Technology Enabled Teaching January 4 2006

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Why ICT Literacy Assessment Is Needed Now

By Dr. Ilene F. Rockman
The California State University,
Office of the Chancellor

Today’s college students are adept at downloading music, using instant messaging to chat with friends, sending e-mail, and surfing the web—but do they know how to effectively find, evaluate, and use information appropriately?

Anecdotal information from faculty and librarians say “no”—that students just accept what they find on the Internet as credible, authoritative, and reliable—and that they can download and use information however they please.

That’s one of the reasons why several colleges and universities are interested in assessing students’ information and communication technology (ICT) skills—to see just how information and tech savvy students really are.

The California State University (23 campuses) and several other two and four-year higher education institutions have partnered with ETS to develop the ICT Literacy Assessment, a new performance-based, web-based, interactive tool designed to measure students’ cognitive skills within a digital environment.

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News & Product Updates

Sloan Study Finds Distance Education Growth In Higher Ed

The Sloane Foundation just released survey on U.S. online education suggests distance education courses are firmly implanted in the higher education landscape and that regular faculty are doing the instruction. Sixty-three percent of schools offering undergraduate face-to-face courses also offer undergraduate courses online. Among all schools offering face-to-face Master's degree programs, 44 percent also offer Master's programs online. With respect to staffing, 65 percent of higher education institutions report that they are using primarily core faculty to teach their online courses compared to 62 percent that report they are using primarily core faculty to teach their face-to-face courses, and 74 percent of public colleges report that their online courses are taught by core faculty, as opposed to only 61 percent for their face-to-face courses. Read more

Library of Congress Gets Google Grant to Build Digital Collection of Rarities

The Library of Congress has accepted a $3 million grant from Google to begin building an international digital collection of rare books, manuscripts, maps, posters, stamps and other materials from its holdings and those of other national libraries that will be freely accessible for viewing by anyone, anywhere with Internet access. James H. Billington, head of the Library of Congress, said his goal is to bring together materials from the United States and Europe with items from Islamic nations, as well as important materials from collections in East and South Asia. Read more

Semantic Computing Grid Design To Solve Complex Problems For Industry

Professor Ziga Turk, featured in the December 15 Issue of IST Results, describes the Inteligrid program sponsored by the European Commission's IST program. InteliGrid is based on semantic computing and is designed to connect Virtual Organizations to solve complex problems. Its concern is not so much words, but meaning, and will attempt to model how teams fabricate engineering products in complex industries like aerospace, shipbuilding and construction, where large numbers of partners need to come together remotely. Inteligrid has significant potential applications for collaborative, international coursework. Read more

Case Study

Understanding Dreamweaver: Skill-based training in a Pedagogical Context

By Ed Schwartz
Manager of the Faculty Development Institute
and Director of the New Media Center
Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., with more than 500 non-teaching scientific investigators on faculty, aims to become one of the nation's top 30 research universities. This number is slated to grow to several thousand over the next few years. For more than a decade, the university has successfully leveraged information technology to compete more effectively for research funding, weather campus budget cuts, and rethink its teaching strategies. The Faculty Development Institute (FDI), launched in 1993, provides faculty with direct access to state-of-the-art technology and the training to use it.

Macromedia Dreamweaver (now part of Adobe) plays a key role in this skills development incentive program, which is ongoing and campus wide.

Unlike many other institutions, we do not have a production shop on campus to accommodate our classroom instructors. Instead of designing individual websites or adapting content for use with a course management system, we train faculty to do the work themselves.

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Tech Notes

Node Learning Technologies Network

The Node Learning Technologies Network ( is an on-line education organization based in Canada. The Node publishes on a variety of topics useful in higher education. The report on blended learning presents important issues in a format that relies on case studies and examples.

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