Free software offered to U faculty

Erin Ghere

The University’s Digital Media Center will become the first in the country to offer faculty members free high-end software this week in an attempt to introduce more technology into the classroom.
Information sessions are being offered for interested Twin Cities campus faculty members this week.
“The software is specifically for course development,” said Scott Wilson-Barnard, a Digital Media Center developer.
The faculty kits include a CD-ROM and the address of a Web site that explains the software the center is giving away. The CD-ROM and related Web site also explain how faculty members can use the technology in their courses.
The program was established to help faculty create new learning environments for students, said Linda Jorn, director of the media center. Two main barriers exist between faculty and technology: access and time. Jorn said the media center is offering free access to help close the gap.
The center will give out software worth $100,000 to faculty members.
“This is a new initiative to try to help faculty members to use technology and get technology into the classroom,” Wilson-Barnard said. “The new, exciting part is that we’re giving away software to faculty developers.”
The software can do two things to benefit faculty: help them make CD-ROMs for use in class and create Web sites for student use.
Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia Dreamweaver and Netscape Communicator are three of the programs the media center will distribute to faculty members who request the software.
Only Twin Cities campus faculty paid through the University, as opposed to instructors paid by other sources, are eligible for the free programs.
Wilson-Barnard said some of the software will require faculty to go to the Digital Media Center for access to higher-powered computer hardware necessary to run the programs.
To aid faculty in exploring the software, the media center has also established training programs, technology consultants, collegiate support and student helpers, Jorn said.

Erin Ghere covers faculty and welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3217.