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Improving the Instructional Use of Existing and Future Technology

Two of the more frequent requests regarding technology in classrooms and labs are (1) for devices to work as expected when needed and (2) for someone or someplace to turn to for help in learning how to best apply technology in teaching. Both of these common issues could be addressed with the addition of a full-time instructional technology coordinator who would have both technical and teaching skills.

(1)The College has done remarkably well in equipping classrooms with a common set of basic technology. But often this technology fails us for a variety of reasons including cables disconnected, cables connected incorrectly, dead batteries, missing remotes, or being unable to find the A/V cabinet key, and so on resulting in lost instruction time. The instructional technology coordinator would direct a small staff of student assistants to regularly check technology-equipped classrooms to keep them in working order and to be available to assist faculty with special setup needs. For example, a faculty member could request delivery and setup of an A/V cart and would be free to use the precious time before class preparing to teach rather than wheeling around a cart and hoping to connect the cables fast enough to begin class on time.

(2) The required knowledge for performing tasks such as video editing or planning how to best accomplish a pedagogical goal with technology mostly already exists, but it is distributed among different faculty and staff members and in different places so that a person seeking help may not know the right person or place to go. For example, a Political Science faculty member has masterfully integrated audio podcasts into his or her teaching so much so that students are more excited about the material and are creating their own podcasts to teach classmates. Another faculty member has a similar desire to create and share audio and increase student ownership of learning, but is unfamiliar with podcasts and is also unaware of the exciting and pedagogically effective podcasts in that Political Science class. The instructional technology coordinator would spend his or her time keeping up with the latest developments in classroom technology and pedagogy to be able to teach faculty, staff, and students these skills.

Evaluation of learning outcomes:

The coordinator would follow-up with faculty who adopt technology to determine whether or not it proved to be pedagogically effective by for example conducting a survey before and after a lesson offered without and with technology. This close interaction with faculty would allow the coordinator to measure learning improvement and monitor utilization of existing technology to wisely plan future technology investments.

This proposal requires funding, but should save personnel time, which in turn will save money, by having a full-time, dedicated person with the required technical and pedagogical skills who can more effectively provide this service rather than distributing extra work on already burdened faculty, library staff, and Information Technology Services staff.

Contact person:  William Bares

For a PDF of the proposal, click here.

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