FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Task Group A4

WHAT PROCESSES AND INITIATIVES ALREADY EXIST AT SIUE?

 

Ronald Banks

Justin Cleveland

Lynn Dieterich, Convener

Radcliffe Edmonds, Jr.

Kenneth Neher

Eric Voss
March 20, 2001

TLTR Task Group C 1 was asked to review the processes and initiatives already in place to support the integration of technology into teaching and learning at SIUE.The Group first reviewed the structure and function of the Academic Computing Council.The Task Group then developed a brief, informal set of questions which were distributed to the schools/college through the deans to solicit feedback about activities at the schools/college level.The report that follows does not represent a complete and thorough survey of every SIUE unit.Response to the survey was representative rather than complete, and the open-ended questions prompted varying approaches to response.But highlights of the responses received provide useful insight into current utilization of technology in teaching and learning at SIUE.


I. At a campus-wide level, the Academic Computing Council and the Cluster Committees are well established in the structure of support of academic computing and the utilization of technology at SIUE.The Academic Computing labs and classrooms are divided into Clusters, each related to a discipline (Business, Fine Arts, Engineering, Sciences and Mathematics), a building (Alumni Hall, Peck Hall) or a service (Student Services).Each Cluster is managed by an Academic Computing staff coordinator who also provides curriculum support in consultation with the faculty who teach or whose students use the labs and classrooms.


Each Cluster is served by a Cluster Committee comprised of faculty representatives of the departments which teach in the facilities as well as the Cluster Coordinator.TheCluster Committee meets with the Cluster Coordinator and the Director of Academic Computing to consult and advise about management concerns, curriculum plans, and other issues.Each year, the Cluster Committee also prioritizes budget requests which are conveyed to the Director of Academic Computing and the Academic Computing Council.


The Academic Computing Council includes the chairs of the Cluster Committees, the Director of Academic Computing, and representatives of the Council of Chairs, the East St. Louis Center, the School of Dental Medicine, the Faculty Senate, and the student body.The Chairperson is appointed by the Provost and serves at most two one-year terms.The Academic Computing Council reviews budget requests and other issues from the Cluster Committees and makes advisory recommendations to the Dean of Library Information Services.


II.
The schools/college were asked to highlight initiatives that illustrate the integration of technology into teaching and learning at SIUE.Many activities and initiatives in the colleges and schools at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville illustrate the integration of technology into teaching and learning.Across the university, colleges and schools continue to update the hardware in their classrooms by adding projectors and computers.SMART classrooms are a growing part of the technology infrastructure, and demand for them is increasing as more courses incorporate computer technology into instruction.Students are often required to give PowerPoint presentations in class, and many instructors use PowerPoint slide shows to accompany their lectures.


The use of e-mail for professional correspondence, student advising, and inter-office communication is widespread and is a well established part of the campus culture.Individual SIUE faculty members have enhanced their courses by creating course web pages, which at a minimum include the syllabus and assignments.Course web pages may also include class notes and slides, links to other web pages, past exams and study questions, and student tutorials.Some courses also incorporate web-based class projects, web-facilitated collaborative projects, and on-line, real-time chats with students.The Business School’s project to use technology to link our students with students in other countries in collaborative projects has been successfully implemented in Management and Economics classes and has received national recognition from the AACSB, ACE and AAUA.Colleges, schools, departments, and programs all have web pages providing information about their activities and links to individual faculty web pages.


Faculty members are implementing a variety of software packages to enhance their courses.The most widely used package on campus is WebCT, which offers many useful features for web-enhanced instruction.With WebCT, instructors have the ability to adapt their course materials to the web with minimal effort.Fully developed, course specific, WebCT materials are also now available from many textbook publishers.For example, the textbook adopted for General Chemistry has professionally created WebCT materials that accompany the text.Other “standard” software programs are integrated into courses throughout the University.For example, PAPA incorporates a variety of software packages including Excel, Access, SPSS, FrontPage, DreamWeaver, PowerPoint, and Word into their graduate courses.


Individual experimentation in the use of technology continues.The School of Dental Medicine has digitized its radiology clinic and is beginning to look at adding computer simulations to their anatomy classes to supplement the current hands-on anatomy experiences of dental students.Technology use is widespread in Art and Design courses and for composition and jazz keyboard courses in Music.In the School of Business, there have been some experiments to use technology to limit “seat time” in some upper-level undergraduate courses and in the weekend MBA program by putting lectures with audio on-line.Technology is used in mathematics classes in the form of “Derive”, a software program for visualizing mathematical concepts.Faculty are also writing their own software for use in instruction.For example, John Barker in Philosophical Studies developed a sophisticated software program, “Proto-Thinker”, designed to simulate the mind and included it in many exercises to help students in Critical Thinking.

Accrediting agencies are beginning to require technology components in programs offered on campus.The School of Education has made technology a priority in the development of new standards-based programs for teacher education.The Illinois State Board of Education, along with NCATE professional associations, have included new technology standards for all teachers.These standards are based on the ISTE standards and will be embedded across coursework and field experiences for all preservice teachers.The School of Engineering receives guidance from the Industrial and Professional Advisory Council (IPAC), which was established as a resource to gather information on new technologies and best practices which are current in the industrial sector.


Training of faculty and staff in the use of technology occurs through formal training workshops, and also informally.The Faculty Technology Center is a resource that has been utilized by faculty from many disciplines, and is given high praise for the expertise of its staff and the quality of support available to faculty.SIUE faculty have received technology training at the Faculty Summer Institute at the University of Illinois for several years.At the East St. Louis Center, staff members have participated in computer training, both Center-wide and program specific.Several faculty in the School of Education offer Engaged Learning workshops to area public school teachers, which offer inservice teachers opportunities to learn new technology applications for teaching and learning.There are many less formal interactions among faculty and staff which result in the spread of the use of technology in teaching and learning.For example, within the School of Nursing ,“brown bag” type interactions and individual mentoring have been effective means of sharing knowledge in regards to web teaching and adding web enhancements to individual courses.


Non-computer technology also plays an important role at the University.In the College of Arts and Sciences, the level of support for advanced scientific instruments for use in laboratory instruction has been pivotal in increasing the technological competence of science students.Chemistry, Physics, Biological Sciences, and Environmental Sciences, all have equipment-intensive laboratory experiences for students.In Geography, all GIS classes use technology heavily.In the School of Engineering, hands-on laboratories are a foundation of the engineering programs.With the new engineering building, the most visible laboratories are the Computer Integrated Manufacturing Laboratory, the CE/ME Testing Laboratory, and the projected wind tunnel for the Aerodynamics Laboratory.

Technological and web-based resources are also beginning to be used for assessment.In the School of Education, many programs require students to demonstrate technology competence in the Senior Assignment (portfolio).For example, the Alton PDS program uses an online assessment that requires students to demonstrate competence on the ISTEstandards.In many departments across campus, students use technology in their Senior Assignment projects and presentations.


Student support is another area in which technology is increasingly being applied.Instructional Services has offered an on-line study course, the Writing Center has a writing tips e-mail listserv that posts weekly tips for improving writing, and tutorial software is available for reading, writing, math, and study skills courses.The Career Development Center staff who teach AD 117 use technology through SIGI for helping students explore career possibilities.The East St. Louis Center uses computers in their college preparatory and secondary level programs, the Charter School, their preschool programs, and their programs serving adult learners.At the Center, computer programs are utilized for career awareness and college preparation, the preparation and educational development of children, and using the Internet to research employability skills, home ownership purchasing, availability of homes in the area, and financial aid applications.

III. The schools/college were asked to share something of their accumulated experiencewith instructional technology and what does and does not work well in particular disciplines.

Examples of efforts that have worked well include:

Similarly, respondents shared observations about initiatives or experiences which have been less successful.

IV. The schools/college were asked in an open-ended question to identify one or two specific things that are missing that would facilitate their specific initiatives to integrate technology into teaching and learning.Most of the responses were general rather than specific in nature and included the following:

Several units responded with more specific suggestions addressing both limited projects and large-scale efforts.

V. The schools/college were asked to identify formal and informal support for the integration of technology into teaching and learning within the schools/college.Several similar themes were evident in the responses.

Several suggestions were offered to further support the integration of technology into teaching and learning at the school/college level.Again, topping the list of suggestions were funds, faculty released time, training, hardware and software to support actual enhancement or development of courses.More specifically, it was suggested that in CASthe Academic Computing Clusters might regularly discuss goals, needs and examples of how they can come together to create stronger support for their various ideas and needs.It was also suggested that attention to informal simple recognition of innovative efforts, especially by junior faculty, would provide encouragement and support.Finally, the importance and motivating potential of more formalized and well communicated expectations with respect to the utilization of technology in teaching and learning was noted. VI. The schools/college were asked to describe any processes in place to determine what projects, technology purchases, etc. are funded or otherwise supported. Funding for technology purchases and projects is determined differently from school to school and sometimes from department to department. In some cases, more technology purchasing responsibility is placed upon the individual departments and programs while the chairs may or may not meet regularly to specifically discuss technology spending. The School of Business reported specifics on the operation of its computing committee:


