Episode 13:
Tim Foster

This episode features an interview with Tim Foster, a graduate student in Vanderbilt’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Tim is an active member of the digital humanities community at Vanderbilt, and he has worked at the Center for Teaching, the Center for Second Language Studies, and the Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning. Last fall, Tim was on a panel at Vanderbilt that focused on teaching with Wikipedia, where he shared a class project in which he worked with his students to write for the Portuguese language version of Wikipedia. Derek Bruff spoke with Tim about this project, as well as a few of Tim’s other experiments in educational technology.




[00:00] [music]

Derek Bruff:  [00:06] Welcome to “Leading Lines”, a podcast from Vanderbilt University. I’m your host, Derek Bruff, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching. In this episode, I speak with Tim Foster, a graduate student here in Vanderbilt’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

[00:17] Tim is an active member of the digital humanities community here and he has worked at the Center for Teaching, the Center for Second Language Studies and the Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning. Tim uses technology in his teaching in creative, intentional and effective ways and I’m excited to share some of his work here on the podcast.

[00:35] Last fall, Tim was on a panel that my center co‑organized with Vanderbilt’s new Center for Digital Humanities. The panel focused on teaching with Wikipedia and I was impressed with the class project that Tim shared in which he worked with his students to write for the Portuguese language version of Wikipedia. Tim and I sat down to talk last December, shortly after that panel.

[00:50] [music]

Derek:  [00:56] Thanks for talking with me today, Tim. I’m looking forward to chatting a little bit about your teaching experience and ways you’ve used technology.

Tim Foster:  [01:01] Absolutely, thanks for having me.

Derek:  [01:06] Let’s start with a little bit of context. Tell us who you are and what you do here at Vanderbilt and that kind of thing.

Tim:  [01:12] I’m a fifth‑year graduate student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. I’m finishing my dissertation, on the job market now.

[01:19] I have taught for three years in the department. We teach as instructors of record the elementary to intermediate language courses. I taught six semesters of that.

[01:33] I was a course assistant on Maymester trip, walking the Camino de Santiago or the Way of St. James pilgrimage in Spain. I also taught a course at the Vanderbilt Program for Talented Youth at Peabody, which was a really great teaching experience.

Derek:  [01:55] Was that a summer course?

Tim:  [01:56] Yeah, summer course, a week‑long course. I taught about Spanish conquistadors to fourth and fifth graders.

[02:03] It was a really great experience. Honestly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but something that really helped give me teaching experience as a graduate student, really substantive teaching experience, and also helped me rethink my own research agendas in ways I never expected.

[02:20] Because to present something to third and fourth graders really forces you to think and make choices about where you’re going with your own research and teaching, [laughs] but it’s neither here nor there.

Derek:  [02:34] [laughs] Yeah, that’s neat though. You mentioned your research is in there. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Tim:  [02:40] Yeah, I’m an early modernist, so I study 16th and 17th century Spain, and I’m writing a dissertation about the representation of music and how it gets framed through the lens of empire in the Spanish Empire.

[02:59] It’s always an interesting thing, since we’re thinking about digital educational technology. The way that my dissertation works, it would have been a lot harder 15 years ago because digitization is at such a high level that all these texts that I consult, I would have had to travel to various libraries throughout Spain and who knows where else.

[03:26] Now they are all facsimile scans on the National Library of Spain or other websites. It’s incredible, the amount of those old texts that we have because of digitization efforts. That really enhances our research.

Derek:  [03:49] Well, I want to maybe come back to that in a minute as we think about how that carries over into your teaching. I know that you said a lot of your teaching here at Vanderbilt has been in language courses.

Tim:  [04:00] Yes.

Derek:  [04:01] Can you tell us a little bit about some of those courses and some of the experiments in digital pedagogy that you’ve tried?

Tim:  [04:08] Absolutely. We have the strange distinction in the foreign languages of what we research and what we teach is in some ways distinct. We’re researching literature, but we teach the language.

