3 Workshops on Educational Technology for the 21st Century
Integrating the Internet and the Curriculum
Robert Beard * Bucknell University
 



Purpose of the Workshops

The personal computer has emerged as the single-most creative extension of the human mind ever. Now the Internet joins all these extensions together into a single, integrated world-wide information exchange, publishing house, and encyclopedia. The Internet is a system for the storage, management, and distribution of information, which also happens to be a primary function of educational institutions. The question that confronts educators then is this: how do we adjust our enterprise to all the doors which this machine has opened. These workshops survey the opportunities for ourselves, our classrooms, and our institutions that lie beyond these newly opened doors, in anticipation of the major redesign of information management looming in the 21st century. These three workshops are for entrepreneurial educators who see the Internet a revolution rife with opportunities to advance the cause of education and materially improve the profession. Rather than focus on the nuts and bolts of the technology itself, these workshops examine three possible types of applications of electronic technology: (1) the basic design of a course webpage, (2) strengthening a course webpage with interactive JavaScript functions, and (3) developing a general on-line resource to establish or strengthen the university's position in the network age. The hope is to shape the educational experience with Internet technology to gain control over the information explosion of the 20th century while reducing the drudgery of repetitive activities and practical classroom business. If we can do this, we should be able to increase the amount of time devoted to the more rewarding business of lecturing, in-class and out-of-class discussions, and the various other kinds of classroom interchange.

Although only one of the three possible workshops is usually offered, participants should be familiar with the entire array of possibilities in the use of the web for teaching and research. Those possibilities are outlined here. Some suggested preparation, including a recommended reading list, is also included at the bottom of this page. Reading through this outline is the most important preparation for the workshop.



An Outline of Possible Web Applications for the Classroom
  1. Course Methodology
    The organization and methodology of our courses will be quite different in the 21st century. There will be differences in:

    1. Course Presentation
      Courses will be taught from on-line syllabuses because of their flexibility, their hypertext and interactive multimedia capacities, and their attractiveness. All in-class instructional aids will be available to students on line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and millions of trees can breath a sigh of relief.

      1. On-line syllabuses containing
        1. Calendar of assignments. These may be hyperlinked to information sources on campus or elsewhere around the world.
        2. Outlines of lectures The most ineffective and inaccurate way to deliver information is to read it to teenagers taking notes. Placing lecture notes in preformatted form on-line guarantees that the basics are preserved while encouraging more participation and attention in class. (On-line lecture notes may be printed and used in class as note packs.)
        3. Illustrations Presentation illustrations in syllabuses were a rarity in this century; in the next century they will be commonplace.
        4. Exercises Expect grades to go up again, this time legitimately, for the syllabus will contain not only electronic flash cards, teaching exercises, and practice exercises, but interactive self-testing exercises.
        5. Course instructions Course instructions need not be recopied year after year but they will not be graven in stone, either. The instructions or assignments may be changed the night before class so long as students are forewarned by email and/or a banner running across the site.

      2. Interactive Multimedia Resources with
        1. Graphics Graphics, slide shows, graphs, photographs used each time a course is taught will be prepared once in a lifetime and uploaded for the syllabus, class lecture, and later study.
        2. Sound Sound files now are prohibitively large except for recordings of the human voice and MIDI music files. Recording of the human voice can be compressed 93 : 1 by Vox Box and, if you don't mind accordion and organ music, MIDI files quickly load long musical pieces. 'Stream' audio such as Real Audio sound also makes long voice recording possible with special server setup.
        3. Animation Animation is now very simply accomplished in animated GIF files, just like the Internet photo files except with up to 265 frames. More complex animation is possible using FutureWave or ShockWave by Macromedia or similar presentation software and JAVA applets.
        4. Motion Pictures On-line motion pictures are still a thing of the future due to the wide bandwidth required; however, CU See Me now allows teleconferencing via the web. There are many programs which allow you to use your computer as a telephone.
        5. World-wide Resources
          The important point, of course, is that all these resources need not come from any one person. Those of us teaching the same subjects around the world will from now on be contributing to a fund of course resources which we can all partake. Here are three on the leading edge:

          Resource Sites
          Chernobyl Meltdown
          The Virtual Frog Dissection Kit
          Map Games
          Sagittal Section of English Vowels

      3. Ease of Updating Increases (electronic updating) The electronic syllabus may be modified or up-dated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. E-mail and banners make alerting students to changes a cinch. Flexibility soars.

