The Perfect Vehicle to Connect

Golf Cart Pedagogy invites the campus community to talk tech, teaching and learning—and tell their stories along the way.

By: Laura Diorio '20  Monday, September 9, 2019 10:09 AM

Have you caught Golf Cart Pedagogy, the Muhlenberg College take on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee? If you have, you'll notice the biggest difference: Instead of comic Jerry Seinfeld in a classy, vintage car, it’s Digital Cultures Technologist and Media & Communications Adjunct Professor Tony Dalton in a dependable golf cart. 

The idea for this mode of campus communication took off in August 2018 as Dalton and Tom Sciarrino, director of instructional technology & digital learning, carpooled to the Digital Pedagogy Lab at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. They wanted a fun way to engage the College community that would also explore and celebrate how faculty, staff and students use technology in their teaching and learning.

“It seemed like the strangest, silliest thing imaginable,” Dalton says about driving around campus at super-slow speeds while conversing about pedagogy and technology. “But visually this is more interesting than two talking heads, and there is no way you can take it too seriously.” 

Since its launch in April, Golf Cart Pedagogy has become an episodic adventure rolling through Muhlenberg’s campus. In August, the series won a Communications Award from SIGUCCS, a higher education IT organization.

The series began as a natural extension of what Dalton and Sciarrino do on campus. They believe their roles are less as technologists and more as facilitators, helping to connect people with ideas—and they want to give a platform to those who may not always be the first to voice their opinions online or on campus. A new segment is posted each month and interviews are already scheduled through the spring.

From the first episode featuring Tineke D’Haeseleer, assistant professor of history to a conversation with Eric Bond, master plumber in plant operations and a current Wescoe student to Professor of Chemistry Keri Colabroy talking about her humanizing philosophy of "chemistry for everyone," the series extols the idea that everyone has a story to share. 

The humble but reliable golf cart—utilized by many departments on campus, including plant operations, dining services and housekeeping—seemed like the perfect vehicle to serve up these conversations. Dalton says, “The carts are such a ubiquitous part of Muhlenberg life.”

Dalton, who hosts and edits each segment, inserts humor throughout the interviews and says getting hyper-edited sound bites and one-liners isn’t the priority. Rather, he’s aiming for a natural conversation that allows the interviewee to deem what’s important about their story and what’s not. 

Sciarrino and Dalton are quick to give credit for the success of the project to the entire media services and instructional technology team. “The entire crew, we’re all working together on this—coming up with ideas, suggesting people to interview, shooting the video,” says Sciarrino. “Every episode has been more fun than the last.”