As evidence that Emory faculty continue to expand teaching and
research opportunities with the innovative use of information technology
(IT) tools, the website of Frank Pajares, Winship Distinguished
Research Professor in educational studies, is both a creative teaching
tool and a global “collaboratory” for scholarly research
and cultural and intellectual exchange.
By offering online access to a rich mixture of text and graphical
PowerPoint presentations, personal display format (pdf) files, links
to other sites and readings, class materials, syllabi, and handouts,
Pajares gives his students multiple layers of learning opportunities
that reinforce and extend the classroom experience.
Sara Siegel, a psychology and education major, has taken three courses
with Pajares. “All of my learning experiences from these classes
have been incredibly memorable,” she said.
“The classes he teaches with PowerPoint add a great atmosphere
to learning. Learning becomes exciting and interesting, rather than
boring and unoriginal.”
Pajares also writes and teaches about 19th century philosopher William
James. On his website, the collected letters and writings of James,
now in the public domain, are compiled with excerpts, highlights
and texts from all of James’ books, providing access for researchers
around the globe.
The extensive resources on James, Pajares’ own teaching and
research on self-efficacy, and indexes and links to a network of
scholars and sites attract to the site an interdisciplinary group
of researchers from more than 70 countries. With website hits averaging
in the tens of thousands each month, the site offers an exceptional
opportunity to participate in a global learning community.
“I’m collaborating with scholars from all over the world
on various papers and articles,” he said. “Then there
are the doctoral students who are doing dissertations or work on
self-efficacy. One of the things that happens is that doctoral students
contact me, and I put them on the site, showing the area they are
working on. It becomes a network, and before long people who are
interested in collective efficacy are writing each other and collaborating.”
Pajares’ website grew organically from his initial experimentations
with IT tools around 1995, about a year after he came to Emory.
“My number one priority initially was research,” he
said. “I was getting requests for my articles. If I could
put them on the web, I wouldn’t have to keep sending them
By using an existing website as a template and ITD’s faculty
support services, he created his first site and then began to play
with HTML and Java. And so it began.
“The William James page just began to grow,” he said.
“Before you know it, every class I was teaching was put on
Pajares doesn’t allow technology to dictate how he teaches.
He still lectures and holds classroom discussions, but he skillfully
integrates technology into the learning experience when it saves
time or enhances information delivery by offering a multiplicity
of connections to concepts that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.
“I try to enrich the experience,” he said. “If
we are talking about Piaget, I want them to see Piaget. I teach
Freud using Van Gogh; I illustrate defense mechanisms using art.
We have very much become visual learners, and when you make the
connection between [the textual] and the visual, memory is enhanced.”
“Dr. Pajares is a master at keeping his students’ attention
in the classroom, and he accomplishes this most often through the
use of technology,” said Kevin Landesman, a senior majoring
in accounting and educational studies. “My favorite [is when]
his PowerPoint presentations play automatically in the background
while we discuss difficult topics such as Freud or Bandura. Personally,
I find that glancing at these presentations from time to time gives
me more ideas and topics to think about and bring up in class.”
To view Pajares website, visit www.emory.edu/EDUCATION/mfp.
To learn more about faculty use of technology in education, register
for the second annual EduCATE Conference, to be held on campus March
The conference will feature presentations and panel discussions
on innovative applications of technology in teaching.