FSI Report from Illinois State University, 1999
At the Institute there were only two faculty members from ISU, Steve Taylor (Music) and Kevin Baker (Agriculture), which was unfortunate. Many of the technologically-inclined faculty were involved with a teaching technology initiative sponsored by State Farm Insurance, based in Bloomington IL. There have also recently been some personnel changes in ISU’s Instructional Technology department, which contributed to the poor communication on the ISU campus about the FSI. If UIUC continues this program, you should encourage the new IT folks to spread the word about the Institute.
That having been said, technology generally seems to be getting better on our campus. State Farm’s support is greatly appreciated, even though it conflicted with the FSI this year. There is a small but active community of Mallard users, and other professors are using courseware such as WebCT. Here are URLs for coursework by the two ISU faculty members at FSI 1999:
Kevin Baker: http://wolf.its.ilstu.edu/kdbaker/equip_movies.htm (QuickTime VR)
Steve Taylor: http://www.arts.ilstu.edu/~staylor/music203 (a music course with online quizzes and assignments; other online classes are at www.arts.ilstu.edu/~staylor)
Student access and technological know-how continues to improve: every year the music dept. asks entering freshmen if they own a computer and music software, and the numbers continue to rise. Agriculture students are also becoming more computer literate.
More and faculty, like the students, feel comfortable with computers and the internet. It still takes longer to prepare online course materials than traditional materials. Authoring tools keep getting better, but the “early adopter” population has leveled off. Courseware technology will have to improve some more before it really spreads across the campus.
Some developments at ISU
The following are some developments that Kevin and I know about, but I’m sure there is a lot more going on as well.
• An Arts Technology program has been approved by the University Curriculum Committee and is being reviewed by the state. Once it’s accepted, this new program will become an important part of ISU’s College of Fine Arts, which now has departments of Art, Music, and Theatre.
• The Center for Advancement of Teaching offers competitive grants for faculty projects (this is how Kevin funded his QuickTime VR site above). CAT can only fund about 1/3 of the requests they receive; this is both good, since it means many faculty are interested, and bad, since they could use more funding.
Finally, I should say I was also at the 1998 FSI institute; I was asked to go again this year
at the last minute because it hadn’t been announced and there weren’t enough. This lack of knowledge is really too bad, since the FSI is a good idea and I gained a lot of inspiration from it last year, which is reflected in my course websites. I still have some contact with the 1998 FSI faculty, and I will contact them this year to try to “get the word out.” Many of them are involved pretty heavily with technology on the ISU campus, so there is definitely a core faculty group (not very well organized) who are committed to teaching technology.