[04:21] We’re always trying to find ways to bring literature and bring cultural material into the language classroom to really give a contextualized and culture‑centered language education. What we do is we’re mostly given the syllabus by our department, but a lot of the day‑to‑day activities we get to determine.

[04:47] The interesting thing about foreign language pedagogy is that there’s this concept from, I don’t know, 30 years ago called Computer‑Assisted Language Learning, CALL. It’s one of those buzzwords that gets thrown around like, “Oh, I’m proficient in CALL.”

Derek:  [05:03] [laughs] .

Tim:  [05:03] We had this interesting discussion a few years ago that computer‑assisted language learning is basically just language learning now because it’s so ubiquitous, and has so transformed the way that you’re able to bring authentic cultural material into the classroom.

[05:23] Whereas before the profusion of the Internet, maybe what you have are some books that you gathered during your travels abroad or even little pamphlets or brochures or maps.

[05:39] Those things are really the ephemera of any day‑to‑day life, but that’s where language is spoken. Before the Internet, maybe you only have stuff that you’re able to gather personally or the scripted things that they put in textbooks.

[06:00] Which give a good approximation, sometimes, [laughs] of real cultural material, but it’s no substitute for what we’re able to do now which, for example, if we’re talking about clothing, we’re wanting to learn sizes and colors and talking about how to buy clothing in a store…

[06:21] What I’ll do is set my students loose on one of the major department store’s websites in Spain, for example, and say, “Buy this,” and give them a little guidance of…maybe they would write a couple of sentences about what they want to buy, or just give them some framework to, or some questions to answer something, and just let them loose on the authentic material.

[06:49] That’s a real advantage that we have as language teachers, that we have the whole Internet [laughs] of cultural reality available to us.

Derek:  [06:57] You were on a panel here a few weeks ago on teaching with Wikipedia.

Tim:  [07:03] Yes, that’s right.

Derek:  [07:04] Which is a very different use of online resources.

Tim:  [07:09] Absolutely.

Derek:  [07:09] Can you say a little bit about what that experiment was and where it came from, which I thought was really fascinating?

Tim:  [07:16] Wikipedia I’ve always found very useful in my own language learning and cultural research because what I said in my presentation is that Wikipedia is kind of the Goldilocks of resources where you’re looking at material in two different languages.

[07:39] You have three distinct types of dictionaries, to call them that way. You have the word reference or your Oxford Spanish‑English Dictionary, which gives you a couple of definitions of variants from one term from Spanish to English, for example.

[08:01] Or you have the Oxford English Dictionary, or the Spanish equivalent which would be the Royal Academy Dictionary, which gives you 15 terms, 5 of which are archaic and are only used in my period. [laughs] It’s overkill for students, especially beginning students, but neither of them does terms very well and neither of them does cultural concepts very well.

[08:29] If you want to look up the United Nations organization, for example, you’re going to find it’s going to literally translate United Nations organization, or it’ll give you a definition of what it does, but that’s no help in how do you say United Nations organization in Spanish, because there’s a particular name for it.

[08:51] What I always do in those situations is go to Wikipedia page. On the left‑hand side, it has all those different languages, the articles in all the different languages, and change the language and there you have it. It gives you the name and all the cultural information.

[09:09] The example of this that I gave in class was that a student asked me how do you say “Ice Bucket Challenge” in Spanish.

Derek:  [09:18] [laughs] .

Tim:  [09:18] This was back in, I think, 2014 when that was a big thing.

Derek:  [09:23] Right. There were all these viral videos on Facebook of people pouring ice on themselves for some good cause I think.

Tim:  [09:28] Yeah, for ALS I think. I said, “I don’t know.” I could translate “ice” and “bucket” and “challenge,” but it would be some kind of gobbledygook.

[09:41] I did exactly what I’m saying, went to the Wikipedia page and switched to Spanish. My student asked, “Is that a good translation?” and I said, [laughs] “That’s not a translation.”

[09:54] In that moment, it dawned on me that for the student, they had assumed that all cultural production was in English and that everything not in English was a translation.

