Sponsored by the Digital Liberal Arts Collaborative and the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment, this year’s Teaching With Technology Fair features a wide range of digital projects.

Learning by Doing: Software Design and Development

Barbara Johnson (Computer Science), Nate Williams ’20

Our software design and development course (CSC 324) combines learning software engineering principles with a semester-long practicum in which students apply these concepts as they work with each other on development teams, with alumni mentors who are currently working as software engineers, and with non-profit organizations (who function as clients) from outside of Grinnell College. Students gain valuable knowledge and experience while the non-profit organizations gain custom software that the student teams produce.

Haitian Art: A Digital Crossroads

Fredo Rivera (Art and Art History), TJ Calhoun ’20, Margaret Coleman ’20, Sophie Doddimeade ’21

HADC is an NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources foundational grant project and a collaboration between Grinnell College Libraries and the Waterloo Center for the Arts. The grant is a two prong project: first, we are working with Waterloo to plan the digitization of their art collection, which includes the largest public collection of Haitian art; secondly, we are working with specialists to consider needs and potential collaborations within Haitian art history. Student researchers have documented the field of Haitian art, worked with a photographer to consider best practices in documenting Haitian art, and worked with faculty and staff to consider online platforms. The grant will culminate in a workshop in March, 2020, which will bring scholars, museum professionals, and digital archivists to Grinnell and Waterloo.

Using Games to Teach Statistics and Data Science

Shonda Kuiper (Mathematics and Statistics), James Msekala ’20, Dev Nalwa ’20, Liam Liden ’21, Ryuta Kure ’21

We will demonstrate web-based games that introduce high school and undergraduate students to statistical methods from a variety of disciplines. In addition to demonstrating the games, we provide investigative lab modules that present a research question in the context of a case study and encourage students to follow a complete process of statistical analysis. These labs are designed to 1) foster a sense of engagement, 2) have a low threat of failure early on but create a challenging environment that grows with the students’ knowledge, 3) create realistic, adaptable, and straightforward models representing current research in a variety of disciplines, and 4) provide an intrinsic motivation for students to want to learn.

Using Interactive Visualizations to Understand Weighted Data

Shonda Kuiper (Mathematics and Statistics), Pam Fellers (Mathematics and Statistics)

We have created several online apps and corresponding student handouts that can be used in any class that analyzes survey data. The resources focus on understanding why weights are needed, how to incorporate weights into an analysis, and how they can easily be misinterpreted.

The Ankommen App Project

Claire Scott (German Studies)

As a part of the course “Contemporary Germany Through Media” we examined the Ankommen App, a resource sponsored by the German government that is designed to help integrate refugees into German life. Students noted stereotypes and shortcomings in the depiction of Germany and the refugees in the app, and so they designed their own webpages to supplement the existing content.

The Viking Meadhall Project

Tim Arner (English) Justin Thomas (Theater and Dance), David Neville (Digital Liberal Arts Specialist)

The VR Heorot project is developing an immersive experience that would allow students to explore Heorot, the meadhall from the Old Engish poem Beowulf that provides the setting for much of the narrative. The team has based its model on archeological excavations of meadhalls in Denmark, England, and Iceland as well as accounts from historical and poetic records from the early Middle Ages. The project will help modern readers of Anglo-Saxon poetry, especially Beowulf, to better understanding the civic spaces that helped shape Anglo-Saxon social structures. The VR meadhall will be populated with people and objects important to understanding the setting of the poem and it will give participants a sense of space, allowing them to see how the layout of the hall contributes to its function as a political and social arena. The VR Heorot project will help student researchers and users understand how the space of the meadhall functions in Anglo-Saxon and medieval Scandinavian culture, analyze how the space of the meadhall functions in Beowulf and its analogues, locate northern European cultures within a global network of trade and cultural influence, and consider how movement through physical space is defined by and reinforces social roles in a particular cultural context.

Podcast: An Audio Dissection of a Text / Infographic: An Illustrated Annotated Bibliography

Joshua Marshack (Anthropology), Julia Tlapa ’22

“Podcast: An Audio Dissection of a Text” is inspired by the groundbreaking work of Emily Martin in “The Egg and the Sperm” (1991), which showed that even ostensibly neutral scientists are influenced by the social norms, biases, and misconceptions of the wider culture in which they live. Mirroring her analysis of gender stereotypes embedded in the scientific language used to describe reproductive biology, students examine similar phenomena in a contemporary or historical scientific text of their choosing. Given this project’s focus on language, it takes the form of a three to five minute podcast consisting of an audio essay or monologue, an interview, etc. 

“Infographic: An Illustrated Annotated Bibliography,” uses Nina Jablonski’s (2012) approach, drawing on both biological and cultural anthropology, to create an illustrated, annotated bibliography, i.e., infographic, analyzing the natural and social history of a body part, food item, or product of human material culture (tool, artifact, work of art, architectural structure etc.). One of the challenges of this project is to employ visual imagery without reproducing the exploitative images and forces we are trying to deconstruct. 

The Commercialization of Ayurveda: From Asia to the United States

Yujing Chen (Religious Studies), Valencia Alvarez ’20, Carson Peters ’20, Hallela Hinton-Williams ’21

The video project analyzes how Ayurveda has been transformed from Asian religious healing practices into newly commercialized products in the West. This project includes the interview of the Ayreuda spa in Fairfield, Iowa, which is 90 miles from Grinnell. The research finds that although capitalism serves as a mechanism for Ayurveda to enter the global sphere, the capitalist system also impacts religious healing.

Digital Story Assignment in Tutorial

Elaine Marzluff (Chemistry)

This project will showcase a final tutorial assignment in my tutorial on Environmental Responsibility, where students create digital stories to educate the general audience about environmental issues. A series of scaffolding assignments to help students will be presented.

Data Analysis with Tableau and R Shiny

Jarren Santos, Denali Carpenter

Tableau is a data-driven software package that enables exploration and analytics of spreadsheets, databases, and other data sources. R is a popular statistical programming language that is used extensively in statistics and data science. Adding the Shiny package on top of the capabilities of R has enabled quick application development for use in classroom instruction, assignments, and research.


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