Set Your Sights on SITETL
Maxwell School Associate Professor Anne Mosher took the initiative to participate in the 2014 Summer Institute for Technology Enhanced Teaching and Learning (SITETL) after one of her students suggested building a website to share ideas and information about the field of geography.
“I thought this was a great idea, but had no idea how to accomplish it. That is why I went to SITETL. To learn how to do it!” says Mosher.
SITETL is a weeklong program designed for faculty members who are looking to experiment with the use of technology to support teaching and learning. The unique event allows participants to work alongside their colleagues from various disciplines to develop new skills and design content for their courses. SITETL is presented by Online Learning Services (OLS), a unit of Information Technology and Services (ITS).
For 2015, SITETL will be offered twice, from May 18-22, and again June 1- 5.
In the fall semester following her completion of SITETL, Mosher guided her students in their capstone project to design and build a website featuring their perspective on geography as a set of practices and interests. Her 17 students in GEO 491, “Senior Seminar in Geography,” built GeoCuse using Expressions, the University’s instance of WordPress, with technical support from OLS. The site invites potential geography majors at the University and in high school to explore information about the study of and careers in geography.
“I’m still in awe of what they have done,” says Mosher. “It captures the spirit of our department and their spirit as a group of students.”
GeoCuse went live Nov. 14, 2014, during Geography Awareness Week. It is the first website to feature the perspective of undergraduate geography students and has seen a steady increase in traffic. Through Feb. 24, GeoCuse had 2,605 visits, of which 1,938 were new users. Visitors are from 59 countries and 49 states. Along with faculty and students from other colleges and universities, there have been log-ins from state departments of education and public school systems, indications the site is reaching its intended audience. GeoCuse is one of National Geographic Education’s “Top 30” geography resources of 2014.
Mosher continues to implement web technologies as tools for her students. In her current course, GEO 564, “Urban Historical Geography,” students will design a website to host information on the history of infrastructure and public works in Syracuse and Central New York. Mosher is collaborating with OLS again for technical support.
“I was energized by the entire SITETL experience. Literature confirms that OLS’s approach is state-of-the-art. I loved collectively communicating philosophical issues with colleagues. And then, at the right moment the OLS staff would introduce technology to help enhance student engagement or to help ease tasks for us and provide more time for other aspects of the classroom,” says Mosher. “They had great attitudes and ideas about experimenting with technology.”
For more information, visit the SITETL website.