Bennington College awarded $25,000 to support hybrid instruction

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BENNINGTON — Bennington College has received a $25,000 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation that will support both the technology upgrades necessary for the fall 2020 term's pivot to a hybrid model blending in-person and remote instruction, as well as the continuation of a faculty workshop series that focuses on hybrid teaching techniques.

Bennington was one of 71 non-profit, degree-granting colleges and universities in New England to receive grants under the Presidential Grant Program, the foundation said.

"This award is recognition of Bennington's creative and forward-thinking approach to hybrid learning models. It will empower us to build on the necessary pivot made in spring 2020 and allow us to continue offering a high-quality and accessible education this fall, so students can fully engage with their coursework during this challenging time," Bennington College's new president, Laura Walker, said in a media release.


This fall, students and faculty have the opportunity to participate in classes either in-person or remotely. A Remote Pedagogy Working Group of faculty met throughout the summer to prepare both curricularly and technologically for the fall, with the goal of ensuring inclusivity and overcoming obstacles common to remote instruction, the college said.

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The Davis Educational Foundation grant will help support the outfitting of every Bennington classroom with the hardware and software that is essential for hybrid academic delivery. These upgrades include equipping classrooms with a high-definition web camera, a laptop computer, a projection system, speakers, a wired Ethernet connection for the room's laptop, and at least one omni-directional microphone to allow for amplification of all voices in the room.


During July 2020, six faculty-led workshops were offered to all of Bennington's faculty, with the aim of sharing helpful approaches to hybrid course design and preparation.

With support from the Davis Educational Foundation, Bennington will be able to extend this well-attended pedagogy workshop series into the fall, with a focus on hybrid teaching techniques and effective means of engaging students who are accessing classes remotely, the college said.

Throughout the fall term, Bennington will also promote and disseminate best practices in use by its faculty, and by faculty from other institutions.


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