Last week more than 200 people attended the Universitys inaugural
Educational Forum on Academic Technology at Emory (EduCATE),
held March 2526 as a celebration of the many ways faculty
have incorporated new technologies into their classrooms.
We really accomplished what we wanted, and thats a
focus on the faculty, said conference organizer, Don Harris,
vice provost for information technology. We wanted to give
them an opportunity, without a lot of direction from us, to show
what they were doing. And I think people appreciated the fact that
there was no hard sell on the technology.
Headlining the conference was Carl Berger, professor of science
and instructional technology education and director of advanced
academic technologies in the Collaboratory for Advanced Research
and Academic Technologies at the University of Michigan. Berger
delivered the events keynote address at a dinner March 25
in the Carlos Museum reception hall after being introduced by former
Emory chancellor Billy Frye. The two men are colleagues and friends
from the days when Frye was provost at Michigan.
Berger talked about the search for the next killer app,
or technological application that fundamentally changes the
way we think about what we do and enables us to do that which we
could not do before. Using a PowerPoint presentation, Berger
walked the audience through his vision of what the next killer app
might do, using such acronyms as WISIWIG (What I See
Is What I Get) and WINWINI (What I Need When I Need
Berger also discussed how he felt technology is changing the very
nature of learning. In the past, he said, students regurgitated
knowledge imparted to them by teachers, but in the future he sees
students and teachers working in collaboration to create new knowledge.
The next morning, Berger delivered a breakfast lecture in which
he charted the growth in information technology (IT) use among Michigan
students. Beginning in 1986, the university surveyed students every
two years to gauge what kinds of technology they used for what purposes,
and Berger traced the meteoric rise of such applications as e-mail
and Internet surfing over the decade of the 1990s.
People worried about technology reducing the amount of personal
interaction with students, Berger said. But far from
losing personal contact, faculty said they were being overwhelmed
by it [with the advent of e-mail].
The rest of the conference featured presentations by 12 Emory facultythe
early adopters of IT in teaching, Harris saiddescribing
how they use technology in the classroom. Harris said he was pleased
that a wide, multidisciplinary range of professors from across the
University participated in the conference, both as presenters and
It was neat to look at peoples nametags and see one
person from, say, surgery and another from English, talking about
how they use Blackboard to promote an interactive experience for
the students, Harris said.
According to Jason Lemon, business analyst for the Information
Technology Division, when Blackboard was first introduced on the
Emory campus in the summer of 2000, just 12 courses incorporated
it. Today some 350 courses encompassing roughly 3,000 students use
Blackboard. And LearnLink, which made its appearance at Emory in
1993, is now an integral part of daily life on campus.
Harris said this EduCATE conference is the first of what he hopes
will be a yearly campus event, and he hopes the lessons gleaned
from it will encourage more faculty to incorporate IT into their
teaching. Perhaps next year, he said, he wont have to rely
on the usual suspects to serve as presenters.
As host, my main objective was to bring people together,
Harris said. It was good to see faculty connect with each
other, and I hope those will be ongoing relationships.