Several academic technology projects were highlighted in this month’s Swarthmore College’ Bulletin article on the evolution of Swarthmore’s curriculum
Gayle Barton, the College’s chief information technology officer was quoted on the issue of “Educating the “Net” Generation”:
“The pace of change will continue to increase—as will the volume of information and number of options—so we’ll need to have technologists who can help people choose solutions that fit their needs,” she says.
“New tools for communication and self-publishing are becoming increasingly important in the academic arena. Scientists have had literature and data available online for years, but scholars in the humanities and social sciences are also moving in that direction. Students need to be prepared to publish their work online, with audio and video, and texts written for a public audience.”
The article goes on to discuss the role that Academic Technology played in supporting Professor Betsy Bolton’s Writing Nature: Digital Storytelling course from Fall 2010:
Eric Behrens ’92, associate chief information technology officer for the College, led the team that supported the course’s technology component. Behrens, who has been the principal organizer, coordinator, and advocate for digital storytelling at Swarthmore, worked closely with Bolton to redesign the syllabus and assignments to revolve around digital storytelling.
Borrowing cameras, audio recorders, and GPS devices (on which they input coordinates of their “finds”) from the College’s Media Services department, the students assemble written and visual records that are combined on the computer to form their “papers.” And instead of a book, the archive of the students’ work grows throughout the semester in a blog where students can watch and listen to each others’ work, using the GPS map to locate the exact spots that inspired each composition. In a comments section, they engage in conversation and exchange helpful tips.
Betsy goes on to say, “there’s been a paradigm shift in our understanding of teaching. I couldn’t teach this course by myself. Its success really depends upon a high level of technical support.”