      4. Raising the Standards of Educational Professionalism This syllabus required no graphics yet its visual impact is that of the very best business or a legal presentations. Our classroom presentations will be as professional as our published work because of what might be called cumulative perfection..

    2. Classroom Management Classroom management and teaching styles will change drastically in the 21st century. The innovations mentioned above will provide much more time for lecturing and discussion in class. Student attention will be focussed on the discussion rather than note-taking, copying from the blackboard, and testing.

      1. Giving up Classroom Accessories The classroom of the 21st century will have only one piece of equipment, a projection computer.

        1. Free at last from the blackboard Because of the general availability of all information necessary for a course, including the instructor's notes, note-taking is drastically reduced, leaving more time for lectures and discussions. Accuracy in retaining information should also increase since it will be ubiquitous.
        2. Freedom from other classroom devices No time will be wasted with overheads, tape recorders, or other classroom terminology. Teacher will be more focussed since one device will deliver all in-class materials.

      2. Course Examination

        1. Self-examination and Homework Computers are excellent at administering, correcting, and grading most types of exams except essay exams. The problem is identifying the student. However, self-examination and open-book homework problems can be handled by the computer. Students can check their knowledge before taking graded examinations with or without instructor involvement.
        2. Graded Homework Computers can also grade such homework and send the results to the instructor. This will open the possibility of students taking exams whenever they feel they are ready, or at least within a reasonable window of time, without burdening the instructor.
        3. Eliminating Examination Time wasted on in-class examination may be eliminated by sharply distinguishing examination from essay-writing. Teachers are left with grading essays and conducting classes. The problem: identifying students outside the classroom.

      3. Teaching Disorganized Knowledge Hypertext is not organized page after page; rather, you can move from any word in the text to any relevant literature pertaining to that word. Is this disorganization a threat to which we must respond or an opportunity to which we must adjust?

      4. Teaching Better Prepared Students? With all the information they need to master the subject of the course available whenever they choose to study, including the lecture notes and all 'handouts' prior to the class meeting, students will come to class better prepared. Or will they?

        1. Extracurricular discussions Bulletin boards, course LISTSERVs, chat rooms, and E-mail make extracurricular discussions possible.
        2. Students control all information in their rooms All information will be available to student when they need it. Even when they travel, course material and assignments are as convenient as the nearest telephone connection.
        3. On-line library resources All reserved reading will be on line, which means that everyone enrolled in the course may read it simultaneously. Eventually, all library material will be available electronically. No delays caused by the crucial book being checked out. Finally, research support such as Bucknell's Library Wizard will widen and deepen.
        4. Student Motivation Student motivation will not change, however. The computer will be a mundane tool in their lives just as the telephone is in ours, so they will still have to be motivated by us to use the materials that are available.

  2. Course Administration The administration of each individual course and all courses taught by an instructor or offered by a department will be alleviated by on-line course and faculty schedules, hyperlinked to the various courses to which they pertain and available to students and colleagues around the clock.

    1. On-line Course Schedules Course schedules for the entire department will be linked to the syllabuses of each course (if a someone decides they don't like the course, they can pick another from the same department).

    2. On-line Faculty Schedules Individual instructors' daily schedules will be available to students linked to course syllabuses, catalog, and schedule entries for the courses they teach. This is simply part of having all information pertinent to the course in one central, electronic location for students, while dispersing it for administrative and academic departments.

    3. On-line Catalogs & Course Guides These will save institutions millions in printing costs and millions of trees their lives.

  3. Online General Resources In addition to electronic classroom materials, universities will come to be looked upon by the news media, the public, and government and business as general knowledge and information resources. This is a role currently played by a relatively few high profile research institutions. The Internet in its role as the great equalizer will extend this opportunity for high profile to everyone who has the knowledge.

    1. Types of General Resources The types of knowledge and information resources that will eventually be available on the Web are only now being discovered. They are interesting to us because they are relevant to our job in general, even if they are not relevant to any particular course. We have traditionally been the source of them. They are another exciting and promising frontier of the Internet.

