Collaboratory (Rainbow Advantage Program)
(University of Hawaii at Manoa)
Collaborative Development of Web Pages for Students in a First Year Colloquy
Distance and Electronic Education Project: A Mini-Grant Program
(Johns Hopkins University)
UWired: Teaching, Learning, and Technology
(University of Washington)
The California Young Scholar Program
(California State Polytechnic University, Pomona)
Student-Directed, Information Rich (SDIR) Learning
(North Carolina State University)
Fine Arts 121: A Model for Developing a Digital Undergraduate Curriculum
(University of Southern California)
Integrating Networked Informaton into Instruction: An Inter-College Experience
(Mesa and Estrella Mountain Community Colleges)
Delta Project Integrated Database: Biological Sciences and Art
(California State University System)
Collaboratory (Rainbow Advantage Program)
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Higher education is being held to ‘higher’ expectations. Why? Because we need to insure that next year’s students will graduate as competent and sensitive individuals, prepared to function productively in our society. Universities are looking toward both faculty and students to become actively involved in the necessary transformation. They are searching for meaning in a world where diversity, not commonality, has become the guiding vision, where recognition of what makes a person or a people distinctive, and not just students or citizens, has become an imperative for our increasingly pluralistic societies. What better way to address this than through collaborative enterprises such as learning communities that bring together disparate parts of not only the university, but people in the local and global community as well.
The Rainbow Advantage Program at the University of Hawai’i attempts to address the challenges set forth. With the duel philosophy of placing the student at the center of all curriculum development and the notion that education is neither a place nor time, the international initiative called “Collaboratory” attempts to meet both goals. “Collaboratory” is a project developed within the Rainbow Advantage Program which brings together teams of college students, students in K-12, museum personnel, and library staff for purposes of exploring the interpretation of culture inherent in museum exhibits as well as designing and creating new exhibits. Students are connected across the nation through the Internet as members of a virtual community called Walden Pond. This environment is a place for students, museum staff, faculty, etc. to have meaningful conversations, to share ideas about learning in progress, while providing a focus for text-based exhibits and links to the Web. Students participate in the creation of exhibits, both virtual and real.
This project is multi-layered. Not only do the students work locally in teams of college and K-12 , but they communicate internationally with other like teams. Additionally, in order to integrate information retrieval use and evaluation skills into the museum exhibit project, the team at the University of Hawai’i is in partnership with the staff of the library. Thus, there is an experiential learning approach as well as a linking with other assignments of core curriculum of the program. Incorporated into this partnership is questions analysis techniques, types/functions of resources, citation elements/bibliography understanding. Approaches on-line database and other information structures as virtual reflections of the physical space that is the library.
The librarian is an integral member of the team that teaches within this learning community. He participates as a character on the MOO and is active in creating, with the students, an on-line archive of their work. He teaches an understanding of information sources evaluation by placing the students in the position of creating a reaction to an information source, assessing that reaction, then determining the elements for further assessment such as writer authority, discourse, and quality of argument. The librarian collaborates with students to obtain necessary skills and the more fundamental information literacy learning by means of a variety of individual, small group, classroom and Internet interactions.
Thus the students participating in this project have a librarian to assist in understanding the elements of information retrieval, have a faculty that is team teaching core courses, collaborate with a team of students K-12, interact with students and staff from other parts of the world discussing the process of their projects and development of their ideas, and are all actively involved in community service projects locally to help them connect their educational experiences to real life.
In the fall of 1994, four teams of four students in Professor Ann Harper Fender’s section of the required first year colloquy course developed home pages as an alternative to some of the normally required reading and writing. Students learned to use the World Wide Web to explore themes that fit the course reading list and supported the general course theme of “Angles of Vision.” The project objectives were to help students master new learning tools, work collaboratively, have greater control over how they learned, and experience more enjoyment in learning. A librarian inspired and encouraged Dr. Fender to have students build Web pages in lieu of a portion of the normally required course work. Three other members of the Information Resources Division (a team-based organization comprising computing, library, media, and telecommunications) collaborated closely on the course design and implementation. Dr. Fender spent little class time on the Web aspects of the course.
