volume 40, number 3
Temple UniversityFaculty Herald

Report from The Teaching and Learning Technology Roundtable

By David Schuff, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems, Fox School of Business and Pamela Barnett, Associate Vice Provost and Director, Teaching and Learning Center, for the TLTR2 Committee

The Teaching and Learning Technology Roundtable’s (TLTR2) mission is to motivate and enable faculty to improve teaching and learning with technology. This group continues the outreach mission of the original TLTR in the 1990s, but with a focus on the increasing use of collaborative and consumer-oriented technologies.

 

In line with that mission, in Fall 2009 the TLTR2 conducted a faculty survey to better understand the classroom technology goals of Temple faculty. This survey primarily focused on social media and social networking technologies. We asked faculty which of these “next-generation” technologies they were currently using, and which of these technologies they were most interested in learning more about. 144 faculty responded to the survey from 14 schools across the University.

This is a summary of the results:

 

Faculty goals

 

In order to determine what technology tools would be most helpful for our faculty in the classroom, it is important to understand what faculty are trying to accomplish using technology (see Figure 1). The three most frequently cited goals for the use of technology in the classroom were communication with students outside the classroom (90%), reinforcement of concepts taught in class (86%), and distribution of course materials (86%). Over half of the responses cited communication with students through feedback (65%) and communication with students within the classroom (55%) as goals. The relative importance of communication indicates a need for technology tools that foster interaction between instructor and student and between student and student. 

 

Figure 1

Figure 1

Most frequently used technologies

 

We found that the most frequently used technologies (see Figure 2) were web-based video (69%), online submission of assignments (61%), and text-based discussion forums (44%). This is consistent with the previous results, as “maintaining student interest” and “reinforcement of concepts” were cited by the faculty as classroom goals they wanted technology to support. Text-based discussion forums are likely being used as the current standard for fostering greater communication among students (and their instructors). However, this represents an opportunity to investigate new technologies that provide a greater level of interactivity.

Figure 2

Technologies faculty were most interested in learning more about

 

We found that the technologies faculty were most interested in learning more about (see Figure 3) were related to social networking and social media. Specifically, interactive audio and video (44%) and photo sharing (43%) had fairly high levels of interest, and so did blogs (45%), and wikis (43%). There is an interesting contrast between what is used now and where the interest is in learning more. The technologies with the highest current use are “one-way” – web-based video and online submission. However, faculty are most interested in learning more about “two-way” technologies – blogs, wikis, and photo sharing.

 

Figure 3

Next steps

 

In response to the survey results, the TLTR2, in collaboration with the Teaching & Learning Center and Computer Services, is designing opportunities for faculty to 1) share their innovative uses of technology for student learning and 2) learn more about the applications they identified as of interest.  The most immediate response is a monthly series of workshops, beginning on January 29th with a half-day program on Online Learning, co-sponsored by Office of Distance Learning. The program focuses on best practices in online education, and features faculty panelists who have developed pedagogical strategies for motivating students and engaging them in course content and with each other in the online context.  Future monthly programs will address the areas of interest defined by the survey: a workshop on blogs and wikis in February, a workshop on incorporating audio and video in March, and a workshop on photo sharing in April. These workshops will include hands-on components so faculty can become more familiar with the "how to" of the technology, as well as presentations by faculty members who have used these specific technologies in ways that promote student learning and encourage greater interactivity.

 

The long term goal extends well beyond this workshop series. Ultimately, we seek to support a faculty community that would share, discuss and experiment with innovative uses of technology for collaborative learning.  One route for that is a site that will serve as a repository for resources on cutting edge technology and best pedagogical practices, as well as a place for faculty to discuss resources, ideas, teaching experiences and assessment results with each other.  The TLTR2 survey confirms that Temple faculty are using new technologies for student learning. While many are using web-based video, online submission of assignments, and text-based discussion forums, there are pace setters experimenting with social networking.  The site would give these early adopters an opportunity to share their innovative uses of technology, discussing the logistics of implementation and reflecting on how the technology serves the ends of student learning.  With approximately 3,000 faculty teaching at Temple, there is a wealth of collective knowledge.  Our goal is to create a crossroads for faculty to meet, share and learn from one another.

 

To that end, we have started a blog where we can continue the discussion. Share your thoughts regarding classroom technology - what you use, and what you’d like to learn more about. Visit: http://community.mis.temple.edu/tltr2.

  

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