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Teaching Excellence Center

Circle Summaries February 1999

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Monday 4:00 Session

Our group met with Mary Ann Blind, the new OIT Director at SFA. We had a productive discussion regarding new directions for OIT, and how OIT is looking at ways to help faculty develop their technology expertise. Faculty might use this new expertise in their classooms, for the development of distance learning courses, or to aid with research projects.

Tuesday 12:00 Session

We enjoyed a visit from MaryAnn Blind, Director of the Office of Instructional Technology and Allen West, Technology Program Coordinator in the Office of Instructional Technology. We asked them questions about OIT and issues on computing.

1. MaryAnn talked about the three functions of OIT: helping faculty develop technology to use in the classroom, teaching and training of new technology, and helping faculty with distance education. She gave many examples of faculty on campus using interactive video or web based instruction. Faculty are not limited to one or the other or any specific type of delivery method. OIT can help faculty develop their courses with a variety of multimedia. Virtually any course can become a distance education course.

2. Some of the current issues in distance education we talked about were universities and colleges offering courses through distance education that do not have real campuses; formula funding for students enrolled in many institutions at once through distance education; and students on our campus enrolled in web based courses and traditional at the same time.

3. We asked if site licenses for some software could be available on the university web for faculty and staff to download. OIT will contact UIS to explore this issue.

4. MaryAnn and Melane asked if the library could upgrade Claris Works to Appleworks in the LINC. (I asked about Appleworks upgrade in LINC and as of this moment, all Mac's are upgraded with Appleworks.)

5. MaryAnn and Melane discussed making Melane's class completely web based. Melane had the coursework on the web already, so this will be a simple task to do.

We had a very interesting discussion and we thank MaryAnn Blind and Allen West for coming.

Tuesday 4:00 Session

February 9, 1999

At our first meeting, we discussed possible topics for future meetings, and we set our next meeting date.

Our next meeting will be March 2, 1999. I'll send reminders to everyone (or call, if necessary).

Much of conversation was introductory interaction, as we shared information about ourselves and our work. But we did seem to agree to several future topics, and we thought that (1) they would most likely weave together, and (2) that we would most likely digress regularly, which would be fine.

Topics / Interests:

1--Upper-level students who have no understanding or experience in "research" or in writing and research. Too many students are victims of the "Research Paper" they did in 132, which was most likely a one-time assignment on a literary topic. This does nothing to help them learn about how to use research and resources to solve problems, answer questions, or engage in inquiry in disciplines across the campus.

We thought we would perhaps ask Karen Wielhorski to visit us to talk about her CLUE program

2--CHANGE. Why is it so difficult here? How might we learn to present ideas for change so that they aren't seen as so threatening? How can we encourage active, reflective, professional engagement among colleagues (translate "change")? What kinds of "change" are we talking about?

3--How does the SFA03 document translate into our everyday practices, as teachers and as professionals. We all agree that the document describes a wonderfully progressive intellectual environment, but how do we achieve it? (This no doubt intersects with #2.)

4--Invite OIT folks (Mary Ann Blind, Cindy Coats, Allen West) to talk with us about technology and instruction. Might consider inviting our colleagues, too, so that we reach a few more folks?

That's it. We think we have a very active and interesting group.

Wednesday 3:00 Session (no summary)

Thursday 3:15 Session

Report from our last meeting. Four of us attended, and we had a productive chat about ways to get small classes talking and interacting with one another. Suggestions: come up with lists of "things to look for" to give students before they read what they are going to read; find a critical lens through which to filter everything throughout the semester so that students' reading is always a bit more focused than it might otherwise be. I think that we were all interested in talking more about this and discussing student motivation and ways to get students interacting in substantial ways.


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