Introduction to Italian Opera MOOC

This fall, the staff at the Paddock Music Library have the pleasure of being included on the course development team for the Introduction to Italian Opera MOOC (massive open online course) taught by Steve Swayne. This post will take a close look at the MOOC-building process, starting with the planning of the course by the professor through the interaction of the teaching assistants with students.

Meet the Team:

The MOOC and the Library

Throughout the process, the Library’s role has grown to include many more duties than are usual with Dartmouth courses. As is the case with regular Dartmouth courses, the Library helps to locate, purchase, and prepare the content for access. However, the creation of this course has been unique in that the entire course team (faculty, instructional designer, media specialists, and librarians) have been involved in the planning, implementation, and review from the very beginning. Because the Opera MOOC has been a collaborative project, all team members not only offer their special skills but also support the work of one another through regular team consultation and stepping in when assistance is needed.

We asked instructor Steve Swayne to give us his perspective on the Library’s involvement in the creation of this course:

What has been unique about creating content for the MOOC as opposed to creating content for Dartmouth courses?

First of all, I had to rethink the order of the content. I usually begin my opera class with an introductory lecture about opera in the movies; that lecture usually takes two whole hours and uses a lot of film clips. After that, I start at the very beginning with Florence leading to Monteverdi. I felt I couldn’t start the MOOC that way, so I chose instead to look at one opera for an entire week—something I don’t do in my survey of opera—and then go back in time. It was a delight to talk about Le nozze di Figaro in this way, and I look forward to incorporating some of the first week of the MOOC into my residential course on opera.

How has your support from the Library been different in the planning of this course as opposed to your usual courses at Dartmouth?

I usually do all of my own bibliographic work when I’m teaching. I might go to a librarian for help in digitizing a resource, but I’m pretty good at tracking down materials I want to use for the course. It’s been a godsend to have Pat Fisken take over many of the bibliographic aspects of the MOOC. For example, we have what we call “baseball cards” for many of the significant persons involved in Italian opera. Pat compiled the information about their years of birth and death, their places where they worked, their best-known operas, and additional facts about their lives. She also located open source images for us to use here and elsewhere. What a relief not to have to do all that work on my own!

Do you think your support from the Library will change for your on-campus courses after the experience of working together on the MOOC? If so, how?

I wish I knew the answer to this question. One thing I imagine might occur is that Pat and other librarians will step up and make recommendations to me and to other faculty about ways they can assist us in providing additional materials for our teaching. But I have to say: the folks in Paddock have always been great in providing support for what I do.

Throughout the process of selecting recordings for the lectures, you have clearly been an advocate for using recordings that best exhibit the themes you touch on in the course. Have your views changed regarding the rigidity of copyright laws when it comes to using content for academic purposes? Do those views differ when it comes to using content in an on-campus course versus in a free online course?

I have tried to treat the content for the MOOC in the same way that I treat content for my residential courses. I understand the reflex of rights holders to want to license the distribution of their content. At the same time, I believe in the Fair Use Doctrine in copyright law, and I’ve long felt that we in academia have been afraid to exercise this doctrine to its fullest extent. In terms of this massive open online environment, I see an opportunity for rights holders to interest students in accessing and purchasing their content outside of the MOOC. I don’t see what I’m doing as a threat to their income stream. If anything, I feel I’m increasing their potential market, and I do hope that some of our students will elect to buy either access to streamed media or the physical media (CDs, DVDs) we use for examples.

The Course Development Process

processinfographicFirst, Steve writes and presents the lectures which are recorded by Daniel and Sawyer. Then, recordings are selected, digitized, cited, and embedded into the video lectures. David formats the recordings. Daniel and Sawyer edit the lectures into a series of approximately six minute clips and design graphics. They integrate the graphics and the digitized recordings into these smaller lectures. The smaller lectures are then sent to the entire team for review. The team shares their suggestions and changes are integrated into the final versions of the videos. Pat creates the citations as well as the content for a series of digital flash cards which students use to test their knowledge of operas, their composers, and new vocabulary. Memory compiles a list of online resources from which students can access the operas. Adam puts all of the lectures, assignments, announcements, and resources into the edX platform. Once the content is live, Susana, Adam, and Memory engage students through discussion posts and social media.

Course Resources

Once the lectures and excerpts have been integrated, resources for viewing full-length operas are found and made available to non-Dartmouth students. Dartmouth students have a number of reliable resources for viewing operas at their fingertips, including Alexander Street’s Video Library, the MetHD broadcasts, Met On Demand, the Naxos Video Library, and of course, our CDs and DVDs here in Paddock. One of our biggest challenges is helping the 6,000 (and growing!) students enrolled in the course who are not affiliated with the College to gain access to similar resources.

During Week Zero of the course, nicknamed the Course Overture, we provided non-Dartmouth students with a number of options for gaining access to opera. Some of the resources we recommend are free, including public libraries, Culturebox France, and the Opera Platform. Others, like memberships to Opera America and the Met On Demand require a fee. We are building a community of students who will be able not only to discuss the material we provide but who are also able to exchange resources beyond those the course team has recommended. Since the course has launched, we have found that most non-Dartmouth students are using YouTube to find full-length operas. The students often share their favorite productions via our recommender tool.

