Tag Archives: Collaborative Classroom

Penn and the Surrounding Community

On the edges of the Van Pelt Collaborative Classroom, located just down the hall from the Weigle Information Commons,  an exhibit about the edges of Penn’s presence in West Philadelphia runs until Friday, February 24, 2017. Penn and the Surrounding Community is a collection of work by Dr. Rosemary Frasso‘s students from the SW781/PUBH604 class entitled Qualitative Research in Social Work and Public Health. This semester’s exhibit focuses on how undergraduate and graduate students here at Penn conceptualize the University’s impact on its urban setting.

Nominal Group Technique (NGT) (in which members of a group name, then rank items) was used to determine the topic of exploration for the class research study. Briefly, Dr. Frasso moderated a session where in the students suggested potential topic ideas, then ranked those ideas. The topic of Penn and the Surrounding Community was collectively chosen as the central theme for investigation.

First, the students collected free-listing data. Each of the 25 students in the class recruited 5 participants (total of 125 people) from the Penn community and asked them to share the words that come to mind when they think about Penn’s relationship with the surrounding community. These data (words generated) were then analyzed to determine the salient domains.

Then each student recruited one additional participant to take part in the Photo-elicitation arm of the study. Briefly, each participant was asked to think about Penn’s relationship with the surrounding community and using their camera or smartphone to take photos that would help them explain their impression of this relationship. The photos were then used to guide a qualitative interview. All interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim and analyzed in the Collaborative Classroom.

The preliminary analysis yielded 10 thematic categories: Benefits, Safety, Permeability, Double-Edged Sword, Accessibility, Responsibility, Exclusivity, Bubble, Boundary, and Penntrification. Within these broad categorizations, representative photos and their accompanying captions were chosen for exhibition. The finished product will ultimately include an abstract for presentation as well as a manuscript for publication in addition to these preliminary findings currently on exhibit. The project can be viewed on the Scholarly Commons’ New Media Showcase.

The photos and quotes paint a complicated picture of how students perceive Penn’s relationship with the West Philadelphia community. The work highlights both the beneficial nature and drawbacks that are byproducts of Penn’s presence in West Philly, best described as a “double-edged sword.” For thought provoking insights like these, the exhibit is an enlightening and self-reflective project that is well worth the visit. Research rigor and critical social immersion blend to demonstrate the strengths of research in Public Health and Social Work.

 

Fun with Bengali Comics

This guest post by Mallika Sircar, library staff in our South Asia Collection, describes a visit to WIC by students who attend the Shopan Bangla School in Wilmington and the Bangla School in Bear, Delaware.

‘Fun and educational’ – these were the words used by parents to describe the experience of the Bangla School students, during their field trip to the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. The program on 19th December 2015 was a resounding success with parents and students requesting more such events.

The strong South Asia collections of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries were on display as the students explored Bengali language material. Traditional resources and modern technology were both used in tandem. Exploration of the rich Bengali children’s literature collection was an extremely popular exercise; it was followed by a story-telling session in the Kislak Special Collections Center with the use of digital tools that magnified the story book characters on a big screen. The most popular activity, however, was the creation of comic strips in Bengali by the students in the Collaborative Classroom. In a short span of time, the students were able to write a story using pictures and Bengali script, which was truly commendable. The event concluded with the screening of an award-winning children’s science fiction film from the Penn Libraries’ video collection.

This trip to the University of Pennsylvania Libraries by the Bengali school community opened new doors in creative thinking for language teaching and learning.

We share below the event flyer, photos and comic books created by the students.

Life with Technology at Penn: Student Research Exhibit

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Dr. Rosemary Frasso, Allison Golinkoff (TA)  and graduate student research team– Qualitative Research Methods for Social Work and Public Health Professionals (SW 781) Fall 2015

As everyone trickles back in to the library this semester, take some time to walk towards the Van Pelt Collaborative Classroom (right before the WIC entrance, to the right) to see Dr. Rosemary Frasso’s graduate students’ research exhibit Life with Technology Among University of Pennsylvania Students. Dr. Frasso’s previous research exhibits include Pressure Release and Fear and Safety at Penn. I took some time this week to make my way through the exhibit and found it interesting to see how Penn students are understanding technology’s role in their lives. Here at WIC we post about tech frequently, and this past year alone we’ve discussed new ways of using social media tools, using apps for productivity and travel, and our experiences with 3d printingLife with Technology takes a more in-depth look into the complicated ways students’ lives intersect with technology that can be both useful and intrusive. The exhibit  is organized into thematic categories: Changing Times, Dependence, Disconnected, Efficiency, Health, Multitasking. Privacy, Social Connections, Ubiquitous, Unplugged, and Work and Education.

