Instructional Technology: The Future Is in Your Hands

by John M. Quigley, ChairAcademic Senate

What would a research university be without experiments? CyberSemseter is certainly an experiment. As a part of this broad experiment, the senate is also experimenting with ways to encourage developing and improving instructional technology. Funds for these experiments have been generously provided by The Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol T. Christ.

The senate especially hopes to assist faculty who would like to begin exploring advanced instructional technology in curriculum development. Our goal is to provide rudimentary tools at the "low end" and to support "courseware" development. Several Senate activities have been planned to facilitate these developments.

The first, "webweek," took place last month. This included a "help desk" in Moffitt Library with hands-on, while-you-wait, technical assistance for faculty to set up web accounts for themselves and their courses. About 3 percent of the faculty established web pages during the week of Feb. 18. Faculty continue to send requests for web accounts for themselves and their courses to the Instructional Technology Program's virtual help desk. The help desk can be accessed through the Faculty Internet Service Center website at Our plan is to keep the "help desk" open at least through the end of June.

The results of this modest experiment suggest many faculty can benefit from assistance in establishing a basic connection to Cyberspace.

The second and third experiments that the senate will be conducting later this spring are closely related. We will sponsor a symposium on modern instructional technology, and we will also provide financial support for proposals to apply these methods to graduate and undergraduate teaching on campus.

Grant support this semester includes about $125,000 -- available for research assistance, materials and summer salary. (See story this page.)

On the afternoon of April 11, the senate and ITP will co-spons dor a symposium in 117 Dwinelle on introductory uses of instructional technology and applications in a classroom setting.

The event will feature presentations by faculty now using course homepages and reports from colleagues teaching Freshman Seminars using IT during CyberSemester. We expect to recount experiences of faculty who have received grants from the Classroom Technology Grant Program. Emphasis will be on successes as well as pitfalls. Presentations will be followed by discussion of the grant program and ideas for grant applications and collaboration, with opportunity to discuss in small groups or one-to-one.

This is the time to consider classroom innovations using instructional technology -- especially if you've never done it before, don't consider yourself technically inclined or are in the humanities or social sciences. The future look, sound and feel of the Berkeley curriculum depends on today's faculty pioneers.


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