I&IT Learning is in support of recommendation 109, Technology Support. However, we wish to emphasize that the three instructional support programs in I&IT Learning that are “clearly central to our mission, demonstrate high quality outcomes, and articulate good proposals for additional resources are in the group with the least funding per FTE-E” (SPPR Report, p. 14).
We recommend that members of the campus community take a more deliberate approach to assessing the learning needs of our diverse, 21st century students and in determining how the use of technology facilitates the university’s goal of preparing students for life in a changing, multicultural world. The services provided by I&IT Learning are central to this mission. Through collaborations with the Faculty Center, Academic Affairs and other university entities, I&IT Learning provides the technological and pedagogical expertise crucial to the creation and dissemination of effective, engaging and interactive learning materials. With an emphasis on anytime, anywhere learning, I&IT Learning is uniquely poised to help the campus community provide flexible and effective on-line learning opportunities for our students.
Blackboard, our Learning Management System, supports approximately 500 faculty and 1100 courses in which 19,000 students are enrolled. Our streaming video server, which provides on and off-campus access to video content, is accessed 8,000 times per week from locations around the world. Our video team provides professional services to faculty interested in enhancing courses with video-based learning objects and video presentations. Video productions of campus events also contribute to the campus reputation for technological excellence. Each June over 36,000 viewers, from 80 countries, access graduation services via streaming video. We support Clicker systems for in-class, interactive learning and our Connect team assists faculty in producing online, interactive tutorials rich with assessment features.
Most important are the in-depth consultation services provided by the Learning staff. Our teams of instructional designers, media specialists, video producers and streaming engineers assist faculty in re-conceptualizing the learning process and in creating learning-centered environments that can be accessed by all learners. With the current focus on accessibility issues, we are playing an integral role in envisioning an accessible university and in providing support in the form of training and services (e.g. video captioning). The Learning team is taking a proactive approach to accessibility and is helping faculty members integrate universal design methodologies into their teaching practices.
For the Learning staff, accessibility issues extend beyond ADA compliance and include provisions for student access to computers and training. Viewed as an extension of the classroom, Studio 6 provides students, faculty and staff with access to multimedia resources. Cognizant of the digital divide and the schedules of non-traditional learners who need access beyond traditional operating hours, Studio 6 provides students with many of the resources needed to be successful learners. We realize that more faculty expect students to be versed in the use of digital communication tools; Studio 6 is a unique place on campus where students can learn how to use these technologies for the presentation of scholarship.
Our goal in I&IT Learning is to provide technological and pedagogical services perceived by students, faculty, and staff as responsive, innovative and visionary. Our services are unique in that they are not replicated elsewhere on campus. In order to maintain and expand these services, the department requires additional funding. Therefore, we support Recommendation 109 that specifies that the three instructional support programs in I&IT are “excellent candidates for increased funding and investment” (p. 21).