Title

Building a Digital Learning Assistant Program to Promote Peer Learning in the Digital Liberal Arts

Streaming Media

Submission Type

20-minute Presentation

Abstract

Our team of instructional technologists and designers, librarians, faculty, and students have collaborated over the past year to develop a peer digital learning initiative at our small, liberal arts institution. In this presentation, we will consider concepts, models, and activities instrumental to our experience building a peer learning community around technology, digital literacy and identity, and student agency.

The initiative kicked off this past August with a four-day pre-orientation program. We aimed to give students hands-on experience with various digital technologies being used for teaching and learning on campus, generate conversation around what it means to a learner and citizen in the digital age, and foster awareness of and reflection on personal agency in learning. One of the core concepts of the pre-orientation was giving the students a “dorm and a domain” or a space to physically and virtually exist on campus.

Once the fall semester began, many pre-orientation participants and other interested students continued on into our Digital Learning Assistant (DLA) training program. Our primary goal was to prepare students to serve as tutors to other students in need of assistance with digital learning projects assigned in courses. Students in the training program participated in online and face-to-face activities to help advance their knowledge of core digital tools that faculty use most often in their courses for blogging, digital archives and data visualizations, digital mapping and GIS, digital storytelling, and e-portfolios. Each student selected one of these tracks for their first area of focus. In addition to developing technical skills, an important part of the training program has been to help students consider tools and skills in the context of digital identity and digital literacy as well as learn to help mentor fellow students effectively. This semester, the DLAs began offering drop-in hours to assist students, while also continuing their training in both technology and peer teaching. As they continue to develop these skills using the online course or lynda.com tutorials, they simultaneously develop their own websites in preparation for a campus-wide launch of Domain of One’s Own.

Our program has been guided by our shared interests in fostering student agency, developing communities for peer learning, and growing critical digital literacy skills and perspectives. We have been inspired by our institution’s rich peer learning culture, as well as similar projects at other institutions like University of Mary Washington’s Digital Knowledge Center.

Session

Presentation

Location

Thomas 104

Start Date

5-17-2017 2:40 PM

End Date

5-17-2017 4:00 PM

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May 17th, 2:40 PM May 17th, 4:00 PM

Building a Digital Learning Assistant Program to Promote Peer Learning in the Digital Liberal Arts

Thomas 104

Our team of instructional technologists and designers, librarians, faculty, and students have collaborated over the past year to develop a peer digital learning initiative at our small, liberal arts institution. In this presentation, we will consider concepts, models, and activities instrumental to our experience building a peer learning community around technology, digital literacy and identity, and student agency.

The initiative kicked off this past August with a four-day pre-orientation program. We aimed to give students hands-on experience with various digital technologies being used for teaching and learning on campus, generate conversation around what it means to a learner and citizen in the digital age, and foster awareness of and reflection on personal agency in learning. One of the core concepts of the pre-orientation was giving the students a “dorm and a domain” or a space to physically and virtually exist on campus.

Once the fall semester began, many pre-orientation participants and other interested students continued on into our Digital Learning Assistant (DLA) training program. Our primary goal was to prepare students to serve as tutors to other students in need of assistance with digital learning projects assigned in courses. Students in the training program participated in online and face-to-face activities to help advance their knowledge of core digital tools that faculty use most often in their courses for blogging, digital archives and data visualizations, digital mapping and GIS, digital storytelling, and e-portfolios. Each student selected one of these tracks for their first area of focus. In addition to developing technical skills, an important part of the training program has been to help students consider tools and skills in the context of digital identity and digital literacy as well as learn to help mentor fellow students effectively. This semester, the DLAs began offering drop-in hours to assist students, while also continuing their training in both technology and peer teaching. As they continue to develop these skills using the online course or lynda.com tutorials, they simultaneously develop their own websites in preparation for a campus-wide launch of Domain of One’s Own.

Our program has been guided by our shared interests in fostering student agency, developing communities for peer learning, and growing critical digital literacy skills and perspectives. We have been inspired by our institution’s rich peer learning culture, as well as similar projects at other institutions like University of Mary Washington’s Digital Knowledge Center.