Derek:  [10:06] That the Spanish language Wikipedia page for Ice Bucket Challenge was merely a translation of an English language page for that topic.

Tim:  [10:15] It must have been. Exactly.

Derek:  [10:15] But that’s not how Wikipedia works, right?

Tim:  [10:17] No, exactly. It’s all independent content written in the language. Perhaps Ice Bucket Challenge is something that originates in American English, but there are also communities of all language speakers in the United States that talk about the Ice Bucket Challenge in their own language.

[10:37] That’s a cultural concept born in English, but it also has original content in other languages. That’s not even considering whole concepts that are born in foreign languages and translated into English. [laughs]

[10:52] I think that when we have a two‑monolingual approach in our society, we encourage thought patterns that suggest that all content is born in English and then translated outwards. I got to thinking about that understanding of my students. A couple of semesters ago, the spring of ’15, I got to sort of be the coordinator of my own Portuguese course.

[11:24] I was the only teacher of the intensive elementary Portuguese section that semester, which rarely ever happens and was really such a great good fortune on my part that I was able to design a syllabus for that class…not really design a syllabus, but design all the principal activities, the assessments.

Derek:  [11:44] You didn’t have to link up with other sections of the same course. You run your own show.

Tim:  [11:51] Exactly.

Derek:  [11:51] It sounds like a bit of a gift for a grad student in your program.

Tim:  [11:55] It really was. There are other disciplines in which graduate students get to design their own syllabi, but there are a lot of disciplines…

Derek:  [12:02] It’s pretty rare, actually, right?

Tim:  [12:03] Yeah.

Derek:  [12:03] English and philosophy are the other two that I know of on our campus.

Tim:  [12:09] English and philosophy, right. A lot of graduate students are TAs in the sense that they are assisting faculty members. We’re considered TAs, I suppose, although we are the instructors of record in our classes. We give the grades. It was a great opportunity for me to implement this activity that I wanted to do.

[12:25] In fact, I didn’t even think of it until halfway through the semester, which is why, like you said, I didn’t have to link it up with somebody else’s syllabus. I was able to, on the fly, make this change, where I substituted the final composition for the Portuguese class ‑‑ it usually is a one‑and‑a‑half or two‑page essay ‑‑ for a Wikipedia assignment, where I had each student write a section of a Wikipedia page.

[12:55] I contemplated at first having them write their own page, but I thought that would be too laborious and distract from the point of the exercise, which was to both think about these real‑world applications of their language and also to think through my particular paths issue of having students think that English is the only place where content can be born.

[13:22] What we did was…first we had to look a little bit at what Wikipedia is. A lot of students had used it before, but didn’t have a good idea of how the content was really generated. What are some of the identity politics, issues behind the production of Wikipedia.

[13:44] There’s a very high percentage of the content that’s produced by young, white males in English‑speaking contexts. We couldn’t really do a lot to change those statistics in my particular case because we’re Americans and a lot of my students were white, a lot of my students were males.

[14:03] Even so, thinking through that is truly important in any context when you’re dealing with Wikipedia.

Derek:  [14:12] Especially for Wikipedia because… It think one of the reasons that academics are a little bit queasy about Wikipedia is that there’s no sense of authorship. You contribute content, and then it’s this entry. Yes, it’s possible to find out who put in which sentence and which phrase, but it doesn’t make that very clear or very obvious.

Tim:  [14:30] Exactly. It’s an anathema to all of the structures of authority that we have been creating over centuries.

Derek:  [14:40] Right, our peoples’ authorial voices, our citation systems. It’s just a very different way of doing things. Clearly, with students who may also think of Wikipedia as somehow authorless, it’s helpful to pull back the curtain a little bit so that they can see actually how it gets made, how that might show up in what you see there.

Tim:  [14:59] Absolutely, and how it might influence how they write because a large portion of thinking through Wikipedia, too, is the authorial tone…not authorial tone, but the neutral tone. It’s not an argument. It’s more of a summation of knowledge about any particular topic.

