Emory Report

Feb. 8, 1999

 Volume 51, No. 19

Culpeper/CTC program helps faculty integrate web-based technologies into the classroom

Students in Allen Tullos and Walt Reed's team-taught "American Routes: Tradition and Transformation in American Musical Cultures" can download at least six versions of the folk song "In the Pines" and read a New York Times article about the song written after Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain's death. Strongly influenced by blues musician Leadbelly, Cobain sang the mournful tune on "MTV Unplugged." His version, and Leadbelly's, appears on the web site as well.

The web-based course takes Tullos and Reed's students on a cultural ride, exploring musical styles as diverse as zydeco and klezmer and as ideologically dissimilar as cowboy songs and tunes of social protest. A click of the mouse finds the music of Southern Appalachia, Nova Scotia--and Atlanta--among others, with generous samples of each of these musical styles.

Although he had taught "American Routes" in the past, Tullos spent last summer participating in the Culpeper/ CTC Program, a four-week summer seminar jointly sponsored by the Culpeper Foundation and Emory's Center for Teaching and Curriculum (directed by Reed) that helps faculty use new technologies in their instruction. Before, Tullos said, "I utilized the traditional kinds of technology-cassette tapes and videotapes, and film and slides."

In the summers of 1997 and 1998 faculty chosen for the Culpeper seminar were given a crash course in electronic technology and shown how to incorporate new media into their courses. Paired with a graduate student, the six professors each worked on a project of their own design. "[Culpeper/CTC]'s different in that it's not about just using computers," said Alan Cattier, the teaching and research services manager for Information Technology Division who helped launch the seminar. "It's about figuring out how we take technology and make information visible in new ways in the classroom."

In the last year of its initial three-year grant, the program will be held again this year, with calls for proposals being sent out this month and due sometime in March. "The schedule will look very much like it did last year," said English professor Harry Rusche, the program's director. "There are some new technologies that we're going to have to incorporate some way or another." Emory College and ITD have picked up funding for the program thereafter, said Rusche, who expects Culpeper/ CTC to remain fundamentally the same.

"We regarded it as an investment in our faculty but also in the future of our graduate students," Rusche said. The goal is for the graduate students who've participated in the program to incorporate web technology into their own teaching careers--wherever they end up. "I think, in some ways, the graduate students have benefited perhaps more--or at least as much--as the faculty," he said.

The program's second year ran much more smoothly than the first, said Rusche, who credited the inclusion of additional ITD instructors with the change. "What bugs remain are really technological," he said. "There are some things computers can't do, and people still expect them to do it."

Said Cattier, "What we did the second year that we didn't do the first is we tried to think strategically, not only which projects we wanted to implement but how the six or seven projects would coordinate together. How could we create a curriculum that would be valuable to all six faculty members as opposed to one faculty member one day, another the next next day?" he said, adding, "And, obviously, we wanted to focus on web delivery of content."

Department Chair and Associate Professor of Music Ben Arnold, another of last summer's participants, uses computer-assisted instruction in his "20th Century Music" course, which he teaches every spring. Unlike Tullos, Arnold had already experimented quite a bit with web pages and web-based instruction. "I had always been fascinated with technology and developing web pages but needed to learn more," he said. "It was at the point that I either pulled [my work] off the web or did it right." He credits ITD's Marianne Stapinski with helping to create the look of his pages, and Andreas Dieberger with instructing him on web organization and navigation "rules."

The web's audio and video capabilities lend themselves well to music-based courses such as Tullos and Arnold's and even those that don't traditionally use these types of sources. Rusche created a web site for use in his World War I British literature course that incorporates spoken versions of poetry and archival footage of the armistice. And Psychology Professor Harold Gouzoules proposed uploading audio clips of animal "vocal communication" and video images of the animals themselves for teaching his students. Other Culpeper/ CTC sites incorporating archival maps, photos, drawings and postcards are finding their way online and into students' consciousness.

For Arnold's students the learning extends even further. As part of their instruction, his music students "design" web pages using their required research of 20th century composers. Now, Arnold said, "there's no distinction between what students do and what I have done to put the site together."

For more information on the Culpeper/CTC program or to view projects, go to <http:// www.emory.edu/COLLEGE/CULPEPER/index.html>. To find out more about this year's program, call Rusche at 404-727-6420 or send e-mail to <enghr@emory.edu>.

--Stacey Jones

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