Information Technologist Response, Haverford College


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.

In the social sciences, there are many technologies that can
enhance both the student and faculty experience in research, teaching and
learning. There is a need for data analysis, video editing capabilities
for experiments and demonstrations, web searching and creation both for
research and sharing of results, web discussion groups, and many others.
There is probably no technology that would not enhance research, teaching
or learning in some way. The real problem is not so much as to determine
which technologies enhance curricular goals (yet to be stated) but to only
use technology as a means of accomplishing those goals, and not just because
it exists. There is a real danger in getting caught up in the push for
new and exciting technology and it is critical that when determining which
technology to use, that a real effort be made to ensure that it in fact
offers a better way of accomplishing the ultimate goal: education. I see
a need for basic competence at all levels (student, staff, faculty, administration)
for research, writing and communicating using computers, but beyond that
the field is wide open to determine where to focus resources to enhance
the educational experience and not just create a technological jungle.

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

Our primary responsibility is to provide faculty and staff members
with operating equipment and software supported by the college. We are
responsible for helping them use the equipment and software provided in
whatever way they need. This involves everything from helping them fix
a jammed printer to figuring out which program will help analyze a particular
data set most effectively, to helping them create a PowerPoint presentation
for a class.

In addition to maintaining the basic services on campus (such
as mail, software distribution, network access and maintaining computing
equipment) we try to keep in touch with the current technologies and software
available so that we are in a position to implement new technologies that
will assist and improve the access the campus has to resources that will
improve their curricular endeavors. For many of the programs that we distribute
on campus, we offer seasonal courses to introduce and assist faculty and
staff in their use. We regularly offer courses in Web Page Development,
using PowerPoint to create presentations, and how to create web ready graphics
using a scanner and photo editing software. We have offered courses on
using the web for data collection, using a spreadsheet program to analyze
data, and a course in advanced uses of word processing. We have also made
available to faculty/students programs that address growing needs on campus
(such as discussion groups) and have taken the lead in researching, implementing
and then presenting the program to the campus as a whole. We have held
courses to introduce faculty to these new programs and have created documentation
outlining their usefulness. We have also, on occasion, gone into the classroom
to show a small group how to effectively use the program for that course,
but this is not a frequent event. We generally create documentation for
these programs and all participate in presenting the material in the courses.
We also assist faculty in determining which products or software
packages will best suit their needs in a particular research or teaching
goal. For instance, in the use of video/audio editing equipment and software,
we assist in determining which product will meet specific needs that the
faculty bring to us. We will then assist the faculty in learning how to
best use those products, and will continue to offer support as needed.
In this regard the faculty generally take the lead and we address those
questions or issues brought to our attention.

Finally, we offer technology grants to faculty to give them an
opportunity to incorporate new technologies in their research or teaching.
For the faculty receiving these grants, we offer support to help the faculty
implement their award, from providing assistance in web page design to
researching software requirements and making software purchased under the
grant available to students in the labs.

What goals do you have for collaboration in this area?

In order to maximize the resources and support available to faculty
and students, and minimize the duplication of resources and effort, my
main goal is to collaborate in all areas that have a technological component,
with all the departments that focus on technology, library, computing,
faculty, etc. Having a program, such as the one you are designing, is a
first step in creating the kind of atmosphere that will foster the communication
and coordination of services necessary to accomplish this.

What resources are you considering devoting to its future development?

We have created an advisory group to address issues regarding instructional
technology and the direction we need to take to solve various campus needs.
There is also a higher level policy group involving computing, library,
faculty and administration, that is geared toward creating an atmosphere
in which collaboration is encouraged and welcomed, so that these goals
can be met.

Barbara Mindell
User Support Specialist
Haverford College