All 16 students were members of the First Year Residential College and lived in the same residential hall. Their proximity to one another enabled collaborative working relationships and peer training. After developing their home pages, each student did a final paper justifying how their own alternative theme fit the colloquy reading list.
Some students did better on the Web project; others did better on the more traditional aspects. However, 15 of the 16 students exceeded Dr. Fender’s expectations on the Web portion.
Course evaluations were very favorable and Dr. Fender received flowers and a note from the students (“You made us do it and we are glad!”) Following this course, five of the students demonstrated to all colloquy faculty and some English composition faculty what they did during first semester with the Web. About the same number of the students were hired by the Information Resources Division to train other students. One group of students gave a presentation to the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees in the spring.
Distance and Electronic Education Project
at the Johns Hopkins University: A Mini-Grant Program
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins University team designed, proposed, and is implementing a Mini-Grant Program. The purpose is to support innovations in electronically enhanced education at Johns Hopkins University. The program seeks to encourage improved accessibility to instruction for a new learning community, and the use of information technology for innovative instruction.
The mini-grant program will be administered by the Subcommittee on Electronic and Distance Education (SEDE). Proposals will be evaluated and ranked on a set of weighted criteria that reflect the goals of the Program. Funded proposals will:
- suggest new ways of thinking about curriculum
- outline a formal evaluation process
- enhance students’ accessibility to electronic information resources
- demonstrate increased collaboration among faculty, students, administration, and librarians
- demonstrate a selective use of technology
- be broadly applicable
- create a potential for new revenue sources
This initiative builds upon a successful course pilot project Evil From Greek Tragedies to Gothic Tales that was developed last spring through a team partnership between the School of Continuing Studies (SCS) and the Milton S. Eisenhower Library. The project began as a technological solution to the needs of an expanding learning community at Hopkins: non-traditional graduate students at off-campus University sites. The original purpose of the project was to expand access to library and information resources for these students who attend class and study many miles away from the University libraries. The project integrated electronic communications so the students could communicate easily with each other and with the professor, access the course outline and assignments, access the full text of recommended source material as well as bibliographic databases, access study questions, refer to writing and documentation guidelines, and view papers written by fellow students. Initially, the students were surveyed to find out what their electronic information retrieval skills were, and then assistance was offered to teach the students those skills that they did not have. At the end of the course, the students were surveyed again to find out what benefit they derived from the new approach. The results of this survey were positive and instructive: the students said that they benefited from the electronic enhancements for the course; and the comments formed the basis for the next, more ambitious project.
LC Online is a distributed learning program developed by Louisiana College to offer courses leading to the Bachelor of General Studies over the Internet. This program is designed to give all qualified nontraditional students in Louisiana an opportunity to obtain a college education while they pursue their normal work and family responsibilities. Students enrolled in the program take two courses (six hours) each semester, two courses (four hours) during the summer, and a capstone experience (three hours) at the conclusion of the course work to complete 127 hours. Lecture material for all courses is delivered through videotapes, audiotapes, HTML documents via the LC Online World Wide Web server on the Internet, and documents posted on the Louisiana College FTP server on the Internet. Dialogue with the instructor and class members is through e-mail and listserv. The expectation is that there will be at least three substantive interchanges between faculty member and student in each class each week. Class work is submitted and returned through e-mail. Conforming to the regular semester calendar, two on-campus sessions are held each semester: (1) orientation to the program and (2) semester wrap-up (final exam, presentations, etc.). Students enrolled in the program keep a journal of their learning experiences throughout the entire program. This journal is edited and submitted as part of a capstone course.
The basic course content is the same as that which is developed for campus courses. The supplemental materials and study-aids developed for LC Online provide the student the direction and support that live participation in a traditional classroom setting normally provides. In addition, materials integrated from Internet resources provide a rich academic experience for the learner.
Because students enrolled in this program may not have had prior experience with college education, online orientation and support are provided. Attention is given in the beginning courses to developing reading and writing skills necessary to sustain the entire program of work. Efforts are made through collaborative projects to develop an electronic community of learners. Students are encouraged to dialogue with each other through listserv and to seek help from their instructors through e-mail. E-mail requests are answered within 24 hours.