[15:25] Our first step was looking through what Wikipedia is and then we had to decide on an article. I wanted an article in Portuguese Wikipedia about something that the students could really contribute knowledge to, but that was not covered well.

[15:40] I looked at a couple of pages like the American South, Vanderbilt University, for example. What my students decided that they wanted to do was the page on Nashville, the city. It was about a paragraph long, maybe two. Just basic information, no tables, no graphics, nothing.

Derek:  [15:59] I can imagine the English language Nashville page is probably pages and pages of history and information and culture.

Tim:  [16:06] With 50 citations‑plus and different sections on everything, exactly.

Derek:  [16:10] This was an underdeveloped part of the Portuguese Wikipedia?

Tim:  [16:13] Exactly. Probably understandably so, although Portuguese Wikipedia has large pages on many major American cities. Some of the biggest cities known to Brazilians are New York and Orlando, for example. They have huge pages.

[16:27] My students, I had them each decide on a section of the page that interested them. One did about demographics. One did about sports. One did about tourism. One did about healthcare, etc. I have 12 different students, so 12 different sections.

[16:53] Actually, I only did it in about five weeks, which was crazy for everybody. That first week, I had them bring in at least three citations that they were going to use, a little outline of their article.

[17:08] Then the next week, I had them write the section. It was, I think, 450 to 500 words in a word processor. Just deal with the language part. That was the baseline… That’s what they would have been doing with the other essay. The other essay…

Derek:  [17:24] Composing in Portuguese.

Tim:  [17:25] Exactly. Which is ultimately, the point of the class. Typically, a prompt in a beginning language class is something like, “Write a fake blog post about yourself and your daily routine and where you go to school and who your friends are.”

[17:42] That’s interesting. It helps them use the language at a level that they can really write something that they know, but it’s not robust. It’s not making any argument. There’s also something we talk about a lot in language learning, that it’s too me‑centered.

[18:00] A lot of the time when you’re talking, doing verbal practice in the language class, it’s all about me. You’re saying, “I go to the store. I eat apples. I like eating…”

Derek:  [18:15] “I have two aunts and an uncle.”

Tim:  [18:16] Exactly, which is fine. You need to be able to talk about yourself, but I think it only furthers this kind of English centered approach or whatever I’m familiar with is what is important.

[18:28] That’s another really big advantage to doing this, not only having the sources cited, but writing in this more neutral Wikipedia tone is that you get out of the me-centered language production.

Derek:  [18:44] Yeah. They can still write about something they know, or wanting to know, as they’re mostly new to Nashville, but it’s a topic of interest to them, but it’s not themselves.

Tim:  [18:55] Exactly. I had them do some peer editing on their little section. Then I did a lot of editing to make sure that their grammar was as flawless as possible. Then, when they had the finished language piece, we did some coding basics in class. It took like 30 minutes one day. This class met four times a week, so we had a little bit of time to do some of the training.

[19:25] I did find that the students struggled with it a little bit more than I thought. That goes back to a lot of the discussions around our “digital natives,” but really, we can’t assume too much. Coding is a different thought process and I think it was a lot to expect of them in a week and half’s time.

Derek:  [19:53] I’m going to play my computer science major card here. I wouldn’t call markup language coding, either. You’re not programming it to do things. You’re formatting using text markup.

Tim:  [19:56] That’s a good point.

Derek:  [20:02] Again, there’s a learning curve there. I don’t do that very often and I know how to use markup languages, right? When I have to actually code something in HTML, it’s usually because something has broken and I have to go in and fix it just the right way.

[20:17] But yeah, to think that students would know that or be familiar with that, that’s just not how they typically use technology.

Tim:  [20:23] It’s true.

Derek:  [20:24] It might also circle back to what you said about who contributes to Wikipedia. If students start to have a better understanding of what it requires technically to contribute, that might help them give a little more sense of, well, who are the people here that have those skills or that aptitude?

