Manifold Teaching Models
CUNY’s instance of Manifold is dedicated to teaching. Manifold allows you to create dynamic course materials by publishing custom editions of public domain texts and open educational resources (OER). Instructors can embed additional notes, files, images, videos and interactive content into the text to create a multimedia reading experience. Manifold also supports social reading through collaborative annotation, so students can “meet” in the margins of texts and discuss course content online.
This document shows you three ways instructors have been using Manifold in their classrooms: to create Rich Course Versions of a Text or a Course Pack, Common Texts with Social Annotation, and a Portfolios of Student Work. There are many other possible uses of Manifold in your classroom, and we would be happy to discuss them with you! You can contact us by emailing Robin Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rich Course Version or Course Pack
Julie Van Peteghn, an Italian professor at Hunter College, has used Manifold to create a custom edition of Petrarch’s Canzoniere. She has included only 72 of the more than 360 poems that are usually included in collections of Petrarch’s poetry, and has embedded multimedia, including audio recordings of the poem read aloud in Italian, links to scholarly articles about the poem, and images of related artwork and the original manuscript with annotations, into each page. This dynamic text addresses the range of learning styles found in any classroom by providing several different entry points (audio, visual, textual, etc.) into the text. Presenting the text in different formats also helps students develop a critical perspective because comparing the same work in different media highlights aspects of the work’s form and structure that may otherwise be more difficult to isolate. Listening to the recordings aids both students’ language skills and their understanding of oral tradition of Classical poetry, and modeling how a scholar annotates a poem teaches close reading skills that students can practice on their own.
Similarly, instructors can use Manifold to customize an OER textbook by removing unnecessary chapters and adding chapters or other resources from elsewhere. Instructors can then add any articles, videos, images, or other materials and embed them into the pages of your text.
Common Text with Social Annotation
Paul Hebert, a 19th century American Literature graduate student instructor at the Graduate Center and Queen College found that his students were often reading different versions of varying quality of the public domain texts he assigned. This made references to the text in class and in student essays difficult to follow, and, since some students had abridged versions, or supplementary materials, he was unable to ensure all students had read the same content. To provide access to a high quality text, he has led a group of Americanist graduate student instructors in building model “CUNY Student Editions” of texts such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that are commonly taught in undergraduate American Literature surveys across the 25-campus CUNY system. Their work has been publicly archived in a GitHub repository that includes style sheets and instructions for adoption by other instructors across the humanities. Common texts created on Manifold allow the instructor to assign social annotation activities that teach valuable close reading skills and provide students who are often reticent to mark up their physical copies with a way to make digital annotations and highlights.
Portfolio of Student Work
Cathy Davidson, a humanities and pedagogy professor at the CUNY Graduate Center, used Manifold to publish an edited volume of her students’ final papers on equity in the university classroom. Manifold allowed these students to participate in the production of an OER, raising the stakes of their coursework and providing an avenue for their ideas to be engaged in discussions occurring in the broader CUNY community. The public nature of the Manifold edition adds the weight of writing for a public audience to final assignments, and provides students with a professional looking copy of their academic work that they can link to when searching for a job. Students could also collaborate on a single document in Google Docs and then use Manifold to publish the completed project.