IT Response, Amherst College


Q. What technologies could enhance student and faculty research/teaching/learning? Include a brief description of the technology and a brief explanation of its potential usefulness.

For Ron's Sociology 11 (Self and Society) course, students' use of the Web, both in accessing and evaluating web-based information and in producing web sites could enhance the teaching and learning process. We may also explore use of the EndNote bibliographic tool in supporting the library research work students undertake in this and other Sociology courses.

Q.What roles and responsibilities do you currently assume regarding the use and instruction of technology?

Curricular Computing Services provides a series of seminars for faculty using technology under the Mellon Foundation Teaching and Technology Grant. The grant is entitled Pedagogical Strategies for Web-Based Learning at Amherst College. Pedagogical issues are at the center of each workshop. We have introduced a template-driven web site management tool, CourseInfo, this past year and we are very encouraged by its enthusiastic reception. Sixty course web sites have been in use this spring semester in comparison to 27 course web sites in the fall semester. We are finding that faculty are experimenting with the pedagogical implications of class discussion boards, drop boxes and online testing techniques, features previously unavailable on this campus network. It is a time of growth and experimentation with technology and pedagogy.

In addition to an emphasis on web course sites, Curricular Computing is introducing a campus wide subscription for EndNote, the bibliographic management tool. Initial training is being in offered to faculty in May and another session is scheduled for August.

Q. What goals do you have for collaboration in this area?

Both the web emphasis and the EndNote introduction offer multiple opportunities for collaboration between IT and Library. A pilot E-reserves service is starting this fall. It is being introduced as a service for faculty already using the CourseInfo course management software. We will continue to enrich the existing strong relationships. We will continue to use every available chance to facilitate communication and collaboration between IT and the library, between IT and faculty, among faculty members using technology, and between and among students and members of all of these groups.

Q. What resources are you considering devoting to its future development?

Good will, time, energy, and grant funding for student internships to assist faculty in developing course-based applications.

Mary McMahon

Director, Curricular Computing Services

Amherst College