Student Engagement

In the most simple of explanations, MOOCs consist of a series of short video lectures streamed online. One staff member infamously asked the question, “What’s the difference between a MOOC and a PBS documentary?” When the OperaX team heard this question, it was met mostly with knowing laughter. Nothing against Ken Burns or Neil Degrasse Tyson, but MOOCs are light-years away from documentaries. The main difference lies in the engagement factor. The team has created assignments for the students, answered students’ questions during live office hours, and encouraged peer review. This MOOC breaks down the barrier between the lecture podium and the students in their desks. We aren’t just having students memorize facts. We are giving them a call to action. Listen to this opera once, listen to it twice, talk about it, go to a live performance of it, share a picture of you going to it, make a friend and take them to it, too!engagementengagement2

So, now that we’re pros, here’s your call to action:

1. Sign up for a MOOC at edX.org. It doesn’t even have to be our MOOC but hey, that would be great!

2. Learn something awesome about a subject you’re interested in. While you’re busy learning about something awesome, notice how you’re learning it.

3. Tell us about your experience in the comments section below!

The OperaX team strikes their best operatic pose at the course launch celebration.

Jay Gatsby Goes to College

The most recent “For Your Enrichment” column in Reference & User Services Quarterly (RUSQ 55:1, Fall 2015) features a piece by our colleagues Laura Barrett, Ridie Ghezzi, and Jay Satterfield.

In “For Your Enrichment: Jay Gatsby Goes to College” Laura, Ridie, and Jay describe Dartmouth’s First Year Student Enrichment Program (FYSEP) and the Library’s role in the 8 day pre-orientation for the participating first generation college students.

The Great Gatsby first edition in Rauner Library

The Great Gatsby first edition in Rauner Library

ABSTRACT:  Jay Gatsby, the main character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby, is a self-made man. He entered St. Olaf College in Minnesota but then dropped out during his first term because of the humiliating circumstances of his poverty. Gatsby’s flight from college contrasts with the Ivy League education of Fitzgerald’s narrator, Nick Carraway, the Yale graduate better equipped to navigate East Egg’s social world. Gatsby’s experience is still relevant today: while the transition to higher education is often difficult for young people, it is especially so for first-generation students. Many students can call on the experiences of family members to help them acclimate to the college environment, but first-generation students lack a road map for academic success and social comfort in what can feel like an alien world. These students often face even greater hurdles at highly selective institutions such as Dartmouth College, where expectations for academic achievement are high and the social climate is often unfamiliar.

Read the full article here.

FYSEP in 2015:

FYSEP '19s

FYSEP Class of 2019

Students’ Civil War Research on Display in Rauner Library

Students in Professor Colleen Boggs’s “Civil War Literatures” senior seminar this spring used a wide range of materials held in Rauner Special Collections Library to extend their study of literature beyond poetry and prose of the era. Their work has culminated in three exhibitions currently on display in Rauner.

“‘We love to tie our exhibit spaces to student projects,’ says Special Collections Librarian Jay Satterfield. ‘It offers students a whole new way to present their research. Student-curated exhibits offer a real-world challenge by demanding that students communicate their ideas to the general public in a meaningful way. This is something that many people in the academic world find very difficult but is so essential to what we do.'”

Read the full article, published 6/12/15 by Dartmouth Now.

Library Teaching Quarterly: SU14

Keeping you up to date with Library teaching and outreach activities.

Evidence-Based Medicine Training for Medical Residents

DHMC residents
Image courtesy of DHMC

Every July new residents begin their medical training at academic medical centers across the country. The list of mandated competencies for residents to master includes information management and searching skills. Librarians from the Biomedical Libraries teach residents at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center how to identify appropriate information resources for looking up diseases and conditions, as well as how to effectively search and critically appraise the journal literature for the best evidence to support clinical decisions. Librarians participate in residents’ journal clubs, teach workshops and present at grand rounds, and go on patient rounds with teams of attending physicians, residents, and medical students. Working with librarians at the “point of care” provides residents with meaningful teaching opportunities necessary for lifelong learning in medicine.

Open Access icon
Image courtesy of Open Access Week

Faculty and Librarians Explore Open Access

Ellen Finnie Duranceau, of MIT’s Office of Scholarly Publishing, Copyright & Licensing, is working with us this summer on ways to enhance our teaching and outreach about scholarly communication issues such as open access policies and authors’ rights.  Ellen is facilitating a workshop for library liaisons on ways to apply deep knowledge of faculty publishing in both formal and informal teaching environments.  Ellen also is offering a workshop on “Your Rights to Your Published Works” for 35 Dartmouth community members. This workshop addresses a question that impacts the ways teaching and research materials can be shared:  “Can I post my publications in full text on… my web site, my departmental website, the institutional web site, my course site, sharing sites such as Mendeley and Academia.org, etc.? ”  Participants will discover that the answer involves understanding publishing contracts, publisher policies regarding access to the works, and public access to scholarly and scientific research required by funding organizations.  If you would like a customized version of this workshop for your department or research group, please contact Barbara DeFelice.