Tim:  [20:40] Or who have been taught that they have that aptitude or who have the accessibility to the Internet for long enough to develop that aptitude? Wikipedia does a nice job of providing tutorials.

[20:56] They have a general tutorial that explains Wikipedia and how to use it, but they have specific ones for students. They have specific ones for educators of some of the things to keep in mind when you are bringing Wikipedia into the classroom. They have a special set for particular higher ed professionals, and they have a series of case studies.

[21:20] It’s all done through the Wikimedia Foundation. They have a series of case studies of how different faculty members have used Wikipedia in the classroom on a wide variety of subjects for different purposes.

[21:33] One that really stuck out to me was, I think it was an Art History class, they had students add images to Wikipedia pages. It wasn’t even writing content, but it was providing some of that more image support. There’s a lot of really interesting ways that people are using Wikipedia.

Derek:  [21:55] Your students collaboratively helped to flush out the Nashville page, right?

Tim:  [22:01] Mm‑hmm.

Derek:  [22:02] I’m curious. Like you said, you could have had them just write essays and turn that in, but they were writing about a particular topic for a particular website. You could have also had them all just write a little guidebook to Nashville in Portuguese that you put on your own website that they never shared online.

[22:24] What do you see as the advantages of going full Wikipedia and having them go there to do this kind of writing?

Tim:  [22:32] I think there’s something basic in knowing that what you produce is going to be out there for people to see that I think makes you really heighten your own sense of the value of it and heighten the work that you put into it.

[22:49] I was floored by the amount of work that my students did for this, not only the good writing that they did and the references that they brought in. I had the 3 references as a baseline, but a lot of them brought in 10 or more references, which is amazing. They just went above and beyond.

[23:09] They had to learn the markup. That’s a good distinction between coding and markup. Then, on the day where we put it all together, those who had finished everything and it was really clean, I asked them if they wanted to markup the climate tables and the sister cities, which all required a little bit more advanced marking up. They just ran with it, those who had the aptitude and the time. That was really great.

[23:47] I found that kind of thing, where your assignment is done and you’re sitting there altogether in class with your laptops open, “What am I going to do? Am I going to surf the Web or am I going to help my class and contribute to this awesome project that we’re doing together?”

Derek:  [24:03] And make it even better.

Tim:  [24:05] I don’t think I would have seen that extra effort had this been something that just got turned in to me. I think students want their work to be impactful. Not that a professor reading it is not a wonderful exercise, but…

Derek:  [24:23] Right, but it’s an audience of one and then no one ever sees it again.

Tim:  [24:27] That’s right. I found that there’s a buy in from the students that I don’t think that there would have been otherwise. That was really the advantage of doing something, going full Wikipedia, as you said. It was really going full Wikipedia.

[24:42] The students all did have to create their own Wikipedia account so that they could play in the sandbox. They have what they call the sandbox where you can test the markup that you have done and make sure that it all plays out OK, make sure there’s no errors.

[25:02] They all had to sign up for their own accounts on Portuguese Wikipedia. You have to sign up for different accounts on different Wikipedias, which was fun.

[25:10] I wanted the students originally to make the edits themselves on the Wikipedia page and put in their new section, but what I found was that when I went in and created the skeleton for what our new page was going to look like.

[25:27] I tried to upload that change and I got a nasty note from a Portuguese Wikipedia administrator that said, “Real page editing is not the sandbox. Don’t put titles with empty content in them.” It was like 20 seconds after I had made the change.

[25:42] I was going to have the students do it five minutes after that because we were in the class. I said, “Well, I guess everybody, you can just send your code to me and I’ll upload it altogether.

Derek:  [25:53] All at once.

Tim:  [25:56] I thought that was really a good lesson, something that we were all learning together. The students thought it was really funny because they got to see their professor get scolded by Portuguese Wikipedia administrators.

Derek:  [26:13] In real time.

Tim:  [26:13] In real time, yeah. They were all reading it and like, “Oh, that’s a command. Ooh, they got you good.”

