Jewish eLearning Fellowship Brings Together Institutions From Across Denominations

July 26, 2013 9:10 am 0 comments

From left to right: Hebrew Union College, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Yeshiva University, all in New York City. The institutions are all part of the new Jewish eLearning Faculty Fellowship. Photo: Jim Henderson via Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – With the rise of numerous open online courses such as Khan Academy, Coursera, and other digital platforms, universities are feeling a greater need to embrace new technology as would-be students seek out more modern, effective ways to learn. To help the Jewish community adapt to the times, the new eLearning Faculty Fellowship aims to cultivate creativity and collaboration regarding the use of educational technology at higher education institutions across the denominational spectrum.

The fellowship, run by Columbia University’s Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL), brings together faculty members at the Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education of the Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative), Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (Reform), and Yeshiva University (Orthodox).

“I’ve always been interested in developing my own digital literacy and want to help my students learn responsible practices in and out of the classroom. The fellowship was a great opportunity to learn some new platforms on my own and bring that to my students,” Dr. Barbara Mann, associate professor of Jewish Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary, told JNS.org.

Sponsored by major grants of $15 million to each participating institution as part of the Inter-Institutional eLearning Collaborative of the Jim Joseph Foundation—a private foundation incorporated in 2005 that has awarded more than $267 million, largely in the field of Jewish education—the fellowship began with its first cohort in early May.

“The participants are expected to practice using these tools and eventually develop an educational project that seeks to improve their teaching using technologies explored,” Maurice Matiz, vice executive director and director of technology at CCNMTL, told JNS.org.

Mann said that one of the projects that she will be working on as part of the program is introducing blogging to her students. She sees this as an opportunity for her and her students to learn more about the powerful platform, as well as improve their writing skills.

“Over the year the cohort will participate in five in-person sessions and five online [at-your-own-pace] sessions,” Matiz said.

As part of the ongoing course, the participants will be exposed to some of the leading experts and cutting-edge tools in educational technology.

“The group, led by our educational technologists, Dan Beeby and Tucker Harding, has already looked at a number of annotation tools such as NB (http://nb.mit.edu) and AnnotateIt (http://annotateit.org/). The group has also been exposed to platforms such as Canvas, Wikispaces, and Google Docs,” Matiz said.

Ever since the rise of the personal computer in the 1980s, educators have touted their belief that the use of technology in the classroom would revolutionize education. Yet some have questioned technology’s actual impact, given the enormous sums of money spent to bring laptops, tablets and other software tools into the classroom. According to a June 2013 report on online education technology in The Economist, the latest innovations may finally bring about a revolution in education.

“A number of big changes are coming at the same time: high-speed mobile networks, cheap tablet devices, the ability to process huge amounts of data cheaply, sophisticated online gaming and adaptive-learning software,” writes The Economist.

For Jewish educators, the eLearning Faculty Fellowship seeks to create a collaborative environment among some of the premier Jewish institutions in the U.S., to learn and evaluate a variety of different educational technology tools that will help educators, students, and institutions stay ahead of the curve.

“There is no doubt that technology is changing higher education,” Matiz said. “We just hope to influence the change to be on the side of student learning. That is, continually highlight the possibilities to improve cognitive gains rather than thinking of technology as simply a delivery system. The latter is important and necessary for dealing with scale and cost, but we must advocate the use of these technologies to engage, motivate, and inspire students, many of whom come to higher education already experienced at using advanced technologies in their high schools.”

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater 10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    Last month, my one-man show Hoaxocaust! Written and performed by Barry Levey with the generous assistance of the Institute for Political and International Studies, Tehran ran in the New York International Fringe Festival, where it won an Overall Excellence Award. The play has now been selected to run in the Fringe Encores Series at Baruch College’s Performing Arts Center, for four performances which started on Thursday, September 11. Getting the play to the stage was not easy, however. Here are [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Phenomenon: Tel Aviv-based musician and “sampler” extraordinaire, Kutiman (aka Ophir Kutiel) has hit another one out of the park with “Give It Up,” a fully-functioning song in its own right, assembled from hundreds of ameteur and instructional music videos. The Jerusalem-born musical prodigy is best know for his diverse online musical projects. In the latest video, uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 12th, Kutiel thanked most of the musicians and individuals he chose to include in the meticulously-edited clip, which opens with [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    A recently released behind-the-scenes reel of Ridley Scott’s upcoming film Exodus: Gods and Kings shows just how far the director has gone to portray one of the Bible’s most famous narratives. In the clip, which shows scenes involving up to 4,000 extras, the visionary director discusses what drew him to the biblical tale of Moses. “The Moses story was a massive challenge, which I really love. I wanted to explore the complexity of his character and I was stunned by [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    JNS.org – Since 2006, the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable and satellite TV network has hosted “The Projected Image,” a month-long showcase examining how different cultural and ethnic groups have been portrayed on the big screen. At last, after previously covering African Americans, Asians, the LGBT community, Latinos, Native Americans, Arabs, and people with disabilities, the annual series is delving into Jewish film this month. “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film,” whose first segment aired Sept. 2, runs [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    The sight of young girls in pinafores and young boys wearing peyos – sidelocks – dangling over their ears is a sure sign that you have entered the enigmatic precincts of the Hasidim – the pious ones. Veteran New York Times journalist Joseph Berger’s new book, THE PIOUS ONES: The World of Hasidim and their Battles with America, takes the reader on a journey into the enclaves where various sects of Jews live a seemingly outmoded way of life in [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    JNS.org – Today’s comedy superstars, especially those whose careers are driven by television, may very well owe their success to pioneering Jewish entertainer Milton Berle. Born Mendel Berlinger in Manhattan in 1908, Berle became America’s first small-screen star. Aptly nicknamed “Mr. Television,” he influenced and helped promote the work of hundreds of younger comics. “Milton Berle was deceptively successful and very Jewish,” says Lawrence Epstein, author of The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, published the year [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    JNS.org – Idan Ravin’s friends chipped in to buy him a humble but life-changing bar mitzvah gift—a basketball hoop his father attached to the roof of his garage. Little did his friends know that years later, he would be the personal trainer of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Stephen Curry. Ravin’s new book, “The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Head of Basketball’s Best Players,” details his rise from a Jewish upbringing [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.