|Date: Wed, 15 Jan 1997 09:44:57 -0500
From: email@example.com (Dickie Selfe)
At the recent Epiphany
Institute in Wash. D.C. I asked participants (about 60 or
so) to think about the most important challenges they
faced as they tried to begin or to continue programs that
encourage teaching with technology. It is certainly an
activity that I would recommend, but it is simply the
beginning of a longer conversation that I hope will
continue either on Epiphany-L or Chortt-l. Together we
have to try to move beyond our understanding of
challenges and develop useful, site-specific challenges.
Here's my plan. I will post (as I type them in)
the somewhat edited comments of the participants. I think
they are useful for at least three reasons:
- they show the patterns of challenges that
seem to run across post-secondary institutions
(and probably k-12);
- they may alert us to problems we don't now
recognize at our own institutions; but more
- they give us a starting point for sharing
strategies for approaching local solutions.
If you have the time, skim the set of statements
and post comments to any one or any group of common
issues that strike you as important. Here goes:
************* Challenges 1 *************
- * Midsize Midwestern State Engineering U.,
resident campus, predominantly white male,
- We need to remove barriers between teachers
across curriculum who want to collaborate on
technology/teaching ventures. The lab fees for
each major go to individual departments, and
while this works well to support individual labs,
every time some interdisciplinary project comes
up, students end up paying multiple fees.
Teachers are probably avoiding extensive,
technology-rich collaboration across campus for
- * English Department of 600 students, public
research institution of 25,000.
- Since I work in a department of electrical
and computer engineering the challenge I face
concerns the use of technology to teach, instead
of, or as a substitute for human (face to face)
communication. Over-reliance on web page
instruction reminds me of our nation's habit of
using electronic baby-sitters, TV, to teach our
young children. Our challenge is to find ways to
humanize high tech. instruction. Our writing
center reflects this concern and was created to
address it. A second, but related challenge, is
to find ways to integrate writing and speaking
into the technical curriculum.
- * Southern State University, 25,000 students,
writing center with 3,500 contact per year.
- 1. My own inadequacies and lack of expertise
and knowledge: a) lack of knowledge about
hard/software b) lack of knowledge about what is
available in labs and classrooms.
2. Most pressing is that 4 computers are coming
into the writing center for our consultants to
use. I want to make sure they are used
efficiently and appropriately for enhancing the
writing skills of students.
- * Small liberal arts school, primarily
residential, 2200 students (1600 undergraduates)
- I see one of our greatest challenges as being
the lack of preparation time & technology
training necessary. The kind and amount of tech.
support are inadequate, leaving faculty with the
feeling that they are regarded as nuisances by
the tech. folks. We seem to be exceptional in
that our administration is "sold" on
- * Jesuit University w. 4,200 under/grad.
students, large English major, MA program, comp.
taught by GTAs, 3-year old computer classroom
- - having enough sophisticated equipment &
- enough time to work on a project.
- enough knowledge about particular software
- Once an instructional project has been
conceptualized, the challenges are:
- having the technology-rich (TR) environment to
- having the computers & technology work
during class & out-of-class experiences
- having students get beyond the soft/hardware
learning and get on with the
- " the facilities for students to work on
assignments outside of class
- * Another Participant from the same Jesuit
- 1. overcoming a bad physical classroom design
in computer classroom that has made f2f human
interaction nearly impossible in the room. people
dislike being there.
2. inadequate time and resources for writing
3. technical support is too far distant in time
4. MOST SIGNIFICANT: insufficient pedagogical
theory in connecting computers & composition.
We've seen this as software problems, but it's a
- * Protestant Christian University
- 1st: shifting my pedagogy: I have learned to
teach and have taught many years under the
traditional or teacher-centered model, so moving
to a TWT , student-centered environment is a
challenge. I need to know how to do this on a
daily basis and see good modeling of these
2nd: finding time to learn the new technologies
well enough to teach with them is a challenge. We
do not get release time or load reduction to
learn these systems along with 4 classes and
serving on various committees.
3rd: our technology support personnel give us
instruction but leave us on our own too soon. We
need more hand holding.