Seven Digitally Engaged Courses Launched at CODEX Summer Institute

Posted on August 5, 2020

We're all learning to use technology effectively in this time of remote instruction. Digital practices can also impact student learning, build transferable skills, and create new knowledge. That’s the premise of the Collaborative for Digital Engagement and Experience (CODEX), a four-year course development project sponsored by the Ohio Five.

On July 13-17, seven instructional teams from Ohio Five colleges gathered virtually to design or redesign their courses. They incorporated methods such as GIS mapping, text analysis, and data visualization to promote student-faculty collaboration, active learning, and new ways to approach course materials. The teams will introduce the new courses on their home campuses during the 20-21 academic year.

Co-led by Ben Daigle, Ohio Five Director of Consortial Library Systems and Heather Fitz Gibbon, Professor of Sociology and former Dean of Faculty Development at the College of Wooster, the CODEX Summer Institute included sessions in course design, assessment development, mapping, and student engagement, as well as ample time for teams to work together on their projects. Alex Alderman, Instructional Designer from Kenyon College, Janine Glathar, Digital Pedagogy and Scholarship Specialist in GIS and Spatial Thinking from Bucknell University, and Sundi Richard, Assistant Director of Digital Learning from Davidson College, led plenary workshops which were made available to all Ohio Five faculty via video conference and are recorded here.

I’m a newbie in many ways to the digital ecosystem so I’m really excited. This week has been really energizing for me. I’ve gotten to see a lot of what’s possible that I didn’t know was possible.” – Stephanie Merkel, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Ohio Wesleyan University

It was just such a great opportunity to work together on this, to draw on all the various expertise from librarians, faculty, and EdTech support and really get a sense for how we can get this really powerful module example moving forward in our teaching” – Katie Holt, Associate Professor of History and Latin American Studies, College of Wooster

This week has been so helpful. All of your contributions and workshops and discussions and questions have helped us really think about our project and take it to the next level.” – Larissa Fekete, Coordinator and Instructor of ESOL, Oberlin College

It was wonderful to work as a team together with librarians and faculty [and] really think about what the fall might look like for us… I’ll use this foundational building block to build towards a digital project in my fall course, but the idea that they can be shared across faculty and across institutions I think is great” – Jennifer Hayward, Professor of English, College of Wooster

The instructional teams, led by a faculty member and often including an instructional technologist, digital initiatives librarian, and a student, completed the institute with a “curricular package” incorporating learning objectives, assessments and assignments, and prototypes of digital modules or projects. CODEX offers additional support to complete the courses’ development and launch new ones, including on-campus workshops, microgrants to fund continued work on the courses, faculty attendance at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) or other conferences centered on digital pedagogy, and check-ins and evaluations during the academic year. Faculty members can post their curricular packages, released under Creative Commons licenses, on the CODEX online repository for continued development, reuse, and collaboration with other scholars. More information about the 2020 CODEX teams and their courses is available from the CODEX website, and a recording of the cohort’s team presentations is available on the Ohio Five YouTube channel.

Ohio Five’s novel approach to developing open, continuously revised digitally-engaged courses attracted a grant of $250,000, announced on June 18, from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, long a champion of open educational resources. The Ohio Five grant, which will investigate how the new courses affect learning outcomes and how best to support the collaborative teams developing the new courses, aligns with the Foundation’s recent focus on open educational resource assessment.

The CODEX project, developed by a cross-college Ohio Five committee of faculty members, deans, technologists, and librarians during 2018-19, is based on five years of digital scholarship collaborative work at the Ohio Five, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 45 individual research and classroom projects developed by Ohio Five faculty paved the way for next-stage course design collaboration. CODEX will repeat its summer institutes, workshops, mini-grant programs, DHSI faculty support annually throughout the project, which is slated to conclude on June 30, 2024.

The Ohio Five will be facilitating workshops centered on platforms for digital projects and on topics in digital pedagogy. Details and registration will be announced in mid- September 2020.