Epiphany Summer Institutes

At the Richmond Institute, the forty participants broke out into teams to prepare a series of group presentations for the end of the week. The teams worked either on redesigning a traditional syllabus for use in technology-rich environments or on strategies for introducing institutional change. The Richmond leaders have posted photographs of these groups at the Institute web site.

The Teams

CommonDIWES Mozillas Slow Starters Syllabusters Transformers

The groups tackled issues surrounding technological change on college and university campuses, worked to redesign individual syllabi, and built collaborative bridges for the duration of the Epiphany Project. Interestingly, none of the groups offered prescriptive or normative formulas for rewriting syllabi or training faculty.

For many participants, one of the most valuable parts of the workshop was observing mainstream faculty interacting with new technologies in an intensive, focused environment for a full week. Observing highly experienced teachers learning about email, hypertext and the Internet, online discussion, networked file-sharing, and collaborative electronic  pedagogies gave us insight into the needs other faculty may have as they either encounter computers for the first time or attempt to use them more fully with their teaching and scholarly practices. Each workshop gave constant reminders that computer-and-composition workshops are still faculty development  workshops and that technology-trainers should keep magical thinking about computers to a minimum by concentrating on teaching first, technology second . All of this is reminiscent of the early adopter-to-mainstream continuum that Steve Gilbert wrote about in the oft-cited March/April 1996 issue of Change Magazine , published by the American Association of Higher Education. Gilbert is a co-principal investigator for the Epiphany Project; his Teaching, Learning and Technology (TLT) Roundtables are a sister project.

Since the institute introduced collaborative writing software, including the Daedalus Integrated Writing Environment , the Common DIWEs worked on ways to redesign their syllabi to take advantage of the conferencing power of DIWE. For their final presentation, members demonstrated an Interchange session, with several group members participating from a remote lab in a discussion of ways in which real-time electronic discussions will enliven their classrooms this fall.

Slow Starters

This group looked at difficult political and logistical questions that advancement of technology presents for educators, focusing on questions about access, affordability, gender and race discrimination, and multicultural sensitivity. Reactions to this group were strong because the issues they raised touched all of the participants deeply.


This group project focused on building effective technology partnerships to change relationships between universities, faculties, administrators, staff, and communities. Their work revolved around the asking of seven main questions.

Finding that answers to each of these may imply changes to previous answers and thus prompt recursiveness, the group designed a planning "wheel" to aid in building effective partnerships.

Formats Themes Leaders People

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