Teaching and Learning In A Networked Environment
Project Number 13 – 1994
Binghamton, New York 13902-6012
Fax: (607) firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Individuals And Organizations Associated With The Project
Chair, Political Science Dept
Eunice Roe, PhD
Dean of the Library School
Purpose A five member team at Binghamton University is currently working on the design and implementation of a Collaboratory, a networked environment for scholars, librarians, and students to teach and learn through multi-leveled collaboration and interdisciplinary exchange. The Collaboratory links people, technologies, and information resources, and addresses how users deal with several problems including: the rapid pace of socio-economic change, the availablity of vast amounts of information in a variety of formats, and the revolution of networked information. Therefore, it also addresses the need to examine traditional library reference and instructional services along with identifying new skills for present and future information professionals.
Within a networked environment, the collaborative model can serve as a new paradigm for library services and the design of academic curricula for the global study of contemporary issues and current affairs, and the development of knowledge in the social sciences. Linkages with the Collaboratory will include: libraries, academic departments, local to international partners, and schools of Library and Information Science.
Projects and Activities
As grant opportunities were investigated by the entire team, three team members collaborated on integrating use of the Internet and other information skills and strategies directly into the curriculum of the Political Science Department. We started by introducing Information Labs for a course on U.S. foreign policy. Students in the labs were encouraged to work in groups. The three team members also taught a two credit course for the Department entitled “Information Skills and Strategies for Public Policy Analysis.” In this course students were asked to assume roles as practicing professionals confronted with complex contemporary issues and fast paced current events. Networked information was introduced in order to demonstrate how its challenge can be converted into an asset with courses that include problem solving. Using the Internet they searched databases and used sources through GOPHER and WAIS that were more timely than print material,not avaialble in print,and represented varying ideologies and perspectives. Networked systems were used to capture and manage the data, and to produce their postion papers.
Based on the success of these two activities, the Collaboratory Team will further explore networking technology for another course on U.S. foreign policy and problem solving. Workstations for the Library and the Political Science Department have been funded by the Binghamton University President’s Innovation Award for 1994. A similar course proposal has been accepted by the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program. Planning is underway for a course of this nature for the School of Nursing. Information literacy, networked technology, critical thinking, and distance learning will be the key agendas for the nursing course.
Another activity includes the development of the Collaboratory Gopher and Mosaic Home Page to disseminate our activites and information and to broaden participation. In order to facilitate the use of information on the Internet, sources available through Gopher and the Home Page will be categorized by current event themes and contemporary issue topics.
Addressing The Particular Interests of the Coalition:
- The Collaboratory is based on networked technology and has made heavy use of sources on the global internet. Access to networked information has been instrumental in the design of a course aimed at improving problem solving skills and exploring issues of global magnitude. It also promoted the benefits of collaborative learning.
- Sources were made available through already existing Internet workstations in the Library, computer stations in the Computer Center, and terminals in offices in the Political Science Department. The workstations in the Library functioned as laboratory extensions of the traditonal classroom.
- Replicability and long term viability will be possible through the Collaboratory Gopher and Mosaic Home Page, the establishment of national and international partnerships, distance learning, and affiliations with Library Science Schools.
- Students and Collaboratory team members were involved in a process that enhanced the quality learning. We all learned more about evaluating both print and electronic sources of information for problem solving activities, a new course was designed that will become an official part of the Political Science curricula, decision making was improved through collaborative discussions and planning.
- With appropriate funding, we hope that the Collaboratory can become the “Hub” for making Binghamton courses on information literacy / technology and contemporary issues available eleswhere through distance learning facilities.
The only audio visual requirement is an overhead projector.