Tuck Bridge Program

Tuck School of Business
Image courtesy of the Tuck Bridge Program

The Tuck Business Bridge Program is an intensive, fast-track summer program. Over a four-week period, students study all the major MBA subject areas, from Financial Accounting and Corporate Finance, to Leadership, Strategy and Business Ethics. The program culminates with a massive corporate valuation project.  Feldberg librarians have been helping Bridge students navigate the myriad business databases  essential to this project every year for the past eighteen years. The librarians look forward to working with these enthusiastic students year after year.

The Tuck Business Bridge Program runs two sessions over the summer:  June 9 – July 3 and July 14 – August 8. Additionally, this year for the first time, they will run a  3-week session in winter: December 1-19, 2014.

Baker Tower
Contributors: Cynthia Stewart (Evidence-Based Medicine), Barbara DeFelice (Open Access), and Richard Felver (Tuck Bridge Program).
Editors: Sarah Tischer Scully and Laura Barrett

Goings on in The Book Arts Workshop!!

There have been a lot of things going on recently in the Book Arts Workshop.

Artist Angela Lorenz visited the Book Arts
Workshop and presented her work to Esme
Thompson’s Collage class.

Kate Emlen’s Drawing 1 Class came in to combine some
letterpress printing with their drawings.

In the fall, we went on an automnal letterpress excursion to two fabulous 
shops in Vermont-Heather Hale’s and Kelly McMahon’s. 
Heather showed us how her Heidelberg press works.

This student is pretty happy with
the poster she just made.
She was even happier with
 this version!

Lots of red in this holiday card.
Alex Halasz’s History of the Book
 class has been working in the studios
 producing a group book with
the theme of word play.

The beginnings of a student’s holiday card with
some amazing ornaments she discovered in our shop.

We had a holiday card-printing extravaganza
that resulted in more happy printers!

Here is one of the student’s type
set for the Word Play book. Can you see
the shape her type forms?
Two pages of the class book on the
press ready to print.
Another page spread from the History of the Book Word Play class book.
A student quickly printing with our “new” Golding
Official Platen Press.

Posters from Hatch Show Print and Yee-Haw Industries on display for the Book Arts
Talk with Snacks about Sarah Smith’s time at these two venerable letterpress
shops in Tennessee.

Kresge Physical Sciences Library hosted a
Geeky Valentine workshop in the
Book Arts Workshop.

Preparations for a Winter Carnival
poster-printing extravaganza.
The first proof pulled off the
Winter Carnival Poster on the
Washington Hand Press outside 
the Book Arts Workshop.


                                    A finished poster printed by a happy Carnivaler.

Written by Sarah M. Smith

They Are At It Again!

Students who take Government 85.12, Military Statecraft in International Relations, are looking for ways to disrupt a country’s infrastructure and they use maps to do it. There are places in the world students want to invade (hypothetically) and they use resources in the Evans Map Room to find out about those places. They look at the hot spots of the world and figure out what they can do to make matters better or sometimes worse.

Here are a few examples of the places they have looked:

For more information about hot spots in the world, see Trouble Spots: the World Atlas of Strategic Information by Andrew Duncan.

Map images are courtesy of the Perry-Castaneda Map Library at the University of Texas, Austin.

A Novel Approach: Teaching Research through Narrative

The Dartmouth College Archives are full of great stories. With a history as long and varied as ours, there is always something interesting to uncover.

Charles "Stubbie" Pearson '42

Charles “Stubbie” Pearson ’42

We tend to get most excited when we find a story with good teaching or research potential. A favorite is the life of Charles “Stubbie” Pearson ’42, a tragic hero in the history of Dartmouth College. He was the 1942 valedictorian, captain of the football and basketball teams, a poet, scholar, and inspirational leader on campus. Along with dozens of his classmates, he joined the Navy upon graduation and became a Navy pilot. In 1944 he was killed in action in the Pacific while dive-bombing an enemy ship.

Several years ago, Special Collections Librarian Jay Satterfield worked with Stephanie Boone in the Writing program to develop a class session where students puzzled out Stubbie’s life history as a way to help them understand the construction of narrative and to highlight the use of primary sources in building research projects.

The exercise grew out of Stephanie’s request to find primary sources that would help her students understand the cultural milieu of World War II, the setting of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient, to show them a new way to read the novel, and to show them the use of primary sources in understanding and constructing narratives. Importantly, it demonstrated how finding the story in sources leads to exciting research questions that students do not anticipate.  They begin to see how the gaps in narratives generate some of the most compelling research experiences. In fact, over the six years that we’ve used this exercise, students experience this trip to Special Collections as literally their first experience in using primary sources. Coming face to face with Stubbie’s story allows students to identify with Stubbie and to understand the cultural context of Dartmouth, common ground on which both Stubbie and the students stand.

Importantly, this exercise underscores the value of the collaboration between librarians and professors, one that creates a new kind of space for intellectual enrichment. Out of this particular collaboration, Stephanie and Jay recently wrote up the experience, which has been published in Past or Portal?: Enhancing Undergraduate Learning through Special Collections and Archives (New York: ACRL, 2012).