Emory Report
January 31, 2005
Volume 60, Number 17


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January 31 , 2005
EduCATE 2005 to focus on new generation of learners

donna price is coordinator of communications and marketing services for the information technology division

Today's college students are distinguished from past generations by their fluency in digital communication. They "grow up digital" in an environment where computers, the Internet, chat rooms, message boards, blogs, e-mail, digital audio and video, cell phones, pagers, instant messaging and wireless technology are established media for social interaction, entertainment and learning.

Higher education faculty responds by shaping their knowledge, research and discoveries into learning experiences that are conveyed by new media in the classroom. To showcase innovative teaching and research practices at Emory, the fourth annual Educational Conference on Academic Technology at Emory (EduCATE), "Understanding A New Generation of Learners," Feb. 22-24, will focus on the styles, attitudes and learning approaches of today's students and how faculty are teaching and implementing courses using information technology (IT) tools.

John Seely Brown, former chief scientist of Xerox Corp. and director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), will deliver the Feb. 22 opening keynote address, "The      Digital Generation: What We Need to Know About How They Learn" and the luncheon address on Feb. 23, "Information Technology and the Engaging Learning Environment for the 21 st Century."

Brown, a researcher in digital culture, rich media and organizational and individual learning, is a visiting scholar at the Annenberg Center at the University of Southern California, a trustee of Brown University and the MacArthur Foundation, and the author of Seeing Differently: Insights on Innovation and the widely acclaimed The Social Life of Information, a guidebook on IT social uses.

On Feb. 23, 12 concurrent sessions, plus a panel discussion on future directions for IT in teaching and research, will be led by an interdisciplinary group of faculty and IT professionals.

Daphne Norton, director of the Emory College general chemistry laboratories, will lead a session on "Blackboard and the Interactive Syllabus: A Tool for Managing a Large Enrollment Course."

"There were 454 students in the general chemistry lab course this fall; Blackboard allowed us to separate them by lab section, so each section has its own Blackboard site," Norton said. "The Blackboard site ... brings the class to a smaller size. The course is broken down into sections of 32, with each teaching assistant [TA] managing one section."

The smaller interactive sections on Blackboard improve the flow of information between TAs, Norton and the students, facilitating student access to announcements, course materials and personal feedback. Using Blackboard also contributed to greater uniformity in grading processes.

Another session--"Law and Order: Bringing Digital Technology Into the Classroom," led by law Professor Mel Gutterman--will be based on Gutterman's experience using multimedia technology to teach his course, "Great Trials of the 20 th Century."

"[Students] are all now brought up on TV and computers, so most of their learning has taken place that way," Gutterman said. "We've got to rethink how they are going to respond to our teaching."

For the class, Gutterman has each student present a study on a legendary court case using PowerPoint software with inserted video clips. He feels this process is extremely valuable, especially for law students, because new technology increasingly is being employed in federal courtrooms, and because he believes in the power of visual learning.

Other faculty presenters will include Sarah Gouzoules, Paul Lennard, Carol Herron Lustig and Rebecca Stone-Miller (Emory College); Benn Konsynski (Goizueta Business School); Camille Cottrell (Oxford College); Don Denson, Kim Gernert, Tom Himelick and Allan Platt (School of Medicine); Timothy Duong and Stuart Zola (Yerkes); and Wendy Newstetter (Georgia Tech). On the final day, Feb. 24, a full day of workshops will offer hands-on instruction in website creation, presentation, digital movie editing and online-course-content management applications.

EduCATE is designed for Emory faculty, information technology professionals and administrators. There are no fees, but space is limited. Interested participants are urged to register early. Attendees may register for the full conference or select only those sessions and topics that relate to their specific interests and needs. For full details or to register online, visit http://educate.emory.edu.