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Shepherd Digital Courses and Resources

Academic Innovation Initiatives

Dr. Chiquita Howard-Bostic, Director of Academic Initiatives, has a plan to use new information, data and best practices that can lead to new modes of learning and instruction. The goal is to strengthen the quality of a Shepherd University education and to enhance our impact on society. These innovations will be both inside and outside the classroom and in the community, from hands-on learning experiences, to social events, and the use of new technologies. This page highlights digital courses and innovative resources that align with the mission of Shepherd Digital and other academic innovation initiatives.

Innovation Minor

15 Credit Hours

Students enrolled in the Innovation Minor exercise the fundamentals of innovation, entrepreneurship, and intrapreneurship. The curriculum and coursework targets skills that employers want including problem solving and creativity, decision-making and face-to-face or virtual communication skills, and team and group skills. Vision, initiative, and out-of-the-box thinking are combined with written, oral, and futuristic social media communication skills to make students enrolled in the Innovation minor more marketable and valuable in “all” fields or majors. These skills are fundamental for career success, running a business, and encouraging innovation.
Contact: Dr. Ben Martz, Dean, College of Business

Innovation Coursework

Digital Ethnography

COMM 399: Digital Ethnography is offered Spring 2020 and applies a range of digital communication tools to facilitate and encourage reflection on self, culture, and history.  Students use photo and video editing software, media tools, Creative Cloud and results from genealogy to highlight accomplishments or events. They showcase examples of cultural origins, geographic locations, values, and beliefs systems in unique and personal ways. Students design a storyboard to visualize aspects of their story including images, titles, narration, music, and sounds. The exhibitions of the digital storytelling projects include a broadcast using Shepherd’s TV/Video Studio and a streamed online display.
Instructor: Dr. Kevin Williams, Department of Communications and Mass Media

Grant Writing

ENGL 405: Grant Writing is offered Spring 2020 and allows students to use marketable and transferable skills of grant writing to identify a challenge, funding, and measurable results. The unique utility of grant writing helps to convey action via skills such as written communication, researching, needs assessment, organization, and executing complex instructions. Learners enrolled in ENGL 405 will respond to real RFPs and draft a proposal for a public grant of their choosing. As well, they will network with key stakeholders, local nonprofits, campus program coordinators, and faculty to cultivate an innovative vison that solves a pressing problem. ENGL 405 will pave the way for future innovative courses at Shepherd geared toward effecting change, building community capacity, investing in new ideas, and creating opportunities for others.
Instructor: Dr. Christy Wenger, Department of English and Modern Languages

Social Chronicles

SOCI 399 was offered for the first time during Fall, 2018 and included 10 hours of service, synchronous online classes, justice-oriented oral history research, digital history, and fluencies in web design. Students matched themselves perfectly with organizations.  Learners conducted oral history interviews at these sites combining a creative synthesis of ethnomusicology and sociological theory. Then, each team used multiple digital tools to design a final webpage chronicling and archiving the social justice histories and traditions of the two organizations. The historical analysis prepared student teams to develop a broad range of community-based projects that engaged civic action and fostered related social justice attitudes. This new form of student-centered social justice history merged a symbolic frame of student’s service goals, the mission of the organization, the digital time capsules, and the experience maps of service experiences over time.
Grant: COPLACDigital Mellon Foundation
Instructors: Dr. Chiquita Howard-Bostic, SU Department of Sociology, Criminology, and Criminal Justice and Tina Holmes-Davis, Georgia College

The Social Life of Books

History 399 was taught for the first time in the Spring of 2017 and student teams were enrolled at seven different COPLAC campuses. Students met via videoconferencing software for an introduction to questions of bibliography and book history: How do we “read” books as material objects? How can the physical properties of books provide clues of the history of their manufacture? What traces do they bear of the hands through which they passed? How might we go about reconstructing histories of readership? How can the study of books lead us to insights about the people in whose lives they figured? The students also explored a range of digital tools and methods including data scraping and manipulation, interactive timelines and maps, and social network graphs. Student worked on original projects and blogs aimed at uncovering the stories of books in the libraries of their home institutions and using the affordances of the digital medium to tell those stories in new ways online.
Grant: COPLACDigital Mellon Foundation
Instructors: Dr. Benjamin Bankhurst, SU Department of History and Dr. Ben Pauley, Professor of English, Eastern Connecticut State University

Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)

Breaking Resistance COIL

In the fall semester of 2019, Shepherd signed a multi-campus COIL agreement with the Instituto Brasiliense de Direito Publico in Brasília-Brazil and University Center Christus in Fortaleza, CE-Brazil to conduct a COIL project, a national and international study about gender identities using Zoom video conferencing and documentary findings. On October 9, the Department of Sociology, Criminology, and Criminal Justice and Women and Gender Studies Program launched the Breaking Resistance Social Justice Documentary Project to show Katie Couric’s award-winning documentary, Gender Revolution with partners:  At the Shepherd event, Howard-Bostic facilitated a theory-focused dialogue, and event participants completed a survey about gender identities. Shepherd students in SOCI 321: Social Stratification and GWST 200: Intro Gender & Women’s Studies also completed an IRB approved learning assessment.
Partners: Dr. Monica Sapucaia Machado, Instituto Brasiliense de Direito Publico; Dr. Denise de Almeida, University Center Christus; Dr. Paulette Cross, Georgia College; Dr. Chiquita Howard-Bostic, SU Department of Sociology, Criminology, and Criminal Justice; Dr. Julia Sandy, SU Department of History