Entering students are given diagnostic tests to determine skill levels. When developmental work is needed, students are referred to the online study skills center for interactive remediation or tutoring. The office of the Dean of Students provides access to general guidance and motivational materials and also provides a means for contacting an online counselor or an online chaplain. The online career center provides materials generated by the campus career planning and placement office and access to the director of that office. The online informational services office provides a directory of LC Online students, a weekly newsletter, and a college calendar.
The program is in its pilot semester this fall with two courses. Courses and support materials are in process for the remainder of this academic year. New classes will be admitted in October, January, March, and June.
UWired: Teaching, Learning and Technology at the University of Washington
University of Washington
In 1994, the University Libraries, Undergraduate Education, Computing & Communications, and University Extension at the University of Washington (UW) began collaborating on UWired, a campus-wide initiative on teaching and technology. The primary goal of UWired is to create an electronic community in which communication, collaboration, and information technologies become ongoing, integral parts of teaching and learning. During UWired’s first year, 65 undergraduates and selected faculty were targeted for intensive technology instruction and use, and were loaned portable computers for the academic year. Librarians taught a year-long information and technology seminar which provided sustained, discipline-specific instruction about electronic information and served as a prototype for integrating information technology and information literacy skills throughout the curriculum. A new kind of classroom, called the UWired Collaboratory, was designed to facilitate electronic learning communities and was built in the undergraduate library. The Collaboratory is organized in four-person pods, oriented around a center utility pole that provides power and plug and play ethernet connections. In 1995, the UWired Project was awarded the first-ever Innovation Award of the Association of College and Research Libraries Instruction Section. During UWired’s second year, technology instruction is being integrated into all 60 freshmen interest groups reaching 1500 students. Eight of the freshmen interest groups will be especially technology intensive. Intercollegiate Athletics is supporting the full UWired participation of the men’s and women’s basketball teams. A fully-equipped Collaboratory II has been built and the UWired Laboratory for Teaching, Learning, and Technology which includes a faculty development lab is in design phase. Fourteen upper-division classes in a wide variety of disciplines are being revised to incorporate technology and networked information into course design and content. Two large introductory lecture classes are being prototyped as distance learning courses. Campus-wide faculty development and training is being expanded.
The California Young Scholar Program
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
The California Young Scholar Program was a two-year project designed to provide advanced high schools in rural California with access to university courses from five California State University campuses. The campuses involved were Cal Poly Pomona (the lead campus), CSU Chico, Sacramento, Stanislaus, and Dominguez Hills. The project was one of three pilot projects funded by the California State University’s Commission on Learning Resources and Instructional Technology.
The intent of the project was to show how various network and media technologies could be used to provide university courses to even the smallest California high schools. A secondary goal was to figure out how five separate campuses could come together, design and create a series of “learning packages,” and deliver them to a common audience.
Cal Poly Pomona acted as the lead campus, providing funding to the other four, handling administrative matters, and providing instructional design leadership.
Each campus created a single learning package, consisting of a series of video tapes, print materials, computer networking for interaction, telephone conferencing, and a student guide. The materials were designed to be used in rural schools whose available technology was often only a VCR and monitor, plus computer and modem. For the most part, classes were asynchronous, and students could participate when and where it was most convenient. Each class represented an entire regular university course. Students who participated in the program received regular university credit from the teaching campus, if they were successful.
Twenty-four rural schools participated in the project. Most were very isolated, averaging more than 100 miles from the closest CSU campus. They were in communities such as Baker, Tulelake, Happy Camp, Alpaugh, Tollhouse, and Trona, California. The rural school librarian was the prime local school contact. Librarians acted as coaches to the students, insured that library resources were available, and supervised network interaction.
During the first year of the project (1993-94), the five campuses developed their courses. A sixth course, Visual Arts, was collaboratively developed by art instructors from all five campuses. All six courses were delivered during the 1994-95 academic year.
The computer networking was especially challenging. Cal State Stanislaus developed a server environment and worked closely with the rural schools. Stanislaus purchased communications and networking software for the schools, talked them through installation and early usage, and managed a WATS line for connection to the campus.
