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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 Emory’s 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 ITD’s and the library’s 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 library’s 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.

“What’s 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. We’re a full service facility for exploring the best ways to incorporate technology into teaching.”

Morse works closely with the educational analysts from ITD’s 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 ECIT’s 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


Back to Emory Report Dec. 4, 2000