Over the course of the summer, my mind was ablaze with many a new input surrounding technology and higher education. I have been working closely with April Lawrence and Gene Roche to construct a series of pedagogical modules that will help William & Mary faculty introduce online tools to their courses. I also taught my first blended/hybrid course: an introductory cultural geography course at John Tyler Community College. My involvement with these projects has exposed me to an array opinions, strategies, and tactics with regards to the intersection of technology and post-secondary institutions. These are clearly volatile times for those of us in higher education.
With the beginning of the semester upon us, I thought I’d bring together some posts that may be helpful for getting going this academic year. If you’re looking for something different to do with your class this semester, you might want to think about Google Hangout, one of the easiest ways to do videoconferencing in […]
This post will be a departure from my usual spotlight on tech tools. I seem to be having a lot of conversations lately about academic freedom, intellectual property, and access to academic resources. In a way, this does tie into our discussion about technology because technology — especially Internet databases — is supposed to make more things accessible to more people. The Internet is supposed to be the great equalizer.
In this podcast, Gene Roche, Director of Academic Information Services, sits down with Arthur Knight, Professor of American Studies and English to talk about Arthur’s new role as Faculty Facilities Coordinator at the College. This position is a relatively new one, in which, as Arthur puts it, he “serves at the pleasure of the Dean” of Arts and Sciences to be a more permanent liaison between facilities management and faculty.
Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance first introduced me to the competing concepts of the “classical” aesthetic and the “romantic” aesthetic. In short, and with apologies to Dr. Pirsig, the classical aesthetic is the ability to see beauty and meaning in systems and the interconnectivity of systems, while the romantic aesthetic is the ability to see beauty and meaning in individual objects. While these two aesthetics are not necessarily at odds with each other, I find that in my work as an academic technologist in the humanities, it really helps me to understand and exploit these distinctions.
There’s a commonly held belief that people under 30 have a natural tech-savviness. This isn’t actually the case when it comes to many instructional technologies, and assuming that it’s true can lead to problems when assigning a project that requires technology skills. To help give you an idea of what you might think about when assessing students’ technology skills and assigning a media-rich project, I have several suggestions for how to think through the planning, communication, and training/support when considering such a project.
In some ways my job is to be a bit of a predictor. We have to be constantly surveying the technology landscape to separate significant technology tools and techniques from the passing fads or temporary enthusiasms. Mercifully, most of my predictions are pretty private–like when I walked out of a demo in 1999 and told anyone who would listen that this wireless stuff would never catch on; it was just too slow and insecure. (I also ridiculed YouTube, which now serves up four billion videos a day, including hundreds of channels dedicated to “serious” learning.)