GENED at IUPUI
Project Number 05 – 1994
Assistant Dean for Administration
Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI
Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis
Fax: (317) firstname.lastname@example.org
This project, “GENED at IUPUI,” concerns the use of computer mediated communication by the Commission on General Education at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). We have used a discussion list, GENED, to focus conversation on the undergraduate program and particularly 8 principles that have been proposed to guide our general education program. We have adopted the “process” approach to general education; so, the conversations on GENED are one of the principal end products of our program.
These principles have the following emphases:
- identifying the basic and advanced skills that students should possess (use of technology, writing, speaking, and quantitative reasoning);
- service learning;
- understanding diverse populations;
- learning the method of inquiry in a variety of disciplines;
- critical thinking, to include the integration of knowledge from several disciplines;
- learning how to work collaboratively;
- help build the academic community at IUPUI.
IUPUI is a large, urban university of the type that has been described by some as a PCP campus (Parking Lot to Campus to Parking Lot). One of the hopes on our and similar campuses is to find an approach or model to engage students into the academic culture. GENED is one attempt to engage faculty and students into an academic conversation.
GENED has been public — open to everyone at IUPUI — since January 1994. Prior to this time it was a private list used by members of the Commission. The discourse has changed from private discussion or “housekeeping” matters for the Commission, to a forum for wide-reaching discussion — from racial diversity to religion to “political correctness.” From our experience, it is clear that GENED has become a “place” where ideas can be heard and where faculty, students, and others are on relatively equal ground.
Since January, more than 200 individuals on campus have subscribed to GENED, and many of these are students. Active discussants (one or more posting) have numbered 110. The average number of postings per participant through June 6, 1994, is 20, though there has been great variance within the group. The initial enthusiasm and participation in the list was overwhelming, and though discussion has diminished during the summer months, most subscriptions have continued, suggesting that this network application may help this commuter campus develop a greater sense of community.
If selected to attend this conference, IUPUI’s participants would share their experiences with a large campus discussion. We have data about the number of students, faculty, and staff engaged in this conversation and the type of comments that each group makes. We also can identify topics that engage all groups and topics that engage only one group. Through our experience with GENED, we have some practical suggestions that we can make and we have some questions that we would like to be addressed. Some of these issues include how to identify and deal with inappropriate comments on the network, when and how to deal with topics not related to the topic of the network, how to deal with the volume of mail, and how to direct the topic of conversation in this open format.
We will appreciate your consideration. On behalf of IUPUI’s Commission on General Education: