December 4, 2000
Exploring tomorrow's classrooms today
Alan Cattier is Manager of Teaching and Research Services in ITD
How do faculty members incorporate web pages into their teaching? What strategies work best for having students engage in a videoconference? What are the consequences of choosing to have students create major multimedia projects at the end of a semester? Faculty can find answers to all these questions and more at Emorys Center for Interactive Teaching (ECIT).
ECIT aims to support faculty in a way that not only introduces them to
technologies that might be appropriate to the classroom, but also prepares
them for the complexities of introducing these technologies into a traditional
syllabus. How does the center accomplish this? The answer lies in its
location and layout as well as its staff of support professionals.
ECIT is located on the second floor of Woodruff Library, as part of ITDs
and the librarys technology centers. ECIT features two multimedia-
and videoconference-equipped classrooms, a digitizing suite for converting
audio and video to digital formats, and faculty workstations where instructors
can prototype and work with ITD staff as they experiment with content
for their classes.
The staff supporting ECIT is a network of ITD and library personnel who are prepared to tackle the range of questions that might come up when a faculty member puts material online. ECIT director
Wayne Morse works closely with the librarys Joel Herndon and Chuck
Spornick to determine whether any electronic resources may be appropriate
to include in a class. In addition, Kim Braxton, multimedia center manager,
ensures that students can get the support that they need when a professor
has included a digital assignment.
Whats unique about ECIT is our range, Morse said. Like
many faculty support centers, we provide advice on relatively simple topics
like what software package to use for a specific project. But we also
provide a space where faculty can try out these technologies, work at
a workstation, or even bring a class over to see how something would work
in our classrooms. Were a full service facility for exploring the
best ways to incorporate technology into teaching.
Morse works closely with the educational analysts from ITDs teaching
and research services team. Jason Lemon from the college and the professional
schools Sandra Butler play key roles in providing faculty outreach
and project support.
ECIT is the foundation upon which much of my work is built,
Lemon said. I can bring faculty members to ECIT, show them a technology
like videoconferencing in a classroom setting, and then help them plan
for using it in their class.
Classes that have used ECITs facilities span the range of the university,
including the College (Arabic, English, French, liberal studies, chemistry,
and English as a second language classes), as well as the business school,
the medical school and the nursing school.
This past fall, ECIT inaugurated a series of technology training workshops
jointly sponsored by ITD and the Center for Teaching and Curriculum. Topics
included an overview of LearnLink; an introduction to course management
systems, like Blackboard and WebCT; a class on digitizing audio and video;
and a beginners guide to web authoring.
The support offered through ECIT has made a huge difference in
the teaching of first- and second-year French, said Carol Herron,
French department chair. With their help, we have digitized all
of the French in Action videos that are required viewing for language
students. Now students can do their homework from anywhere on campus.
It has really changed the way we are able to teach.
For more information on ECIT, contact Wayne Morse (404-727-6708) or visit
the ECIT web site at www.ecit.emory.edu.