Monday, November 22, 2010

Reporting from SBL - Academic Teaching and Biblical Studies

Rough notes from SBL “Workshop on Interactive Technologies for Teaching and Learning” 2010.11.22

Kelley Coblentz Bautch from St. Edward’s University
“The Hype about Skype: Using Videoconferencing to Enhance Our Teaching”
  • Goal is to bring more voices, including global ones, into the classroom
  • KCB has been experimenting w/ the use of Skype in the classroom, including inviting the author of the required textbook
  • Both session-long and also short Skype sessions (e.g., have an expert provide a top 5 list…)
  • Students appreciate opportunity to interact w/ experts in the field and to hear contrasting views; also personalizes the scholarship behind the texts and technicalities
  • Helps students become aware of how the Bible is received in contexts other than one’s own
  • Skype is free and relatively easy to use (other options include Illuminate or iChat or panopto)
  • There are potential challenges of technology and Internet connection
  • The SBL International Voices … identifies scholars around the world who are willing to participate
  • Students largely found it helpful, especially when used in moderation
Brooke Lester from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
“‘To Those Far and Near’: The Case for ‘Community’ at a Distance”
  • In the academic context, the divide he identifies is not so much a technological one as it a distinction between those who have / not experienced ‘community’ online
  • One frequently encounter skepticism re: the reality of online ‘community,’ but this really is reflecting a very limited perspective
  • Provided links for his web tour HERE
  • Note the fine introduction provided at A Community of Scholarship, Emory’s Candler School of Theology, but note the caricaturization of typical online
  • Pharyngula as an example of community
  • Twitter as another example (eg, follow along at #slb10)
  • ‘Getting over the hump’ in an online class eventually ends up with a mutually supportive group
  • Community, Infed (Informal Education) as an example from the field of sociology; community and communion (profound meeting with an/other); openness, reciprocity, trust
  • What are good ways to assess whether students are or not experiencing community in online classes? I.e., what specific questions can we ask in evaluations which can provide some quantitative data for determing this?
  • Some experiments Lester is inviting other scholars to participate in:
  • 60 day invitation to community by interacting w/ other blogs HERE
  • A wetpaint wiki experiment to discuss the ‘Hendel’ matter HERE
David Howell of Ferrum College
“Using Technology Not to Manage but to Connect Course Teaching and Learning”
Examples of programs he has used in teaching
  • TimeGlider: students completed chronology assignments online here w/ some guided questions (Who is the person? Why is s/he important? Why should I care?)
  • Wordle: E.g., used Wordle to visualize apocalyptic literature texts; also cf. Tagxedo or Word It Out (Another alternative I would recommend is ImageChef)
  • Flickr for creating visual collections (eg., the Four Horsemen) and allow for comments and direct annotation of visuals
  • Google Maps and Google Earth: Create one’s own annotated maps
  • Diigo as a tool for social networking; bookmarking, sharing, tagging, and annotating online resources
Adam L. Porter of Illinois College
“The Power of Zotero for Student Learning”
I’ve been a longtime fan of Zotero, and Porter gave a fine introduction of its use and benefits. Do note that Zotero is in the process of creating Zotero Everywhere which will work in browsers other than Firefox as well as function as a standalone. Again, Zotero is a great bibliographic tool that allows you to accumulate, tag, and annotate resources from both online and local locations. With its integration with Microsoft Word, it provides an excellent way of footnoting papers and generating bibliographies. One thing I'm still hoping we can do is work on developing shared group bibliographies such as this one I've started for the Parables of Jesus. Also note that the SBL style needs to be installed separately and is available on this page.

Nicolai Winther-Nielsen
“Bereshit Basic Biblical Hebrew (3BH): Interactive Technology for Language Learning”
To get an idea of how the 3BH program works, login as a guest HERE. It is an interesting program that makes use of Moodle in the learning process. Winther-Nielsen uses the program in conjunction with Logos software. He also demonstrated Ezer Emdros-based Exercise Tool (3ET) as a self-tutored Bible reading program. Useful approach also involving linguistic analysis in conjunction with SESB in Logos. He also showed possibilities for Persuasive Learning Objects Tools (PLOTs). Consider also how we share and engage globally.


  1. Hi, Mark,

    Was the link for the SBL style in Zotero the right one? I followed it and could not see where to get the style...