The theme of this year’s TLT Symposium is “Community Engagement and the Culture of Teaching and Learning”.  It aligns well with Clay Shirky’s recent books, which describe examples of communities coming together to solve problems, teach each other, or create something new. 

This kind of activity has happened throughout human history, but it has been accelerated through an increased level of education, availability of free time, and the relative ease of worldwide communication.  YouTube, Wikipedia, blogs, and podcasts are largely products of ordinary people contributing what they know and what they experience to the world.  Here are some examples that may help to illustrate what I think can happen when a community works together.

The University is changed because someone’s contribution to the Learning Design Community:

Penn State Students raise millions each year to fight childhood cancer.  THON is fun and serious at the same time.

The Media Commons works with campuses across the state and brings everyone together to share and learn during the annual Tailgate:

State College students come together to address a serious social issue and using YouTube to amplify their message:

[If these were a bit heavy for you, here is a lighter example - a group of people creating a random work of art in a public space.]

I find this kind of collective activity to be powerful, beautiful, and inspiring. 

As part of the Symposium, we’re asking people if they would like to
create a short video (around 2 minutes) that addresses community
engagement.  It may address topics like: 

  • Examples of a community accomplishing or creating something with a big impact.
  • Ways that you or your organization engages a community (faculty, students, alumni, researchers, K-12 students or teachers, people at other universities, people in a geographical area, etc…).
  • How does community engagement transform educational practice?

The videos don’t need to be professionally produced.  They can be web cam videos, interviews, a series of images, or use one of the many make-your-own-video services like xtranormal.

Once you have your video produced, tag it with tltsym11 (if the service allows tagging) and send the link to tltsymposium@psu.edu.  [Use the same address if you have any questions about the theme or the video project.]  Thanks!

Update: I received this video about one of the projects that will be discussed at the Symposium.  It’s a good example of getting students involved with the community surrounding a campus.

 

Update 2:
I just got this submission from Jackie Ritzko from the Schuylkill Campus:

Update 3:
I got another video from Deborah Sillman from the New Kensington Campus, which gives an example of a campus and community getting together to maintain a public recreation trail that both communities can enjoy:

Update 4:
Another video from the New Kensington campus about a different community engagement program. In this case, the campus is directly involved with the community around issues of economic development.  Thanks to Richard Harnish for submitting this one:

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March 22, 2014

# Penn Stater
Conference Center Hotel
University Park, PA