STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 05/01/2013

Communication Retooled

by Jo Kadlecek

Thirteen years into the new millennium, what do teaching and learning look like at Gordon College? How are faculty and students using the ever-emerging array of information technologies? Are educators communicating differently, crafting new strategies for connecting with this generation of young adults?

Michael MonroeMichael Monroe (music) remembers the frustration of cueing up cassette tapes—then rewinding or fast-forwarding—for his music history classes. Now Monroe clicks his mouse and projects a group of three dynamic images on the screen behind him, a tool he developed that displays and synchronizes a musical score, instructional notes, and a video of the piece being performed.



Sharon KetchamAcross campus, when Sharon Galgay Ketcham and her Christian ministries colleagues began developing a new Core theology class, they decided to offer some sections online. Known nationally for her scholarship on the role of community in shaping young people’s faith, Ketcham began using Facebook to help students engage better in theological reflections. She discovered they often open up more in the virtual community than in a “real” classroom.



Moises ParkStudents over in Moises Park’s “real time” Spanish class open up, too—especially when he yells at them. In fact, they laugh when he hollers out a question in Spanish. They have learned not to hold back; they respond with whatever Spanish words pop into their heads. That’s exactly what Park wants. He believes that such improvisational methods can be more effective than memorization for teaching language skills.



Toddy BurtonWhen teaching the language of today’s storytelling, Toddy Burton (communication arts) grounds her filmmaking classes in traditions of craft and narrative while preparing for the new digital age. Where 35mm film once required moviemakers to methodically plan each shot because film was so expensive to develop, Burton sees digital video as freeing young artists to experiment with new approaches to old story forms.

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Their disciplines vary, but there’s a common denominator in all these professors’ classrooms: exceptional learning opportunities for Gordon students.


Jo Kadlecek is the College’s senior writer and journalist-in-residence, and founding editor of the Gordon College News Service Fellowship Program. She has published numerous nonfiction and fiction books, as well as feature stories and investigative articles for publications including PRISM magazine and The Huffington Post. She lives in Beverly, Massachusetts, with her husband, Chris Gilbert, a video journalist and filmmaker.