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Marist College Named a Technology Innovator by Tech Magazine

Marist College Named a Technology Innovator by Tech Magazine

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y., Aug. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Marist College has been named one of 16 "Campus Technology Innovators" nationally by Campus Technology magazine. Approximately 500 colleges and universities were considered for inclusion in the magazine's August issue.

Marist achieved this national distinction in the area of podcasting. Magazine editors noted that Marist stood out from other institutions because Marist is the only college or university to have student-driven course content.

The magazine wrote, "Although educational podcasting is quickly spreading across colleges and universities as a great way for students to consume relevant content almost anywhere, Marist College is turning that model on its ear. Rather than replicating a traditional lecture format by loading students up with pre-recorded podcasts, Marist is forging a more constructive approach in which students themselves generate and share their own content."

The program is called the "Quest" learning model and was developed by what the magazine called "a remarkable collaboration among faculty, administration, the Office of Academic Technology, and the college's Media Center." Students last semester participated in the pilot program, called "iDentity Quest."

The idea sprang from Marist students studying abroad and taking Marist courses online while they were overseas to meet the academic requirements that could not be provided by the academic institutions in the host countries. Two professors turned 20 students, armed with iPods and microphones, into foreign correspondents.

"The students' 'Quest' was to study identity in a foreign environment to understand all the different aspects that form one's identity, beginning with the most important one, the native language," said Meg Franklin, assistant dean of academic affairs at Marist. "The students studied art, food, entertainment, and politics to see how our environment affects who we are, which in turns helps the students to fully explore their foreign community and get the best out of their study abroad experience."

Students were provided with Apple's iPod Photo, one of the only devices that can record and receive podcasts, before they left Marist to travel abroad. Griffin Technology's iTalk was used to add recording capabilities, and the company generously donated 20 units for the pilot program. The editing system used was produced by the company Audacity and is known for its ease of use.

The Office of Academic Technology and eLearning at Marist created a course "shell" or Web site in the college's course management system called Educator, developed by Ucompass, for use in the iDentity Quest project. The course environment was configured to support uploading of MP3 files directly by students. This online environment also supported the interactions between faculty and students and among students themselves via use of online discussion forums, email, and chat.

Staff and student workers from the Office of Academic Technology and eLearning, directed by Josh Baron, created a Web-based form that updated an RSS feed so any student in the course could add to the feed without knowledge of XML. Lee Walis, technical supervisor of Marist's Media Center, led the students through a series of pre-trip workshops on editing audio.

"Podcasting is usually thought of as a teacher-centered activity in which the teacher sends lectures to the students," said Kevin Gaugler, associate professor of modern languages and assistant dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Marist. "Our project is leveraging the collective intelligence of the students, combing cutting-edge, task-based approaches to teaching and learning with an approach to podcasting sometimes known as social podcasting or group podcasting."

"Previously, technology has been frowned upon in terms of study abroad programs because it was seen as a connection back to campus that students would use as a crutch, whereas this is a very different experience," says Dr. Duleep Deosthale, assistant dean of International Programs at Marist. "Here, there's a direct link among all the students in different countries. Faculty members are more the facilitators, not the lecturers. All of the work is being done by the students -- going out, talking, contributing, editing, podcasting -- so from that angle, it is very unique; it has not been done."

Campus Technology noted, "This model offers both the convenience of learning online and the richness of an on-the-ground study abroad experience."

CONTACT: TIM MASSIE (845) 575-3171

Marist College

CONTACT: Tim Massie of Marist College, +1-845-575-3171

Web site: http://www.marist.edu/

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