      1. Pure Reference Materials The Web is the perfect medium for chronologies, biographies, catalogs like the Ethnologue language catalog, and reference desks. The current search engines are already of limited use on the Web: they locate too many irrelevant references. The Web of the 21st century will be organized along specialized nodes. If you are looking for a dictionary, you will go to a reliable dictionary index, if you want biography, you will go to a reliable and comprehensive biography index, and so on.

        Reference Sites
        Dictionary Index
        Dictionary of Biographies
        Ethnologue
        Reference Desk

      2. On-line publications: The number of on-line publications currently is small but the savings in printing costs and publication time cannot be ignored by publishers, especially academic publishers.

        On-Line Research
        E-Periodicals
        LISTs and Usenets
        Books and Monographs

      3. Textual and other data bases There is no better form for storing, searching, and retrieving data bases than electronic form. Finding the data you need, whether it be economic data or themes in Shakespeare's plays, cannot be accomplished faster than an electronic search.

        Databases
        Thomas
        Census Bureau
        CIA World Fact Book
        Shakespeare's Complete Works

    2. New Reputations on the Internet As in the case of all permanent, radical changes, the spread of the WWW will enhance the positions of those who lead the way in change at the expense of those who resist or lag behind. Internet entrepreneurs hip are already on the rise not only in business but in education, as well. Opportunities abound.

      1. Publishing on the Internet Publishers no longer have the final say in what is published. Self-publication has already arrived and it is limited solely by the creativity and ambition of the author.

      2. Serving the broader community on the Internet The greatest opportunities lie in providing informational services to the greater community. Educators are in a preferential position to provide what will become essential online services. Come to the afternoon talk for details.


  4. Recommended Tools
    1. HTML Editors
      1. Allaire's Homesite 4.0
      2. World Wide Web Weaver (Mac)
    2. Web Course Editors
      1. WebCT
      2. Socrates
      3. Web Course in a Box
    3. Graphics Applications
      1. LView Pro (graphics viewer)
      2. Paint Shop Pro (graphics editor)
      3. ULead Gif Animator
    4. JAVA Resources
      1. JAVA Boutique (applet archive)
      2. Java Perk (simple automatic applets)
      3. Lotus JAVA Bean Machine (more complex applet designer)
PREPARATION

Recommended Assignment

Examine the on-line courses in your discipline at the World Lecture Hall and bring some ideas of what you want to do on the internet to the workshop.

World Lecture Hall
Art & Art History Chemistry German Economics French
Mathematics Political Science Russian Sociology Spanish

Recommended Readings and Resources

Beard, Robert 1996. Bucknell On-line Resources. http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/rbeard/buweb.html

Beard, Robert 1997. The Noteless Classroom. Paper delivered at WebNet 97, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, Toronto, Canada, November 4-9.

Brooks, David 1997. Web-Teaching: A Guide to Designing Interactive Teaching for the World Wide Web. New York: Plenum Press.

de Kerckhove, Derrick 1995. Roadside Romance: TV Marries Computer on the Electronic Highway.

The Discovery Channel 1996. History of the Internet. http://www.discovery.com/DCO/doc/1012/world/technology/internet/inet1.html

Gates, Bill 1996. The Road Ahead (Chapter 9). New York: Penguin Books.

Graham, Ian 1998. HTML 4.0 Sourcebook. New York: John Wiley & Son.

Keating, Anne and Joseph Hargitai 1999. The Wired Professor : A Guide to Incorporating the World Wide Web in College Instruction. New York: New York University Press.

"The Internet: Bringing Order from Chaos", special issue of Scientific American, March 1997.

Irvine, Martin 1996 (visited). Media / Culture / Technology: Resources. http://www.georgetown.edu/grad/CCT/resources/edtech.html.

Johnson-Page, Grace 1996. "Rethinking Teaching and Learning: A Reformation of Liberal Arts Education with Information Technology." http://www.marietta.edu/~johnsong/reform/index.html

Lanham, Richard 1993. The Electronic Word: Democracy, Technology, and the Arts. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Mitchell, William J. 1995. City of Bits: Space, Place and the Infobahn. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Oblinger, Diana (Ed.) 1997. The Learning Revolution : The Challenge of Information Technology in the Academy. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Co.

O'Donnell, James J. 1996 (visited). New Tools for Teaching. http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/teachdemo

Whitesel, Cynthia April 12, 1998. "Reframing Our Classrooms, