3(b). Educational Applications of Technology
2.2 (technical competence), 2.8 (instructional innovation and dissemination) 3.4 (improving teaching and learning), 3.6 (information resources), 3.7 (resources support purposes), 4.2 (technological needs), Question 6 (innovations in teaching) under Teaching and Learning (2), questions 3, 5, and 6 (adequacy of information resources, promoting information literacy, and technology response to faculty needs) under Fiscal, Physical, and Information Resources (3)
Rapid changes in the computer and media industries have prompted universities to re-envision ways of incorporating technology in administrative and educational functions. Issues that we face in incorporating technology into education include: (a) difficulties in mobilizing resources to keep up with uses of technology in the private sector, including funding and staffing; (b) a lack of consensus about the role of technology in enhancing teaching; (c) limited student access to high speed internet connections once they move out of the residence halls; and (d) a historic decentralization of responsibility for computing on the campus.
In recent years, the campus has addressed barriers to wide dissemination of technology in and out of the classroom. Barriers have included: (a) equipment failure; (b) little or no training to use equipment appropriately; (c) lack of technical expertise to create materials in multiple platforms; and (d) inability to update skills to keep pace with rapid changes in programs and equipment.
The Chancellor has re-structured committees and units charged with overseeing educational technology to address some of these barriers and to provide the means for creating a new strategic vision for our use of technology to support teaching and learning. Prior to restructuring, technology support was splintered, inefficient, and seemed inaccessible because faculty members did not know whom to ask for help. To address these issues, an Educational Technology Committee (ETC) has been charged with overseeing the use of educational computing and related technologies on campus, and is responsible for envisioning future uses of technology to support education. The general goals of the ETC are to "use technology to further the University's teaching mission by reducing faculty administrative load, by improving pedagogy, by increasing efficiency and capacity...and by increasing disaster readiness (Letter from Chair of ETC)." Media and technology services have been melded into the new Educational Technology Services (ETS), a "one-stop shopping" user-friendly technological support service to faculty members. In addition, funding of educational technology has increased from $0.7 million to $5.0 million between 1997-98 and 2000-01. In 2000-01, $1.2 million of that was designated for classroom technology improvements, the greatest single campus-wide allocation.
Leveraging Technology to Improve Student Learning
As an example of current projects to leverage the impact of technology on education, the e-Berkeley Learning Management System (LMS) project, scheduled for release in a skeletal form Summer 2002, is a first iteration of a system to create a meaningful web presence for every course. This web-site will be expandable, so that faculty members can easily upload files from almost any platform to customize the information about the course, and students eventually will be able to use the site to access a discussion group for each class. Faculty members can link to a site to obtain information about on-line assessment, use of discussion groups for teams of students, and other advanced features.
Educational Technology Services has the primary responsibility for supporting general media and technology use. ETS maintains and oversees audio/visual and computer equipment, provides video facilities for broadcast, web-cast, conferencing, and satellite uplinks, and offers faculty members assistance and training in web-site development. Plans are in progress for equipping most classrooms with dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) which will make existing ethernet connections functional and automatic by Fall 2002.
To encourage faculty use of educational technology, the campus offers Instructional Improvement Grants: 29 awards totaling $62,942 went to recipients of Classroom Technologies Grants in the academic year 2000-2001. Grants fund website development, digitization of curricular materials, coordination of chat rooms, development of interactive tutorials, and purchase of software or hardware to support instruction. The University also supports a weeklong intensive Summer Faculty Technology Program, which 20 ladder faculty members attended in June 2002 for training and practice and peer support in the use of educational technologies. Evaluations from faculty attendees showed a very high level of satisfaction, with all respondents saying that the overall program was "very worthwhile."
Using Technology in Courses
Although universal accessibility of technology to faculty and students is growing, according to a survey of department chairs and undergraduate program directors in the 2000-01 academic year, we have a ways to go before reaching that goal. Of 75 departments responding (out of 78), only 46 (63%) said they have detailed course descriptions for all courses on-line. The table below summarizes the use of technology in responding departments. Some departments use technology quite a bit, but the majority uses it relatively little. Since this survey will be undertaken annually, we will be able to monitor changes in the use of technology over time.
Table 3 (b).i: Number of Departments that Apply these Technologies in Their Courses (out of 78)
Two departments have developed extensive technological innovations, both receiving Educational Initiatives Awards in 2001: Digital Chem 1A and the Multimedia Authoring Initiative in Anthropology (MACTiA). The Digital Chem 1A class received the award for innovative use of technology in a large lecture class to improve undergraduate instruction. Chemistry 1A is one of the largest gateway classes for undergraduates, taken by about 2000 students per year. The course has been digitized: lectures and notes are web-cast (videotaped and put on the web), and cross-referenced so that students can move directly to particular content and find answers to common questions. The digitization includes streamlined quiz and homework completion and grading, computerized notes to save faculty time that had been spent in creating new blackboards for each and every class, and improved communication between faculty and students. Evaluation of the program included a comparison between student performance with and without the "supplemental" on-line support. Preliminary analysis of results shows no significant difference in student performance in the two groups, and provides insight into student attitudes toward attendance in large lectures. While the course offered a variety of technological innovations, the expense to maintain the course (programming, staffing, and so on) raised questions about the long-term viability of technological change in the current economic climate.
The Multimedia Authoring Initiative was developed to integrate a wide range of multimedia into the teaching of anthropology, especially archaeology. Each section of students acts as a production team that uses a variety of software programs to present archaeological data, theories, discoveries, and cultural histories, incorporating visual evidence via video and still pictures along with text and sound. This project contrasts with Digital Chem 1A because of its emphasis on small group work. Table 3 (b).ii shows several other examples of uses of technology to support education.
Table 3 (b).ii: Examples of Uses of Technology in Various Classes
Future Uses of Educational Technology
2.14 (planned way to assist transfer students)
Berkeley participates with the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS: a coalition of 4 UC campuses, industry, and government to "create and harness information technology to tackle society's most critical needs") to provide the lower division Computer Science curriculum for UC Merced. With this particular CITRIS grant, faculty members at Berkeley develop the platform and modular course content, CITRIS helps identify and set up the technology, and students in California's Central Valley can study high caliber course materials without traveling to Berkeley to do it. Similar modular courses may prove to be the answer to decreasing time-to-degree for transfer students who have taken most of a course's content in a previous community college class, but who need another component before moving on to upper division courses. A few courses on campus currently have a distance-learning component—in the Haas School of Business and the Economics Department, for example.
As part of the Chancellor's current undergraduate fund-raising priority, an initiative called BRIDGE (Berkeley Resources for Internet Delivery of General Education) will "build pedagogical content for 20 large-enrollment 'gateway' courses in the core lower-division curriculum, and technology to deliver that content and to support teaching large-enrollment classes (Letter from Chair of ETC)." BRIDGE is still under development, having received $100,000 from Hewlett to begin planning for 4-6 courses over the next couple of years.
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