Visible Knowledge Project


The Visible Knowledge Project was a five-year, four million dollar project aimed at improving the quality of college and university teaching through a focus on student learning and faculty development in technology-enhanced environments. With more than 70 faculty from 22 campuses engaged in the scholarship of teaching, the VKP was among the largest research projects in the country on technology and learning, and one of the largest in the humanities, social sciences, and interdisciplinary culture fields.

VKP placed questions about the integration of technology within a broad context of faculty inquiry into student learning and innovative practice. As information technologies spread throughout higher education, they bring with them the potential for transforming the nature of teaching, learning, and educational institutions, in general. Yet with these changes come a multitude of fundamental questions about teaching and learning. The Visible Knowledge Project moved beyond general notions about the promise and impact of educational technologies by asking such questions as:

  • How can interactive learning environments enhance the way students acquire knowledge in culture and history courses?
  • Which specific approaches maximize the impact of certain technologies; which technologies enhance particular approaches?
  • What role and impact do new media technologies have in helping to make the tacit knowledge of expert learners visible to students?
  • How do new online environments transform ways that students can perform their understanding, and the way we assess them?
  • How do certain frameworks, tools, and models enable innovation? Can a richer context for innovation help faculty implement change at deeper levels of transformation than is generally possible at present?
  • How can we better help faculty turn their own ways of knowing into more meaningful and deeper learning experiences for students using new technologies and learner-centered pedagogies?
  • Can we begin to develop frameworks for faculty to think about learning that can be effectively combined with investigative tools and models of scholarship of teaching and learning?

With its truly national scope, VKP represents a unique combination of theoretical and practical explorations, in both local and virtual contexts. We captured the models, resources, and cases in web-based, video, and print materials that we disseminated through a variety of venues, beginning with the Crossroads of Teaching and Learning site, (part of the American Studies Crossroads site, already an internationally established site for teaching and learning materials in American Studies and related fields). VKP built on already established faculty networks built through the New Media Classroom Program (sponsored by the American Social History Project) consisting of eight regional centers and more than 300 faculty, the Crossroads Project network of American Studies Programs and American Studies Association members, and through partnerships with other key related multi-institutional, national conversations, including the “campus conversations” on the scholarship of teaching and learning of the Carnegie Foundation. CNDLS continues to build on this work in a number of ongoing projects, both at Georgetown and in collaboration with partners at other institutions.

The January 2009 issue of Academic Commons features a synthesis of findings and a set of case studies from the Visible Knowledge Project. Further information about the participants and the project can be found on the VKP site