The project itself was evaluated by the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications (Boulder, CO). Results were published in September. The evaluators found the program to be highly successful, valued by rural students, their parents, and the community at large. The learning package model, especially the e-mail connections between students and faculty, as well as between students and other students, was effective.
Funding for the pilot project ended on July 1, 1995. A modified version of the program will be continued by Cal Poly Pomona. Fresno State will launch an ambitious derivative of the California Young Scholar program in September, 1996.
Student-Directed, Information Rich (SDIR) Learning at North Carolina State University
North Carolina State University
North Carolina State University (NCSU), as a Land Grant Research I institution, has a long tradition of bringing its vast array of research and outreach experiences to bear on its undergraduate education program. However, there is great concern on the campus as to how NCSU will meet the expanding student educational needs in an era of budget retrenchment and personnel reductions. The Student Directed Information Rich (SDIR) undergraduate education project, funded by a coalition of 10 university colleges, the university libraries, and the university computing center, is an attempt to address part of that concern.
For the past 18 months, faculty and staff from the NCSU College of Forest Resources, the NCSU Libraries, and the NCSU Computing Center have been implementing and testing innovative approaches to enhancing teaching efficiency and effectiveness through full integration of emerging electronic information technologies. The overall objective of this project is to develop teaching methodologies that facilitate the shift of in-class instruction from a teacher-centered mode (i.e., lecture) to a student-driven model in which the instructor is primarily an expert guide and reviewer of student discoveries and analyses. These discoveries and their consequent synthesis are enabled through in-class access to the vast store of electronically available information provided by the Libraries and other linked resources (e.g., Internet and World Wide Web (WWW)). This information-rich classroom environment is supported through multimedia capable computers connected to the campus communications network.
SDIR products include an array of already implemented course modules, active faculty and librarian working groups, and a preliminary set of teaching effectiveness assessment tools.
Examples of course modules delivered through the WWW include: 1) directed student research on coastal management issues and the associated science, highlighted by student presentations using electronic technologies (NR 100), 2) an animated tutorial for entering student collected field data into a Geographic Information System (GIS) (FOR 405, FOR 406, NR 300), and 3) a detailed series of macro and micro wood anatomy images from which the students independently develop and test hypotheses for cellular structure relationships (WPS 202). In each of these cases, students view and apply these materials as best fits their learning styles and schedules and use them as refresher tools throughout their various curricular studies (Natural Resource Management, Environmental Science, Forestry, Soil Science, Wood and Paper Science, Zoology, etc.).
One of the major successes of the SDIR project is the communication it has fostered among faculty, librarians, and computing center staff concerning educational technology advances. The project has led directly to the formation of both college and university user groups and has spun-off three independently funded projects in discipline related SDIR initiatives. In addition, the project has served as a catalyst for the development of university wide GIS access to spatial data.
The project has not only generated substantial university and regional higher education interest (the latest group presentation drew 60+ faculty and staff from multiple institutions) but also has launched an entire new initiative in assessment of teaching technology effectiveness. The SDIR project is now actively engaged with the NCSU College of Education and Psychology in developing evaluation measures geared to independent, network supported undergraduate learning. This includes such tools as learning portfolios, electronic testing, and interview procedures.
Fine Arts 121: A Model for Developing a Digital Undergraduate Curriculum
University of Southern California
In early April of 1995, the Fine Arts 121 team met for the first time, after about a month of periodic discussion of a special project that would simultaneously:
- test a new model of electronic reserves that would provide network access to full-text formatted documents and not just local access to bit-mapped images of documents
- test a model for developing and delivering curricula — especially undergraduate, general education (GE) curricula.
- explore the pedagogy of online curricula
The immediate goal of the project was to develop a Web-based curriculum for Fine Arts 121, a GE course on the history of western art since 1500. The curriculum and the project were jointly developed by a USC Library team from Leavey Library (LVL), the Center for Scholarly Technology (CST), and Architecture and Fine Arts Library (AFA) while working with the instructor, Ms. Andrea Pappas, and with the University bookstore. The team had only six weeks before the start of class on May 17th to plan and develop the online curriculum and organize support for it.
The first few general meetings were devoted to key technological and pedagogical decisions. These were governed by evolving shared understandings, including:
- the recognition that the technological revolution is really a communications revolution
- the recognition that technology must not only be accessible, it must be as “transparent” as possible, so its “appropriation” does not stand in the way of instruction.