Derek:  [26:23] They were using the skills they had learned to enjoy your scolding.

Tim:  [26:28] It was a lot of fun. I was happy to have been the butt of that, yeah.

Derek:  [26:35] This is what I like about these types of projects. There’s this term that’s used in different ways in literature, but I would say what you’ve done is you turned your class from a class into a learning community, in that the students are all there learning together, with each other, with you, learning from each other.

[26:51] It’s not just this one‑way dump of information in skill development, but they’re building something together. They’re proud of it.

Tim:  [27:00] Absolutely we’re proud. I think, on that point, the next time I do this, I will build in more peer review. We did one very cursory round of peer review on the language side and a half of a peer review around on the coding, the markup. We just didn’t have time because I didn’t think of this until halfway through the semester, but the next time I’ll really start this earlier.

[27:31] Actually, what I want to start with first is doing a translation. I hate to say this, but doing a translation of something, a cultural concept on foreign language Wikipedia that just isn’t there in English. There’s a ton of random regional food products or whatever that just have no analogue or they have no presence at all in English Wikipedia.

[28:00] I would love to have students take a paragraph or two, a little article, and translate that and submit a new article in English as a first step to this. Understanding that not all production on Wikipedia is a translation, I would have to put a huge asterisk on that.

[28:16] That might be a nice steppingstone because they would be doing it…The first Wikipedia article that they edit would be in their native language rather than in the language that they’re just learning.

Derek:  [28:28] I was just imagining, you mentioned they had to sign up for accounts in the Portuguese Wikipedia, which is a process that’s all in Portuguese. That alone would be perhaps a little challenging.

Tim:  [28:39] Yes. It takes you three hours to read the terms and conditions, if anybody reads those.

[28:43] [laughter]

Derek:  [28:45] We talked a lot about this one particular application, which I think is really fascinating and raises some interesting learning dynamics that we’ve talked about. Let’s take a step back and think a little bit more broadly and you mentioned next time. Maybe I’ll ask you about it.

[29:03] As you look ahead to your teaching career, are there either technologies you want to try out or ways of using technology that you want to make a part of your teaching as you go forward?

Tim:  [29:19] That’s a really interesting question. As I go forward, I anticipate teaching both language and literature, culture classes. That changes the way that you incorporate technology. One thing I always loved to play with is mapping. I’ve done some at work with mapping before in a language course.

[29:41] Instead of doing a traditional oral exam presentation, we developed a little assignment where students would go into Google Earth and go into street view of a random Latin American city and narrate their journey. “First I went to this restaurant and ate this. Then I went to this plaza and saw this monument.”

[30:05] It was really fun. I had three students who had recently been to the Dominican Republic. They weren’t particularly strong students, but they gave the best presentation because they had been there and they were telling about their actual trip. It was amazing.

[30:23] I thought that was a really powerful use of that technology.

Derek:  [30:28] In the target language, right?

Tim:  [30:28] In the target language. Exactly. I’d love to build it more with mapping, not only the language learning side but also literature. A lot of literature is spatial. There’s a lot of spatial components.

[30:42] We’ve done a lot of work with that at the Center for Second Language Studies where I was a graduate affiliate for three years about mapping novels and creating a digital map and putting passages that happened at a particular location on the map. I think it’s a really different way for students to interact with a text.

[31:07] Also, one project that I worked on and really wanted to implement was, we have this Maymester trip that goes on the pilgrimage, The Way of St. James in Spain. I had built my own digital map of some of these…well, I call them folk shrines.

[31:28] As you’re walking on the pilgrimage you see people building a little shrine to a dead pilgrim or building a shrine to the saints, for example. I photographed those and made a nice little map of it and that’s where it stayed.

[31:43] In talking with the Professor who runs that program, we really wanted to have the students do something similar, where they would record a video talking in Spanish about a particular location on the trail that was meaningful to them.

[31:59] Or taking a video by a monument and describing some of its features that we had talked about in class, some of the architectural styles or whatever. Or a location where something important in literature happened.