After an inventory and determination of the technology needs within each department, the committee representatives meet annually to distribute the computer funds available from the Provost’s Office and EUE. “We look at faculty needs, and the School and Departments’ needs for presentation technology. It is a very collegial group, and it is not difficult to establish priorities.” Other technology decisions such as which classrooms and labs should be made ‘smart’ are left up to the Dean and Associate Dean, in consultation with a scheduling advisor. The classroom software and equipment needs are then routed to the Academic Computing Council.

 

Similarly, in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Equipment Committee is responsible for some departmental equipment purchases. The Executive Committee is responsible for determining the allocation of funds and specific technology needs with the help of program area faculty for the School of Education annually. In other schools, though possibly less formal and with less involvement at the departmental level, comparable processes are in place involving prioritized annual technology requests or submissions. In general, much of the support for these processes comes from campus-wide organizations such as the Academic Computing Council. Funding for web-based content development for courses and specific professional programs has previously been provided by the Provost’s office. Otherwise, many of the department chairs are simply not aware of any such formal processes. In some units, disagreements and/or confusion may exist about the current processes and the constraints involved in budgeting for technology.

VII. Finally, the schools/college were asked about how faculty involvement in the integration of technology into teaching and learning was included in faculty evaluation and reward and whether any current processes were systemic and formalized.Few direct reward or formal evaluation systems are in place that specifically encourage or measure faculty involvement with technology in most of the schools or departments. Many of the responses gathered indicate that faculty evaluation and reward for employing technology falls under the category of overall innovation in the classroom, which is of course highly valued throughout the University. The consensus seems to be that most encouragement and support for technology involvement is generally informal and usually based on individual interests that pertain to a discipline.A few responses, however, noted, “improvements in student learning should be the basis for reward [and the target of evaluation, if at all possible] rather than a faculty member’s acquiring new techniques.” The standards for reward and evaluation that are in place in various departments vary, and some have voiced concern for formalizing them. Paraphrased below are some of the responses from the survey:

·School of Education: Faculty involvement is evaluated through the Faculty Annual Review process where faculty are given an opportunity to indicate significant improvements made to courses/programs, including the use of technology. These improvements may include the implementation of a technology-based learning or assessment process.

·College of Arts and Sciences: Faculty evaluation of technology use varies within each department.

·School of Business: Faculty are not required to use instructional technology to be highly-rated in the School of Business, nor is the innovative use of instructional technology a formal performance criterion used to evaluate faculty on their teaching. It is, however, indirectlyfactored into evaluations, tenure, and promotion, merit rewards and decisions on whom to nominate for teaching awards. Faculty who have been actively involved in technology and curriculum have received a significant amount of exposure within and the outside the School. Faculty Activity Reports include several questions related to teaching that provide an opportunity for faculty to report about their use of technology. Though there are other paths to being recognized as a leader in innovative curriculum development, faculty who actively use technology are often perceived as innovative and state-of-the-art.

·School of Engineering: No formal evaluation or reward process is in place to recognize technological innovation in courses. Possible indirect rewards are acknowledgement of committee assignments, receiving EUE or FUR awards, etc. The School of Engineering encourages all faculty members acquiring new information to improve their teaching and learning by participating in various internal and external seminars.

·East St. Louis Center: Involvement in the integration of technology is not included in staff evaluation and reward. The integration is due to activities, services and plans which have been proposed and are a part of the plans of operation. Staff members, however, are encouraged to innovate and are not limited to proposed activities.

 

In conclusion, the Group found that a significant level of innovative effort is being invested in the integration of technology into teaching and learning at SIIUE.These efforts are concentrated in the enhancement of current courses and programs rather than the development of completely on-line courses and programs.Faculty across instructional units and disciplines are utilizing a broad spectrum of technologies to support their professional and scholarly activities and to enhance instruction.Additional resources to support facilities, equipment and software, faculty training and staff support, as well as additional faculty released time would all be welcomed.Processes for allocating funds for technical resources as well as processes for recognizing and rewarding faculty involvement vary among units and are generally not formalized.Across the University, many faculty are enthusiastically utilizing technology to enhance courses and programs and appear well positioned to help shape SIUE’s future utilization of technology in teaching and learning.