Position #1 argued that communications functions like e-mail and discussion groups were at least as important as databases of images or text reserves. More generally, both were simply aspects of the same phenomenon — in which the human and information resources and rhetorical modes unique to certain historically distinct instructional environments (class, lab, library, dorm/home) become potentially available in all environments.
Position #2 required that we attempt to limit the number of softwares and interfaces that students must appropriate. Our goal was to channel all course functionality through a single graphical software available across three major platforms — the Netscape WWW client. Considering position #1, this decision committed us to write special scripts to support e-mail and discussion through the Netscape client of the time, so that there was only one course tool and multiple access points on and off campus.
With these and other such decisions made, the team organized the project into a set of allocated tasks. These included:
- Image Library
- Scan and digitize 600 slide images at 4 resolutions (AFA)
- Create indexing system for image library (Instructor, AFA)
- Index the library in terms of it (Instructor)
- Reserve Library
- Test beta scanning software from Adobe (CST)
- Purchase, setup new scanner (LVL, CST)
- Secure texts of 25 primary readings (LVL)
- Create copies and secure copyright permissions (USC Bookstore)
- Scan the copies to PDF format for electronic reserve (LVL)
- Web Design and Support
- Graphic design for FA 121 Web pages (CST)
- Web utilities to automatically create different views of the image library and to support class discussion, mail (CST)
- General Web authoring (CST)
- Class syllabus and general instructional resources (Instructor)
- Computer and Web instruction (LVL)
With the start of class May 17th, focus shifted to instructional needs: e.g., 2 hours of student instruction from Leavey librarians, ongoing support for instructor and students (non-content questions could be posed to appropriate “experts” directly from the home page), and an important shift in teaching environment from the scheduled auditorium to a “learning room” in which both instructor and student had access to computers and the same digital resources. This move helped to complete the transformation of the course from the traditional art history course taught with slide carousel in a lecture-listener mode, to a digital “studio-class”.
July began the evaluation and revision and extension phase. The debriefing and evaluation of the students revealed a number of important facts, such as these:
- students overwhelmingly found the technology easy to use
- students with acknowledged computer anxieties found their anxiety levels reduced by the experience
- students overwhelmingly preferred the studio-class environment
Important partners — such as the Bookstore — also expressed satisfaction. While students had found great value in the online resources, the Bookstore noted that the existence of parallel online and paper resources did not appear to undermine student interest in the paper resource.
Team debriefing affirmed that the experiment overall worked well and was cost efficient and replicable to boot. Thus, the model for electronic reserves explored in FA 121 is now being tested and extended over this next year in other classes in order to move toward a full scale production system that would integrate bookstore and library activity.
Furthermore, the team-based approach to curriculum development has since been adopted as the model for an ongoing program called Jumpstart that has begun this Fall and is funded and supported by various Library units, Computing Services, and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. Jumpstart provides startup funds and support for worthy instructional uses of technology in some 3-4 undergraduate courses per semester. As many of these courses are also model courses within the new multi-disciplinary undergraduate curriculum that USC is developing, ultimately the FA121/Jumpstart model could/should have a significant effect on the curriculum as a whole.
Integrating Networked Informaton into Instruction: An Inter-College Experience
Mesa and Estrella Mountain Community Colleges
Over the past four years, Mesa Community College (MCC) and Estrella Mountain Community College Center (EMCCC), both part of the Maricopa Community College District, have collaborated on several projects relating to the development of student centered learning environments using networked information, ranging from the design of new library spaces (Information Commons) to software development.
The most extensive collaboration has been on a project designed to provide navigational support to students on their travels along the Information Superhighway, via the Internet. Funded by
the Maricopa district internal grants program, the Tryptik Project: Travel Guides to Internet Countries, modeled whimsically after the road mapping materials provided to travelers by the American Automobile Association (AAA), encouraged faculty members, with support from team members from various disciplines and support services areas, to develop focused navigational “maps” for use in their particular curriculum. The Tryptiks were meant to guide students through networked information sources and to focus their attention on a particular route to take to locate information relevant to their class.
