ew program will enhance professors’ computer skills

by Sam Kean

To inject more technology into the classroom, the University’s Digital Media Center is funding a new program this fall.
The Faculty Fellowship program allows faculty members release time so they can explore aspects of technology-enhanced learning.
Project coordinator Kim Wilcox says the fellowship has numerous goals. For one, successful applicants implement a project using technology to enhance student learning.
Of equal importance is establishing communication between teachers about how best to implement this technology. Selected faculty members hold regular meetings and discuss different technology-enhanced learning strategies. In addition, those faculty members are expected to assist other faculty members who wish to implement projects.
The end result is a community of teachers for sharing knowledge. Also, Wilcox expects that results will be published in a peer journal, so teachers around the country can benefit from the findings.
Shih-Pau Yen, departmental director of Academic and Distributed Computing Services, said the project reflects the realities of current students.
“Faculty need to adjust to the fact that students today learn differently,” he said.
Yen added that students sometimes understand technology better than professors and, with so many new technologies, teachers might not know the best way to incorporate changes. The fellowship should help eliminate wasteful endeavors.
Yen projects success for the project because “it’s aggressive, but with minimal cost.”
A final matter of importance is how to gauge the effectiveness of the projects. Part of each faculty member’s application includes a plan for evaluating the effectiveness of the project.
The five successful applicants this year represented programs from across the curriculum spectrum. Food science professor Linda Brady plans to explore the effectiveness of online writing tutorials to improve student writing. She expects various Web sites to help students understand what professors look for in good writing.
College of Design coordinator Brad Hokanson said he hopes to have students design their own multimedia presentation. He said students in his field learn best when producing visual designs in this fashion.
The other successful applicants were Melissa Avery, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing; Victor Barocas, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering; and Murray Jensen, assistant professor in General College.
No more applicants will be selected this year, but applications will be taken again next fall.

Sam Kean welcomes comments at [email protected]. He can also be reached at 627-4070 x3212.