First Annual Hahn Project Showcase: A Celebration of Synergy

Hahn Teaching with Technology Fund, Project Showcase 2021

Though held on a surprisingly cold and rainy day, the energy behind the Hahn Teaching with Technology Grant Program Project Showcase remained joyous, especially with it being the first annual event for the Hahn family. With so many amazing projects to celebrate, we thought we’d highlight how each presenter contributed to this spirit of “synergy,” one of the many words thrown around during the project showcase.

Project Showcase Overview

The showcase was held on December 9th, fittingly opened by Susan Pennestri, Senior Director of Digital Learning and Operations, who organized the event to spotlight the good work of this year’s grant recipients. The project sharing commenced with four lightning talks featuring Jing Zhou, Visiting Assistant Professor of Asian Languages and Literatures; Tom Yeh, Visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science; Mike Morgan, Associate Professor of Physical Education and Head Women’s Tennis Coach; and Feng Xiao, Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Literatures and Coordinator of the Chinese Section. Following them were Eric Grosfils, Minnie B. Cairns Memorial Professor of Geology and Chair of Geology along student Graham Brady; Ellie Anderson, Assistant Professor of Philosophy; and Jon Moore, Associate Professor of Biology and Laboratory Coordinator—who provided more in-depth presentations as they had reached the final stages of their work.

Lightning Talks         

Lightning talk speakers, clockwise: Jing Zhou, Tom Yeh, Feng Xiao, Mike Morgan | Image Source: Andrew Wilson

Each presenter offered a unique way of utilizing technology within their classrooms to create an arena where students can actively participate and form vital connections, whether with others or the course material. Zhou contributed to this goal through her identification of the need for an extensive reading website for Chinese learning during the pandemic when students couldn’t check out physical books. Besides working to build a community during the pandemic, Zhou hopes her final website can be a place where students “connect what they have read to what they’re able to do.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Yeh worked towards bridging the all-too-often disconnect between learning and actively practicing concepts by designing his computer science course around a class project of five student groups. Each group was responsible for implementing a specific part of a Central Processing Unit.

Representing the Physical Education department, Morgan spoke about the implementation of the Track Tennis live streaming program, which will help in building community, whether that be through parents, alumni, and family watching matches or students using the technology to see themselves teach in courses like “Community Tennis Class.”

Xiao concluded the lightning talks, sharing that he intends to fuel the sparks of fusional energy through his development of a 5C-wide Chinese self-paced learning platform and retention rate tracker. He noted, “the app would be free to everyone, everyone else who wants to learn Chinese!”

Panel Presentations

Hahn Teaching with Technology Program, Project Showcase Presentations
Presenters, left to right: Eric Grosfils and Graham Brady, Jon Moore, Ellie Anderson | Image Source: Andrew Wilson

From there, the panel portion of the event proceeded, beginning with Eric Grosfils and Graham Brady, Pomona ’24. Working to redevelop a previous geographic information systems course under the guise of Geology and advancing software since the past summer, they reached a great level of scholarly “cross-pollination.” Grosfils himself stated, “some ideas that were included in the final modules probably would not have been thought of if it weren’t for the bouncing of ideas and the cross-pollination between Brady and me.” Brady added, “…being on the other end of that academic exchange is really new, and [it’s] impressive to learn about and experience the hard work that goes into the courses.”

Ellie Anderson, who aimed to create “engaging accessible content that is accurate and scholarly” by incorporating social media into her existentialism course, saw an increase in genuine student engagement. After all, what student wouldn’t be more compelled to check out their peers’ responses with student work featuring the likes of a TikTok situated around a student’s future Ph.D. self-explaining Beauvoir’s statements to “Six Bows, Beauvoir’s Voirs”—a play on a Tinder-style dating profile.

Closing the event’s presentations, Jon Moore spoke about welcoming aspects of his pandemic-induced flipped classroom into his current day course design. Moore implemented self-paced videos paired with multiple-choice tests to continuously gauge student engagement with the material. He discussed how he benefited from collaboration with a previous BIO40 student, who “would always think about the testing questions more from the student perspective.” Moore noted that he also welcomed the exercise in “thinking about education” and “educating students as a mentor.”

Following the presentations was a brief Q&A, where attendees had the opportunity to engage with Hahn recipients and gain further insights on their projects.

More to Come

With that, the Hahn Teaching with Technology Grant Program Project Showcase came to a close although it is certainly not the last for the Hahn family. As Janet Russell, Deputy CIO for Research, Teaching, and Support Services, put it, “it marks how serious ITS is about partnering with you all to think critically and be very intentional about our pedagogy that is aided and abetted by technology”—a mission toward synergy we can all get behind.

Are you interested in applying for a Hahn Teaching with Technology Grant? Watch for the Call for Proposals coming this spring!

-Emily Briones, Pomona College, ’24