Following the AAA metaphor, the Tryptik presents one recommended route to follow; the instructor imposing the initial structure, and leading the students along one suggested route. But the AAA Tryptik offers more, if you want it. There is a fold out road map, offering a variety of routes. This is what is also available on the Internet. Once the subject matter is understood fundamentally, additional routes can effectively augment any search. And the key word is, “effectively”. Being able to critically analyze the vast amounts of information, and to glean the most salient components is definitely a survival skill on the Net. Certainly that was done initially as the faculty were dissecting their curricula and identifying appropriate resources to first point their students to.
Through the Tryptik Project, faculty and instructional specialists engaged in a team effort the entire length of the project, developing a valuable camaraderie. Teams met a total of 7 times with additional follow-up and personal contact on an individual basis. Local teams at each college assisted each faculty developer and EMCC took the lead on establishing a WWW file server and handling systems management. The project allowed for valuable discussion of curriculum design issues and implications for integration of networked resources into instruction. It allowed for exploration of the Internet sites and training on use of Internet browsers such as Lynx, Gopher & Mosaic–Mosaic became the browser of choice and resulted in the production of Tryptiks web pages.
The significance of the project was in a major inter-college collaborative effort. As a result of the Tryptiks Project, many of the participants have gone on to produce mature applications, home pages, reference materials and course materials now being used directly in instruction or instructional support. To date, noteworthy applications have been developed for the Nursing, & Library Technician curricula at Mesa plus Library/reference materials for use in English and social studies classes, and library home web pages. At Estrella Mountain, materials for English, Reading and Biology curricula plus the organization and library have been developed. See URL’s listed below.
Phase II, 1995-96
Phase II of the Tryptik Project, which will be inaugurated this semester, will focus on six major areas: 1) focusing on curriculum integration-the goal is to make networked information resources a seamless part of the overall subject areas; 2) develop course activities that will challenge students to analyze information in a problem solving context; 3) disseminating information about and securing participation in this project throughout the Maricopa District (presenting to eight other colleges) through a series of “road shows”; 4) expanding development to other disciplines–supporting work in the other subject areas; 5) to encourage the development and production of student web pages–the faculty members present one perspective on how to navigate their curricula, but the students, after gaining familiarity with the subject matter, and because of the wide variety of experiences in the student bodies at any of the Maricopa campuses, can offer completely different perspectives; 6) adding Rio Salado C.C. to the two college Partnership to assist with developing new library instruction options.
Delta Project Integrated Database: Biological Sciences and Art
California State University System
In 1992, as part of a strategic effort to deal with the pressures of growth and fiscal restraint, the California State University System commissioned three projects (under the acronym DELTA) to explore the effectiveness of distance learning utilizing emerging technologies and digital technologies.
Our DELTA project “Integrated Databases: Biological Sciences and Art,” developed much of the infrastructure necessary to create and disseminate new educational courseware in collaborative settings using digital media. Originally funded to research new tools for the creation and delivery of Art History materials, at the request of the Commission, the project was expanded to include the development of a Biological Sciences database and an Internet component. The Art History portion started with the creation of an innovative image database, moved on to create new courses to support and exploit this technology in the curriculum, and finally linked students and faculty from participating campuses into “meta-classes” using materials created from the databases. The Biological Sciences portion of the project created an entirely different database strategy and an Internet approach to distribution.
Faculty and students from the San Jose State University, California State University at Long Beach, California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo, and California State University at Chico participated in this effort to explore issues involved in creating and delivering multimedia classes over a digital network.
The students, who came from fields as disparate as art history, library science, art and design, computer engineering, communications,, and instructional design, were deeply involved in the project from the beginning. In collaboration with the faculty and support staff at the four campuses, they prepared and catalogued images from the database, designed World Wide Web pages, designed an art gallery on the Internet, tested a variety of communication devices, created help sheets and developed some of the course modules on the CD-ROM. The students benefited as a result of the well-established educational principle of learning by doing. They played important roles in solving real problems, and learned the necessity of working together to solve them. They learned to cope with frustration as well as to experience the elation that comes with making something happen. They know that what they did was not just an academic exercise, but that they created something that will be of value to others.