Northeastern Illinois University Campus Report on Implementation for

Faculty Summer Institute '99

FSI 1999 Participants

Tim Barnett, English

Kevin Coulson, Management & Marketing

Laurie Fuller, WomenÔs Studies

Paul Heydenburg, Enhancing Teaching & Learning

Lisa Hollis-Sawyer, Psychology

Violet Johnson, Physical Education

Mahmoud Khalili, Physics

Jo Ann Karr, Teacher Education

Anil Pandya, Management & Marketing

Terry Stirling, Educational Leadership & Development


Introduction

As participants in the 1999 Faculty Summer Institute (FSI), we identified communication as the primary stumbling block and potential strength regarding technology at our institution. In particular, we believe successful communication regarding technology depends on coordinated vision(s) among different constituencies (students, faculty, staff, administration); consistent messages from top to bottom, bottom to top, and side to side; and celebration of productive uses of technology and learning.

Creating a Stronger "Learning Technology" Community

Based on what we have learned at FSI 1999, our short- and long-term implementation plan is to strengthen these three elements of communication by helping to create a stronger "learning technology community" at Northeastern. This community will be achieved through a commitment to six things:

  1. Working with FSI99 Participants
  2. Since we are determined that the technological innovations we learned in Champaign will become part of our classrooms in the near future, we will work with other FSI 1999 participants primarily by supporting each otherÔs technological applications. We have scheduled weekly meetings in a computer lab to facilitate our growth, and Kevin Coulson, Laurie Fuller, and Paul Heydenburg, participants with significant technological experience, have made themselves and their web resources available to the group on an ongoing basis.

  3. Contacting and Coordinating Activities with Previous and Future FSI participants;
  4. In addition, we will contact and coordinate activities with previous FSI participants and build relationships with next yearÔs participants once they are selected. We recognize that there is a vast knowledge base across departments regarding technology and that it will be critical to coordinate various groups as we examine how learning technology has been used at Northeastern across time and in different disciplines.

  5. Mentoring Members of our Departments and Other Departments
  6. We will also build networks of technology learners by mentoring faculty who do not use computers in their teaching. Each FSI participant has agreed to work with at least one other person this year to model what can be done in and across our respective areas because we believe such interaction will spark further faculty receptivity to the ways technology can facilitate education.

  7. Conducting Presentations about Technology and Learning for Faculty and Other Campus Constituencies
  8. As we build our own expertise, we will work with ETLT (the faculty group working to "enhance teaching and learning with technology") to disseminate what we have learned to our departments and the faculty as a whole. This process will involve conducting presentations for university groups so that we can (a) raise awareness regarding the importance of technology in teaching; (b) encourage more faculty to use technology for teaching and learning; and (c) motivate others to attend FSI conferences in the future. In addition, we will work with the faculty governing boards and committees (the Faculty Senate, Faculty Advisory Council on Academic Affairs, etc.) to promote the use of educational technology.

  9. Involving Administration in Our Efforts to Support Technology and Learning
  10. The university administration will be crucial to the promotion of a technology community, and we will also explore avenues of enhancing communication between administrators and faculty regarding the potential of learning technologies at Northeastern. We hope to establish more effective communication that addresses budgetary possibilities for technological opportunities (new software and hardware upgrades, conferences such as FSI, etc.) and are particularly interested in seeing technology integrated into our institutional discussions of teaching, service, and scholarship. Such integration will make it clear to all administrators, faculty, students, and staff that technology is central to the university mission.

  11. Pursuing the Theoretical and Pedagogical Meanings of Access in a Computer Age
  12. We will continue educating ourselves on the issues of teaching, learning, and technology that most affect our campus, in particular as these issues affect notions of "access." For Northeastern, access includes a host of issues, such as student and faculty ability to dial-in to the network and the fact that many of our students do not have access to computers in their homes and/or have little experience with current technology.

Conclusion

If a lack of coordinated, consistent communication is a significant part of the technology "problem" at Northeastern, we see a stronger technological community, or set of communities, as a significant solution. Through such communities, we will be able to maintain momentum to: (a) follow through on our individual projects; (b) commit to continued learning about educational technology; (c) help create institutional change in communication; and (d) involve a larger portion of our peers in innovative approaches to teaching and learning. A stronger sense of community will allow us to begin breaking down traditional barriers to communication (barriers that, as we discovered at FSI, exist at every large institution) and offer us the opportunity for greater celebration regarding the innovations in technology that are taking place, and will take place, on our campus. Such celebration¸in the form of faculty excellence awards, acknowledgement of the importance of technology in our DACs, etc.¸will provide momentum for future innovation and result in more effective teaching as the Northeastern community takes greater advantage of the educational opportunities technology affords.