The Colgate Scene
November 1998
Table of contents
Joint learning across the ocean
by Dierk Hoffmann
Professor of German
[IMAGE]
Professor Dierk Hoffmann meets his students in the Max Kade German Center. He has been a leader in using technology in teaching in the humanities.
Greg Steinmetz's image was broadcast via satellite from Berlin to Colgate and towered on a large screen in front of the students of a German class who participated in a pilot project sponsored by the Mellon and the Kade Foundations: Joint Learning across the Ocean. In the global virtual classroom, walls have become translucent, space and time irrelevant.

     Foreign language study helped Steinmetz '86 win his job as the European correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, based in Berlin. Knowing German, he said, is absolutely necessary to understand the intricacies of the German society.

     Through the new Remote Collaboration Facility, Colgate faculty teach classes at other institutions (Ross Ferlito taught Italian from the Colgate facility to a class of students at Hamilton College), just as our students engage in lively discussions with speakers from around the world. Alumni like Steinmetz share their experiences and give advice -- and do so in a foreign tongue.

     Videoconferencing also allows foreign language classes to imitate Fred Busch's "Living Writers Series." Instead of coming to Colgate, foreign writers travel to a studio in their home country and discuss their work with Colgate students via satellite.

     The technical possibilities are fascinating. But so are the pedagogical. The monologue of the traditional teacher is enriched by the views of participants from abroad who "sit" in the classroom via NetMeeting. Their image appears on a computer in the classroom. But they are very much present. The classroom has become a global one.

     Videoconferencing and NetMeeting are only one part of this new mosaic. The traditional Web is another. Bringing a deluge of information, the Web is the ultimate source for all levels of language instruction and culture: authentic, stimulating and accessible.

     Motivation is the ultimate key to language learning. If there is a reason and a clear goal, the grey cells that refused before to store another item suddenly soak up the new information. Freiburg students who want to become German teachers write web-based learning modules and Colgate students get the most updated electronic textbook from young authors who understand their interests. Both sides are teachers and students at the same time.

     Future collaboration will extend to all areas of the curriculum. German-speaking historians linked with German historians; German-speaking economists with German economists; etc. Foreign language study will open doors for others as it did for Greg Steinmetz in his pursuit of an outstanding international career.


Computing in the classroom
More perspective than I know what to do with
by Charles H. Holbrow, Charles A. Dana Professor of Physics

Joint learning across the ocean
by Dierk Hoffmann, Professor of German
A tale of two classes and the Web
by Jun Yoshino, Associate Professor of Psychology
Computers and classical archaeology
by Rebecca Miller Ammerman, Associate Professor of the Classics
Ecrire La Fontaine: technology for teaching literature
by John Gallucci, Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures
Enhancing student presentations
by Michael Haines, Professor of Economics


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