[32:11] Taking a video of that and then uploading that video and creating a class record of these impactful moments or sites to each student. But doing it all together, so that we would map out the route of the pilgrimage and also practice the language, which is always important even in upper level literature courses.

[32:33] Practicing language is always fundamental. Also, some cultural and literary knowledge. It would be a nice product that the class would have.

[32:45] We worked on that project for a little bit but when the students got to Spain ‑‑ this is the year after I had assisted with the course ‑‑ when they got there the Internet connectivity was just too much of a disaster. Each hostel or hotel maybe had WiFi and it maybe worked, but not for long enough for them to get the videos uploaded.

[33:08] We thought about having them do it when they got home, but it just wouldn’t have been the same. That was a bummer, but something that I’m looking to incorporate into classes that I do in the future.

Derek:  [33:20] There’s something about being in the field and being able to document and then build that collaborative product together.

Tim:  [33:25] Exactly.

Derek:  [33:25] You can have them do it when they get home, but it would be a different kind of activity there. It might be a more reflective or synthetic activity, but it might not have the same type of in the moment capturing of the experience.

[33:40] I’m going to end with one more question. We ask this of all of our guests. We talk a lot about digital technology on this podcast. What’s one of your favorite analog technologies?

Tim:  [33:52] I’ve been thinking a lot about this question.

[33:55] [laughter]

Tim:  [33:55] At the risk of sounding too, I don’t know, cheesy or cute, I want to say the classroom. There is something about being in the classroom where you have the social interactions before and after class and during class. [laughs] You have the ability to pair off, to do so much of that group work to sounding out things between partners. That’s harder to do on Internet platforms.

[34:25] I think they can be done well. Maybe with the profusion of virtual reality, we can get to a place where digital classrooms will be just as good as analog classrooms. I’d love to see that day, but I do love the classroom. [laughs]

Derek:  [34:45] There’s something about being in the same place at the same time. Even the walls themselves are saying, “Hey, we’re all here for a purpose. We’re not here to wander in and out, but we’re here for a time and a purpose.” I think that’s pretty powerful.

Tim:  [35:07] Absolutely.

Derek:  [35:07] I’m a big fan.

[35:09] [laughter]

Derek:  [35:09] Tim, this has been great. Thanks for chatting with us.

Tim:  [35:04] Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me.

[35:04] [music]

Derek:  [35:08] That was Tim Foster, a doctoral student in the Vanderbilt Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

[35:13] We’re trying here in the Leading Lines podcast to include different kinds of voices from the world of educational technology. That includes graduate students like Tim and like Zoe LeBlanc, the history grad student who appeared in episode eight.

[35:25] When it comes to the future of educational technology, something we’re trying to shape through this podcast, I like to see what our grad students are doing. They often have the freedom and the creativity to try new things in their teaching and I’m often impressed with how savvy they are about educational technology.

[35:40] If you want to see what Tim’s students wrote for the Nashville entry in the Portuguese language version of Wikipedia, just search for “Nashville” in Wikipedia and switch your language. Or check out the show notes where there’s a direct link.

[35:51] We’ll also included in the show notes a few resources for teaching with Wikipedia, including ones provided by the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wiki Education Foundation. You can find those show notes on our website leadinglinespod.com. We welcome your comments and questions there and on Twitter, where our handle is @leadinglinespod.

[36:09] You can subscribe to our podcast through iTunes or your other favorite podcast app. If you like what you hear in the podcast, please leave us a rating and a review on iTunes. That helps other listeners find the show.

[36:20] Leading Lines is produced by the Center for Teaching, the Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning, the Office of Scholarly Communications and the Associate Provost for Digital Learning.

[36:28] This episode, like all our other episodes, was edited by Rhett McDaniel, the Center for Teaching’s Educational Technologist.

[36:30] [background music]

Derek:  [36:34] Look for new episodes the first and third Monday of each month. I’m your host, Derek Bruff. Thanks for listening.


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