Since adding a local instance of WordPress two years ago, Middlebury students, faculty and staff have created hundreds of blogs. Every semester classes use our learning management system, Segue, to conduct online discussions.

MiddLab won't replace or replicate this activity. We don't want to build a single application that everyone needs to sign into and discuss their research. Rather, MiddLab will provide an aggregate view of the conversations occurring online relating to Middlebury course and project work.

To kick us off, here's a blogroll of some popular and interesting Middlebury and MIIS authors.

Teaching with Technology (5)

Teaching with Social Media

Thu, 12/08/2011 - 7:26pm

This is the second screencast published on this site that is based on an interview I did with Prof. Louisa Stein from the Film and Media Culture department.  In this screencast Prof. Stein discusses her course on Millennial Media.  In this course, students were required to create their own blogs and to post to Twitter.

To encourage students to read each other’s work, Prof. Stein created “blog collectives” and required students to comment on the blogs of students in their collective.  An additional site was set up for the course that aggregated posts from all student blogs using the FeedWordPress plugin.

Course Hub Case Studies

Thu, 12/01/2011 - 5:59pm

The Course Hub is a meta-platform for aggregating resources for a given course across a variety of platforms including WordPress and Moodle.  Below is a screencast showing how the Course Hub has been used in courses this fall.

Integrating Moodle and WordPress

Tue, 10/11/2011 - 10:59am

Louisa Stein is an assistant professor of Film and Media Culture who used both Moodle and WordPress in the spring of 2011 for a course on the “Aesthetics of the Moving Image.”  Prof. Stein used WordPress for the public face of this course and Moodle for the weekly outline of readings, online discussion and assignment submissions.  Watch the screencast below for more details.

Prof. Stein used WordPress for general information about the course including assignment descriptions (see: Assignments > Montage vs Long Take Wars).  These assignment descriptions then contained links to Moodle assignment “activities” where students could submit their assignments.  The WordPress site was also used as a place where students could blog about projects and share the videos they produced as part of their course work (see: Categories > Montage)

Prof. Stein used Moodle to distribute readings, collect assignment submissions and as a place for online discussion and used Moodle’s grading functionality to grade assignments and forum posts.

This screencast is the first in a series based on an interview Alex Chapin did with Louisa Stein in the spring of 2011. 

Middleverse de Español

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 3:16pm

What: Constructing a Virtual Social Space for Language Acquisition

Who: Maria Woolson, Research Associate and former Faculty Spanish & Portuguese Department

Class: All sections of Spanish 210, Intermediate Spanish Language I

Technology Used: Second Life

Number of students: approx. 80

Location: http://slurl.com/secondlife/teaching 6/55/166/26/


Clickers in a large lecture class – Catherine Combelles

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 1:54pm

What: Clickers (personal polling devices) in a large lecture class

Who: Catherine Combelles, Assistant Professor of Biology

Class: BIOL0145 Cell Biology and Genetics

Technology Used: Personal Polling Devices (Clickers)

Number of students: approx. 70

Learning objective: To monitor the students’ understanding of concepts covered in lecture and promote peer learning and discussion.

Description of use: Catherine used the clickers for every lecture from day 1 to the last day of classes, and throughout the duration of each lecture. At the beginning of each lecure, she started with a question that tested their understanding of concepts from the past lecture or on their readings for the day. She would then pose between 3-4 more questions depending on the lecture content that day.

All of Catherine’s questions were prepared beforehand; she never created questions on the fly (although she would like to play with that in the future). She sometimes skipped a question if it became clear that it was not needed based on the students’ understanding. But typically, she asked all of the questions she had prepared. She would pose a question, let students answer on their own, then show the class how all students answered before showing the correct answer. If the answers were too spread out, without satisfactory agreement throughout the class, Catherine would have the students talk among themselves and convince their peers of their choice before re-answering. During the students’ discussion, she would walk around, listen, gauge what the learning issues may have been and answer or prompt further questions.  With the help of this peer learning, the goal was to get most of the class to re-answer correctly.

Catherine says that the toughest part in all of this was writing good questions. Otherwise, she felt it was a fantastic way to pace the lecture, break at key points, check on students’ understanding before moving on, and trigger discussion on tougher questions that might be subject to interpretation.

Assessment: This technology proved very effective and helpful. Catherine will use the clickers again next year. Students responded positively to clicker use in their evaluations.  They reported that the clickers were a fun way to stay engaged in lecture, raise quesitons and keep up with the material. There were criticisms about the quality of some of the questions, but the overwhelming feedback Catherine received was to continue using them.

This technology could potentially be used in a variety of lecture courses.  Catherine would be happy to be approached by anyone that would like to learn more about them.


How Do I… » Data Collection and Analysis » Survey/Polls

Tools » Clickers