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Library and Information Science


As educational institutions increase the use of technology in their teaching, it becomes key to examine how we are integrating its use into our curricula. A challenge to campus wide adoption of course management systems is the support needed by faculty and designers. Learning Objectives: By the end of this presentation, participants will be able to:

Describe the elements of an effective faculty/staff collaborative model for teaching with technology.

Discuss key factors in building campus WebCT user innovations group.

Understand the value in building support models based on participant needs.

As educational institutions increase the use of technology in their teaching, it becomes increasingly important to examine how we are integrating its use into our curricula. Experience and research has shown one of the challenges to campus wide adoption of a course management system is the support needed by faculty and designers to feel adept and effective in the use of this potent and complex teaching technology. In academic year 2004-2005 the University of Massachusetts selected WebCT Vista as the new course management system. In response to this initiative UMass Medical School designed and implemented Phase I of a required training program for faculty and staff. The faculty development effort was championed by a collaborative between three of the school’s offices and departments: the Office of Faculty Administration (OFA), Information Services (IS), and the Lamar Soutter Library (LSL). The OFA and IS partnered to develop and implement the faculty and staff development programs, and the LSL took on the responsibility of student orientation to WebCT. This strategic alliance brought together the expertise of three distinct departments with interconnected work. The results being enhanced student learning through pedagogically sound use of the new technology, as well as increased faculty adaptation with course offerings growing from approximately 120 to 330 online courses. Phase I of the program consisted of required workshops addressing both best practice content and tool training in WebCT. Phase II, the next level, moved to as-needed deskside training; each time an instructor activates a new course tool additional instructional design consultation and targeted technical assistance is necessary. Phase III emerged from these targeted sessions with the goal of taking teaching with WebCT to the next level; a higher level. As a result an ‘Innovations in Teaching with Technology User Group’ was implemented. The group represents the only forum with designers, teachers, technologists and librarians in one room actively sharing, collaborating and presenting. Sessions are built around participant needs and requests. This cross collaborative real-time feedback loop has provided fertile soil for on-going innovation from all involved in this community of learning. It has heightened awareness of the art & science of teaching with technology, in the service of student learning, and a process is in place to move participants' work to scholarship. This workshop will demonstrate the importance of integrating a new course management system into the operational structure of an institution, in order for growth to occur in a synchronized and supportive infrastructure. We will share the keys to the successful implementation of this type of institutional enterprise.

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