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Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
2007-2008
Annual Report
groups of three students across the campuses post
answers to a fixed set of questions and discuss with
each other that week’s assignment. At the end of the
class, Dr. Eskenazi “sits down” with the New York
students for an informal conversation and feedback.
Professors Weiss and Eskenazi worked from April
through August to develop the syllabus for this ground-
breaking course, while collaborating with the National
Director of eLearning, Gregg Alpert, to develop and
incorporate a range of appropriate and meaningful
educational technologies into the course’s structure.
Throughout the semester, they “meet” twice a week
to go over the next class, prepare the class assignments
on the Smartboard, and choreograph their team-
teaching. While it takes some time to adapt to the
technology, both Dr. Eskenazi and Dr. Weiss are
enthusiastic about the many new opportunities the
e-classroom offers in transforming the learning expe-
rience and integrating students across the campuses.
As Dr. Eskenazi points out, “This course is not only
an opportunity for students to learn how best to
benefit from
The Torah: A Women’s Commentary
and
other major modern Torah commentaries. Students
are learning also how to teach Bible to a community
of learners, and are experiencing and practicing how
to teach in front of the camera, how to use the
Smartboard and other electronic media, and how
to facilitate conversation with classmates on the
other coast. In this way, the course is empowering
the next generation of Jewish professionals to
embrace technology in creative and effective ways.”
The potential for video-conference teaching in
Smartclassrooms is enormous. When Professors
Eskenazi and Weiss presented a demonstration of this
class for the HUC-JIR Board of Governors, Rosanne
M. Selfon, President of the Women of Reform Judaism,
publisher of the
Commentary
with the URJ Press,
noted “The WRJ would love to have this capacity
to teach about the
Women’s Torah Commentary
to our
Sisterhood groups throughout North America!”
Face to Face,
Coast to Coast
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continued from page 11)