Technology Enabled Teaching November 16, 2005

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Avoiding Video as a 'Visual Gimmick' in Courses

Amy Pate
Manager, IPDS Thunderbird,
The Garvin School of International Management

Many times, as we begin to develop courses with our Thunderbird professors, it is easy to seek out the latest and greatest features from technology to give to our online students. The competitive spirit is high. Faculty want their content to be flashier, more exciting, and more entertaining than their colleagues'. My passion and involvement with technology also makes me want our students to have the latest technology gizmos and the latest "wingding" that invigorates online classes. Put those together, and you have a powerful new online course, right?.... Wrong!

It is really important in the age of information technology "leaps" to take a step back and be sure that you aren't creating "visual gimmicks" with your video-video-recorded content that looks great, but d'esn't add value to your course.

Adult online learners have one common goal: learn the information as efficiently as possible. They don't want to waste their time reviewing video that is put into an online course simply to add a "multimedia" aspect, or "liven up" dull content.

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News & Product Updates Introduces eTutoring Service

College students can now find 24/7 online tutoring from The company provides students with trained and experienced online tutors in subjects ranging including Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math (all the way to Calc IV), Statistics, Economics, and Accounting. Tutoring options include one-on-one and small group sessions. For more information:

eEurope Digitisation Week

November 14-17 has been designated as eEurope Digitisation Week. Activities will include a range of events promoting the use of digital collections in museums, libraries and archives across Europe. For more information:

SunGard SCT Releases New Versions of SCT PowerCAMPUS and IQ.Web

The latest release of SCT PowerCAMPUS and IQ.Web are designed to help institutions offer enhanced registration and payment convenience to the estimated 40 percent of adults in the U.S. participate in work-related continuing education courses and activities as well as learners in traditional programs, the company said. For more information:

Case Study

Teaching, Learning, and Other Uses for Wikis in Academia:
All Users Are Not Necessarily Created Equal

By Jude Higdon
Project Manager
The Center for Scholarly Technology
University of Southern California

Like many academic technology groups at campuses around the country, the Center for Scholarly Technology (CST) at USC has been wrestling with how to implement various types of social software, such as blogs and wikis, in the classroom. Over the past few years we have found some very good uses for blogs, including peer-reviewed journaling, Just-in-Time Teaching (Novak, et al, 1999), and meta-cognitive reflective practice. While we hit a few stumbling blocks early on, we seemed to be coming to some level of sophistication and adoption with the use of blogs as tools for enhancing teaching and learning as we entered into the 2005-2006 school year.

Use of wikis in the classroom has proved more elusive. While we never like to advocate the use of technology as an end of itself, our group saw great potential in the affordances of the wiki for teaching and learning. Students co-constructing meaning in a democratized digital space has a certain social constructivist (Bandura, 1976) elegance. And yet we struggled to impart this sense of potential to our faculty collaborators. By and large, people didn't seem ready for the freewheeling, uncontrolled wiki environment.

As tends to be the case when we find that our ideas aren't taking root among our faculty, we decided to take a step back this fall and listen hard to find out what needs we could meet, rather than trying to drum up business for a solution to a problem that may not have existed. It took us re-conceptualizing our idealized notion of how a wiki could be useful to our faculty (and to our students), but in the end we did, indeed find regularly articulated needs that the wikis could meet.

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Tech Notes

Stay On Top of Blackboard/WebCT Merger

Blackboard and WebCT created a joint Website to keep campus customers informed as the merger of the two companies move forward. Read more

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Reader Response

From the Reader Response Forum

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina share experiences, lessons learned, and your opinions on disaster planning and recovery.

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