Faculty Institutes in Information Resources
if you pay them, they will come
Project Number 24 – 1993
Director of Academic Computing
Visiting Associate Professor of Biology
Information and Computing Services
Gambier, Ohio 43022
Director of the Library
Olin and Chalmers Libraries
Gambier, Ohio 43022
Other Individuals And Organizations Associated With The Project
Project was funded by a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts to Kenyon College, Dean Anne Ponder, project director
A three-year program at Kenyon College, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, has afforded our library and computing professionals an opportunity to offer a unique experience for the liberal arts faculty. Faculty who would normally pursue independent scholarly work in the summer months are compensated to participate in Kenyon’s Summer Institutes in Academic Information Resources. Kenyon, like many small liberal arts colleges with investments in information technology relatively large compared to the numbers of students and faculty, is uniquely positioned to take advantage of networked information resources. However, faculty in disciplines which do not traditionally make use of information technology do not often have the time or inclination to explore available resources. The Institutes offer our faculty the opportunity to become acquainted with and explore selected resources, and to make informed assessments of new teaching and learning methods. Broadly defined, the project seeks to enhance the research skills of our first and second year students in preparation for the upper class research requirements of our curriculum.
The annual Institutes are not simply extended training sessions; they are qualitatively different in several ways. Our strategy is to offer a smorgasbord of information resources with little expectation that the faculty will be trained in the details of any particular tool. The Institutes present a highly integrated sampling of both networked, multimedia and traditional information resources over the course of a week. To diversify the week-long experience, we blend instruction with hands-on exploration, independent work and open discussion. The structure of the Institute is guided by an extensive workbook recapitulating instruction, exercises, source materials, and software. We focus on collaborative models both for the session leaders from the library and computing organization as well as for the faculty. Indeed, the collaborative aspect of the project has been one of its greatest strengths. The library and computing staffs have worked closely in the design and presentation of the project. To date, the Institutes are open only to our own faculty, hence collaborative work was not simply within disciplines but among disciplines. Following the Institutes, faculty participants are invited to compete for resources to facilitate development of new courses and curricular materials.
The specific goal of this project is to enhance teaching and learning in the first two years of the undergraduate experience. The project seeks to achieve this goal by focusing specifically on modern, networked information resources, including modern Internet tools (Gopher, WAIS, discussion groups) and LAN-based CD-ROM databases, commercial information services. While the primary focus is our own faculty and students, the production of the Institute Workbook, a dynamic instructional and reference publication, provides a vehicle for promoting awareness among other groups. By the end of the three-year project, nearly half of Kenyon’s 140 member faculty will have participated, and will be using, or at least had the opportunity to understand and assess, new information resources in a highly collaborative environment which breaks down traditional barriers between teachers, students and information resource providers. The focus on enhancing students’ ability to conduct independent research in upper class courses is not unique to Kenyon, or even just small liberal arts colleges. Development of undergraduate research opportunities through faculty is particularly suited to the collaborative and information-rich environment which includes the Internet and on-line library resources.
Multimedia presentations (hypermedia, video) will be done using Windows 3.1 applications developed specifically for the talk (Guide and Authorware). We can provide all software but will need a Windows-capable microcomputer with at least 4 Mb memory and 50 Mb free disk space, and a color VGA projector (e.g., LCD panel).