Looking Back – Digital Pedagogy Institute 2015: Improving the Student Experience

by Paulina Rousseau

On August 19th – 21st 2015, the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) Library, in collaboration with Brock University and Ryerson University, hosted the second iteration of the Digital Pedagogy Institute: Improving the Student Experience, at UTSC’s Instructional Center. (The third iteration of the conference was recently hosted by the University of Guelph in May, 2016.)

The 2015 conference welcomed faculty members, librarians, instructional technologists, and undergraduate and graduate students from Canadian and U.S. institutions, and offered a rich variety of plenary speakers presenting a variety of perspectives on Digital Pedagogy. These included Nora Young, CBC Radio host of Spark and author of The Virtual Self, Geoffrey Rockwell, Director of the Kule Institute for Advanced Study (University of Alberta), Diane Jakacki, Digital Scholarship Coordinator at Bucknell University, Miriam Posner, Coordinator of the Digital Humanities Program at UCLA, and Sam Popowich, Discovery Systems Librarian (University of Alberta). In addition to this breadth of plenaries, the conference included numerous sessions, panels, roundtables, tours, and digital scholarship tool workshops, which included Drupal, Islandora, Fusion Tables, Zotero, Voyant (with Geoffrey Rockwell, one of the tool’s creators), amongst others. These workshop modules are available on the Intitute’s website, and are covered by a Creative Commons license that allows for the re-purposing of materials. Additionally, the conference hosted the inaugural meeting of Digital Scholarship Ontario.

The conference explored:

  • how digital research methodologies can be used to improve student learning and engagement;
  • what the best methods for teaching students digital skills are so that they can actively participate in knowledge creation, the mobilization of digital research, and what instructional strategies have proven successful in order to do so;
  • what political and ideological decisions educators and institutions must consider in planning both teaching and research;
  • how faculty can shift from simply transmitting knowledge to facilitating collaborative learning – co-inquiring and co-learning with students via activity-centered or project-based learning.

 

A majority of the plenaries and sessions were filmed. Alongside the session materials, they are available as proceedings through the Institute’s website.

The success of the conference was largely owing to the enthusiastic participation of the attendees. The Digital Pedagogy Institute would not have been possible without the generous support of Victoria Owen, Chief Librarian of the University of Toronto Scarborough Library, the Humanities Research Institute, Brock University, numerous departments at Ryerson University, and a SSHRC Connections Grant.

Please stay tuned for announcements related to the fourth iteration of the Digital Pedagogy Instiute to be held in 2017. And to learn more about the recent third iteration of the conference, click here.

Paulina Rousseau is a Liaison Librarian for the Arts, Culture, and Media, and City Studies departments at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. She has been involved in the planning of the Digital Pedagogy Institute for the last three years.

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