Significant breakthroughs in communications technology, along with
the integration of information technology tools into the academic
environment, are transforming higher education. Whether its
simply by using course management tools like BlackBoard to ease
the burden of administrative functions, or by actually altering
instructional practices, faculty are increasingly tapping into the
use of information technology tools and resources to enhance teaching
To examine these trends, education technology leaders from Emory,
Carl Berger from the University of Michigan, and interested faculty,
staff and students are coming together March 2526 for Emorys
first conference on academic technology, EduCATE: A Forum
for Teaching with Technology.
Organized by CIO and Vice Provost for Information Technology Donald
Harris and the Information Technology Division (ITD), the conference
will showcase innovative teaching practices using instructional
technology in the university environment. An interdisciplinary roster
of Emory faculty will lead the conference sessions.
My first reason to hold the EduCATE conference is to celebrate,
Harris said. We have a number of faculty who are using information
technology resources in very creative ways to enrich the educational
experience for our students. As a result, our institutional goal
of striving for excellence in teaching is being achieved. It is
an honor for me to showcase what these faculty are doing and celebrate
Of course, Harris added, these faculty dont
act alone in their development and use of IT resources. Thus, an
accompanying objective is to show how partnerships between faculty
and IT professionals help achieve our institutional goal. My second
reason is to provide a venue where faculty and IT professionals
throughout the institution can meet and interact on topics of common
Berger, who specializes in science and instructional technology
education and is director of Advanced Academic Technologies at Michigans
Collaboratory for Advanced Research and Academic Technologies, will
be the keynote and opening plenary session speaker.
Im involved in some very exciting projects, three of
which come to mind immediately, Berger said. One is
a general project were doing here, looking at the future to
try to provide what I call the next Killer App.
The second, Berger said, is a research project he has been involved
with since 1971 that attempts to determine what students are actually
doing when they use technology and on devising evaluation techniques
to measure learning.
A new version of a tool used in that research, the Event Recorder,
will be published soon and made available through Bergers
third initiative: the Next Generation Visible Human Project (VHP).
VHP is a National Library of Medicine initiative that created a
complete digital archive of three-dimensional representations of
the human male and female for use by medical students and researchers.
What does Berger see happening with academic technology in the
next five to 10 years? At the EduCATE conference, he will be leading
a segment titled Back to the Future that anticipates
the evolution of course-management systems toward a greater emphasis
on pedagogy rather than simply on easing administrative duties.
I hope to see lots of active conversation between faculty,
IT professionals and others, Harris said of his goals for
the conference. Im sure much of this will be focused
on what technology is being used and how one can incorporate this
technology in their classes. But past that, I hope the conference
will allow participants to establish or strengthen relationships
that might lead to collaborative or interdisciplinary opportunities.
If we in the IT area are able to provide opportunities for
faculty to meet and develop these interests, Harris said,
then we have provided a valuable service to Emory.
The conference is free and open to the public. The deadline to
register is March 19. For more information or to register online,
visit the conference website at http://educate.emory.edu.