„Teaching Day“ – Tag der Lehre – at the University of St. Gallen

Last week, the ‘Teaching Day’ took place at the University of St. Gallen. Dr. Kurt Fendt, Director of the Hyper Studio at the MIT contributed the keynote. His key message emphasized that when thinking about teaching, lecturers should start from the learning experience. This also includes a balance between scholarship and storytelling in order to engage students. In the light of the digital transformation, communities of students and faculty are the value that keeps education on the campus. Furthermore, Dr. Fendt reflected on the porous boundaries between classroom and life. Students learn not only in the classroom but above all outside the classroom, for instance, in first-year seminars, collaborative assignments, service learning, when studying abroad.

Based on three examples, the integration of digital technologies into learning processes and their value added were introduced.

  • students as editors (annotation studio)
  • students as ethnographers (Berliner sehen)
  • students as makers (Digital Humanities Class)

In this blog post, I will summarize the first idea. The annotation studio makes it possible to have side notes and questions to different text material. It is based on the rich tradition of annotating in the humanities. The pedagogical goals for the online annotation process are:

  • increasing awareness of fluid process of reading, writing, borrowing and revision (John Bryant)
  • engaging students as ‘editors’ (Wyn Kelley)
  • developing traditional humanistic skills
  • allowing students to practice ‘scholarly principles’.

The annotation process takes place in a protected environment where students feel safe. The students’ feedback is very positive as above all, group annotation processes are made easier.

The annotation tool and the underlying processes looked interesting and are worth exploring. In the end, Dr. Fendt emphasized that every tool should provide added value for the students and thus contribute to the learning goals and to student engagement.