Kenyon College - CAUSE '97 Focus Session

Scott E. Siddall
Howard L. Sacks

Intimate, Intense and Informed:

Collaboration Enhanced by Technology is Proximity Learning

Supporters of collaborative learning tell us that many students learn well, if not best, in a social setting, yet many of our colleagues place high value on traditional, lecturer-recipient classroom experiences. Clearly, students learn well from the lectures of our best teachers, but information technology surrounds us with opportunities to learn collaboratively. For the last three years, following our Summer Institutes in Academic Information Resources, faculty at Kenyon College have engaged with these tools. We report here on not only the technological products from the classroom, but also on the learning outcomes, the potentials and pitfalls of group thinking, the second- and third-generations collaborative web projects, the conversations conducted in anonymity, all of which have helped us discover that students and faculty alike are learners, and that we can teach and learn in many more ways, and more often, than tradition would suggest. We define "proximity learning" as the intense and stimulating exchange of information and ideas as students work in a face-to-face setting enhanced by technology. We summarize three years' experience with interactive, collaboratively created web projects created for local and global audiences, with technologies that allow us to increase interpersonal contact by reallocating precious time to high-value, face-to-face contact with our students.

Please visit the Kenyon College web site to browse these collaborative projects: