March 3, 2003

EduCATE '03 to focus on innovative teaching

Donna Price is coordinator of communications for the Information Technology

On March 25–26, faculty, administrators and information technology specialists will gather at Emory for the second annual “Educational Conference on Academic Technology at Emory (EduCATE): A Forum on Innovative Teaching with Technology.”

The conference will showcase new technology and offer faculty presentations, information technology tours and hands-on workshops in a setting that encourages networking and information sharing. Conference participants will learn shortcuts and successful strategies for teaching with technology, gather fresh ideas and have the opportunity to connect with peers.

EduCATE is designed to appeal to the full spectrum of skill levels, from those just beginning to move their academic content into the digital realm to the technologically advanced. From the role virtual-discussion groups play in an academic setting to the use of web-enhanced courses and pedagogies like problem- and case-based learning, attendants will have the opportunity to learn directly from colleagues about practices and technologies that are advancing teaching and research at Emory.

The conference will kick off in Cox Hall on March 25 with a continental breakfast and opening remarks by Donald Harris, CIO and vice provost for information technology, and Bobby Paul, interim dean of Emory College. Alan Cattier, director of the Academic Technologies Group, will follow with an overview of the Information Technology Division’s faculty support resources.

“Presentations and tours of Cox Computing Center and Emory’s Center for Interactive Teaching (ECIT) are scheduled throughout the day,” Cattier said. “Also, we’re featuring a technology showcase in Cox Computing Center to give faculty access to a range of new classroom technologies, including touch-screen whiteboard and plasma display technologies.”

Pat Marsteller, director of the Center for Science Education and the Hughes Science Initiative, will lead a lunchtime panel discussion on technology and problem-based learning (PBL). An early adopter of using IT in science education, Marsteller is collaborating with science faculty on developing integrative models using PBL and active learning strategies for biology, chemistry and math introductory curricula, and in the creation of interdisciplinary courses that bridge the mathematical and physical sciences.

“One thing technology does is make it a lot easier to structure resources for problems and cases for PBL, and it makes it easier for students to do research on the learning issues and share it with the rest of the class,” Marsteller said. “[The new Cox Computing Center] is wonderful for this kind of thing, because of the structure—where you can have students working in groups—and also because of the presentation technology.”

A distinguished interdisciplinary group of faculty presenters will lead the plenary sessions. Among them, Dorothy Fletcher, senior lecturer in art history, will be sharing her experiences using the Blackboard course-management system for teaching. Once a reluctant newcomer to technology, she took part in the summer faculty institute led by the college and ECIT after learning that art history, which maintains a large image bank, was moving all its online images for teaching to a web-based system.

“I immediately saw the advantages,” Fletcher said. “For students to see non-Western art that never makes it into a standard textbook, the art of under-represented groups —women, non-Western cultures, ancient American cultures — is like different views of a building. Instead of just seeing Chartres, I could show them a plan and details. That’s clearly a big advantage.”

ECIT will host the second day of the conference, which will feature technology workshops in iMovie, PowerPoint, Dreamweaver and Blackboard software.

“This year we’re offering hands-on workshops that will provide attendees with the opportunity to interact with a select group of applications for building electronic content,” said Wayne Morse, ECIT’s director. “Our goal, whether they attend one or all of these sessions, is to provide a working knowledge of the applications that can be used to develop technology-enhanced content.”

There are no fees for the conference, but seating is limited and registration is required. For more information or to register online, visit the EduCATE website at







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