Offering Teaching and Learning Tools

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Major Issue:

While the campus needs to focus on delivering and supporting specific teaching and learning tools, the half-life of a list of promising teaching and learning tools is very short. A more lasting and strategic improvement can be made over the next four years, however, by improving processes for identifying, exploring, testing, and communicating about teaching and learning tools to be supported by campus.

Specific Recommendations:

This committee discussed a wide range of recommendations for improving the support for the tools used in teaching and learning. Overarching themes that emerged from our discussion were that the campus should look at support models from other universities; that technologies should be easy to use and compatible with a variety of other technologies; they should conform to standards; that we should have a "one start shopping" portal for access to technologies; and we should have a single point of help for technologies.

The campus needs to establish a formal system of governance over the support for educational technologies, programs to encourage faculty to test new tools, and a process for testing technologies and services across the board during project phases.

This committee would like to see phase-out dates for each centrally-supported technology, so that technologies that have outlived their usefulness can be retired. We would like to see faculty course questionnaires (FCQs) incorporate some measure of educational technology use. We would also like to see the campus provide incentives for faculty to use educational technologies. More detailed recommendations follow.

  1. Support Visual Interactivity

  2. Support File Storage and Sharing

  3. Support Widely-Adopted and Discipline-Specific Technologies

  4. Improve Communication about Technological Services Available Across Campus

  5. Improve Processes for Selecting & Testing Technological Services Offered to Campus

  6. Expand and Enhance Existing Support for Faculty Who Want to Use Technologies

  7. Continue to Support the Following Technologies

  8. Add Support for the Following Technologies

Evaluation

Evaluating the recommendations listed here is very important. A coherent approach to evaluate any technology policies, processes, or tools should consider:

  1. the quality and appropriateness of an adopted technology
  2. the quality and impact of its dissemination
  3. the impact of the technology on outcomes (e.g., student learning, faculty research, work productivity, and/or service/outreach).

We encourage the campus to develop incentives as well as specific measures that promote faculty and departments to evaluate more effectively and systematically the use of technology to support student learning.

The campus should establish a function to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching and learning tools. This should be applied to tools being considered before adoption (see the recommendation from the 2006 ITSP on the Faculty Evaluating Emerging Technologies (FEET) group.

This function should also be applied to tools and services being supported currently. Findings from this function should be shared with the entire campus and should be a major source of input for the IT governance group and the various groups on campus who are involved with faculty development. Just as importantly, findings from this function should be used as input by campus-level program managers in deciding which tools and services will be retired and which ones will be launched

For questions about ITSP, please contact Marin Stanek by email at Marin.Stanek@colorado.edu or phone at 303-735-5225.