In order to decide on a topic, students used Nominal Group Technique (NGT) in order to come to a consensus representative of the group’s preferences. Interviews were then conducted using photo elicitation (first named by photographer and researcher John Collier in 1957) in which a qualitative interview is guided by photographs taken by study participants. Each student recruited one participant, an undergraduate or graduate student from Penn, and explained the study to them. The topic of the project was explained and participants were asked to “define and explore the meaning of ‘life with technology’ over the course of one week using their phones to document their exploration.” Ultimately, the research team decided together on which images and quotes to use in the exhibit and how these pieces fit into categories. Some memorable images include dried cranberries, Penn classrooms, a kitchen stove, and selfies.

From here, students will use NVivo 10 software for thematic analysis, and members of the research team will then identify salient themes, summarize findings, prepare an abstract for presentation, and a manuscript for publication. The exhibit is beautiful and engaging, so please come by and check it out at the  Van Pelt Collaborative Classroom. 

If you are interested in using NVivo software, consider joining our NVivo User Group which meets monthly with a guest presenter for each session.

Fear and Safety at Penn: A Collaborative Student Research Exhibit

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Dr. Rosemary Frasso, Al Golinkoff (TA) and graduate student research team – Qualitative Research Methods for Social Work (SW 781)

Research seldom happens in silos.  Be it through the literature review, data collection, or publication, group collaboration is the ingredient that brings new ideas and perspectives to the research process.  It is with this spirit that Dr. Rosemary Frasso (Rosie), Al Golinkoff (TA), and the student researchers of the Qualitative Methods graduate course for Social Work and Public Health students took teamwork to new heights this spring in the Van Pelt Collaborative Classroom.

From the start, the student researchers employed qualitative methods (Nominal Group Technique) to collectively determine the research topic of “fear and safety” at Penn. Next, each individual student-researcher conducted 5 intercept Freelisting interviews across campus to explore the topic. Using the full 360 degrees of writable whiteboard surfaces in the Collaborative Classroom, students began the process of analyzing Freelisting data to identify salient themes.

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Student researchers begin organizing Freelisting data in the Van Pelt Collaborative Classroom

Inspired by the work of Drs. Carolyn Cannuscio, Mariana Chilton, and Gala True, Rosie designed this class project employing Photo Elicitation interviewing.  Students later made use of this same technique to further explore the meaning of fear and safety across the Penn community.  As a team, the class selected a sampling strategy and each student-researcher was tasked with recruiting a participant from within the Penn community to explore how she/he perceives fear and safety.  Over the course of one week, research participants used their smartphones or cameras to take photographs of any aspects of their daily lives that made them think of fear or safety.  The photos were then used to guide an interview between the researcher and the participant about those topics.

Dr. Frasso turned to group collaboration in the Collaborative Classroom as a strategy to help the student researchers make sense of the sizable amount of data they all collected.    Through collaborative analysis, student researchers found that their participants’ views on fear and safety revolved around eight thematic categories: vulnerability; sense of belonging; fear of failure; surveillance; physical and mental health; fear of the unknown; sources of comfort; and spaces and places.

The student researchers of Dr. Frasso’s class see their research findings as a potential catalyst for change at Penn.  To this end, they have made their work visible in many ways.  You can view their research exhibit, complete with photos and participant quotes, just outside the Van Pelt Collaborative Classroom (right before the WIC entrance, to the right).  Students also plan to share their findings with key members of the Penn community such as President Amy Gutmann, CAPS, and GAPSA.

For more information on displaying your students’ work or using Van Pelt’s Collaborative Classroom for enhanced teamwork and engagement, visit: http://www.library.upenn.edu/facilities/collab.html.

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Active and Collaborative Learning

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Teaching social media tools in the Collaborative Classroom

Having researched learning spaces over the past couple of years, and having taught some active and collaborative workshops of my own in Van Pelt Library’s new Collaborative Classroom, I’ve become more interested in how faculty are using active learning classrooms (ALCs) to better engage students with each other and with course material. This semester, I was lucky enough to do a number of active-learning-related things: present about Penn Libraries’ Collaborative Classroom together with Sam Kirk at a local conference, travel to another university to learn about how their ALCs work, and observe active learning right here in our own Collaborative Classroom.

Continue reading Active and Collaborative Learning