Participants from 10 institutions will gather virtually from June 21 to 23 as Hamilton hosts the Liberal Arts Collaborative for Digital Innovation (LACOL) consortium-wide workshop “Play and Innovation.” LACOL partner colleges include Amherst, Bryn Mawr, Carleton, Davidson, Hamilton, Haverford, Swarthmore, Vassar, and Williams, along with Washington and Lee University.
Elizabeth Evans, LACOL director, described why this workshop is important. “After a year of extraordinarily hard work and ingenuity, it is an exciting moment to bring together faculty, staff, and students from across all the LACOL schools to share stories, insights, and ideas for future collaboration in the digital realm. Along with making some sense together out of our current moment in higher ed’s history, the workshop theme of ‘innovation and play’ gives participants a chance to explore the lighter and playful ways that digital engagement can enhance student learning and community.”
Workshop highlights will include keynote addresses by internationally known futurist and author Bryan Alexander speaking on Gaming and Liberal Education; Heather Pleasants, an educational consultant on experiential learning and assessment, discussing Reimagining the Future(s) of Learning: Play in Speculative Spaces; and MIT Department of Urban Studies Assistant Professor Catherine D’Ignazio on Data Feminism.
Also on the agenda are presentations on topics ranging from Digital Competencies with Classic Technologies: Employing Websites for Teaching and Learning to Creating Skill-based Learning Communities for Students. Workshops will include Team-Based Learning as Play and Innovative Partnerships: Digital Learning and Off-Campus Studies.
Hamilton’s Dean of Faculty Suzanne Keen called LACOL important because it “brings together a group of elite colleges that provide opportunities for students that we couldn’t have if we were working alone.”
As an example, Keen cited an online digital humanities and data science course that Hamilton students are taking this summer with fellow LACOL students. “It’s enhancing the opportunity for digital pedagogy, which is one of our strategic initiatives. All students — not just computer science — have access to courses to hone their analytic skills,” she said.
Digital technologies and modes of thinking continue to change the world. Hamilton is responding by instilling among its students the skills to communicate and work effectively in this environment.
Hamilton’s Associate Director for Digital Learning and Research Nhora Serrano, a member of the workshop steering committee, added, “We’re excited to see student participation throughout the three days — from participation in the panels and affinity groups to serving behind the scenes as integral support for the virtual workshop.”
Five of Hamilton’s digital media interns will provide tech support, another group of students from LACOL colleges will lead a session titled Dialogues Toward Anti-Racist Pedagogies and Equitable Assessment, and students participating in the LACOL summer course on digital humanities are required to attend D’Ignazio’s Data Feminism keynote.