Gender Revolution COIL and Breaking Resistance Documentary Viewing
Gender Revolution COIL Agreement
Gender Revolution COIL in Brazil


Shepherd Digital Resources

Amazon Tools

Contact: Dr. Ben Martz, Dean, College of Business; Dr. George Ray, Department of Business

Construct 3

Construct 3 is an online game making software that allows users to create games without code. In ENGL 102: Read, Play, Design, and Write: Writers as Designers of Persuasive Games (online), learners using Construct 3 explore rhetoric, video games, and social change. Our writers will gain an appreciation for video games as a powerful means to engage audiences. They use multi-modal designs to build a game and learn how the process of writing and designing overlap. Learners add custom logic (imagery, text, music) and create a background, add objects, and incorporate behaviors for objects.  They work with scholars, such as James Paul Gee, who links games with literacy and learning. As well, game designers like Jane McGonigal will encourage learners to play to solve the world’s most pressing problems. Students enrolled purchase the software in place of a textbook and learn to play serious video games while analyzing procedural rhetoric about the mechanics and persuasiveness of a game.
Contacts Dr. Yildiz Nuredinoski, Department of English and Modern Languages

Online Digital Patient Simulation

The School of Nursing uses an online digital patient simulation. Students can interact with digital patients to learn how to interview, examine the patient, and document the findings for nursing courses from health assessment to leadership. The technology also evaluates student verbal interaction with the digital patient to determine competency. All encounters take place in an online healthcare environment and the digital patients respond according to each student’s interactions.
Contact: Dr. Elizbeth Rini, School of Nursing

Patient Manikins

The School of Nursing uses a variety of medium and high-fidelity patient manikins to aid in skill development, communication, clinical reasoning in a safe learning environment. Students begin using medium fidelity manikins in their first semester to learn how to take vital signs, perform physical assessment, and perform basic skills prior to encountering live patients. Medium fidelity manikins can simulate a pulse, blood pressure, respirations, and temperature. Other medium fidelity manikins can provide heart sounds, lung sounds, and focused body system function.  The high-fidelity manikins do everything the medium fidelity manikins do but they can vocalize, shed tears and simulate a larger number of patient problems. Shepherd faculty have used higher fidelity manikins to replicate complex situations such as childbirth emergencies, pediatric emergencies and managing cardiac arrest. Shepherd students perform invasive procedures on the manikins and get feedback from instantaneous changes in the manikin’s status.
Contact: Dr. Elizbeth Rini, School of Nursing


Shepherd Entrepreneurship and Research Corporation (SERC)

SERC is a not-for-profit corporation established to function in all respects as a non-profit, charitable, educational, and scientific corporation affiliated with Shepherd University and to in all respects provide support for and assistance to Shepherd University in its operations, including but not limited to the facilitation of research, innovation, entrepreneurship and development grants. In addition, SERC shall endeavor to foster and support research and innovation at Shepherd University and to provide evaluation, development, patenting, management and marketing services, as appropriate, for the faculty, staff, and students of the University, always consistent with the provisions of Article 12, Chapter 18B of the Code of West Virginia. SERC can also serve as the university’s agent in the receipt of external grants and contracts and intellectual property income, and also oversees the protection, development, and commercialization of intellectual property.
Contact: Dr. Ben Martz, Dean, College of Business and Dr. George Ray, Department of Business


ShepOWL is Shepherd University’s online writing lab. A qualified, professional student writing tutor will spend up to an hour reviewing a paper and offering comments and suggestions.  Tutors begin with global concerns—a valid thesis statement, critical thinking, adequate support for the thesis, organization, absence of major sentence errors, and the like. As time allows, the tutor will examine sentence variety, word choice, college level vocabulary, and spelling. All writing tutors have at minimum a 3.0 overall GPA and at least a 3.0 GPA in the subject area. Tutors are also required to receive a B or higher in ENGL 377: Peer Tutoring and Composition Theory, a three-credit, full-semester course. Students can sign up for tutoring.
Contacts Dr. Yildiz Nuredinoski, Department of English and Modern Languages

Smart Thinking

Smart Design Thinking is a best practice process that can be incorporated into any course to improve user or consumer experiences, and encourage students to focus on outcomes and promote diversity of opinions. Students enrolled in a CIS 287: Systems Analysis and Design course learned and applied IBM Enterprise Design Thinking in teams to present innovative ideas. Those ideas included a personal assistant app, which integrates all Shepherd and external learning systems to maximize free time and prioritizes class assignments and appointments; a trivago-like app (for retail products instead of hotels) scans the web for a desired item and identifies a best price; and an Al chatbot answers commonly asked questions about billing at Shepherd and provides support to staff in the Finance Office. Each student in CIS 287 earns a Design Thinking Practitioner Badge useful in the workforce.
Contacts: Roger Snook, Department of Computer Science and Mathematics and Karel Vredenburg, director of design at IBM, Industry Professor at McMaster University.

CIS 287: Systems Analysis and Design
CIS 287: Systems Analysis and Design


The Academic Innovation Initiatives page links are listed below: (1) a new Social Media Promotion (SMP) committee to enhance university branding, (2) digital and technology learning projects, (3) Shepherd Digital coursework and resources, and (4) a host of academic innovation initiatives partners:

Social Media Promotion Committee

Digital/Tech Projects

Shepherd Digital Coursework

Academic Innovation Partners

Dr. Chiquita D. Howard-Bostic
Director of Academic Innovation Initiatives
Academic Affairs Leadership Team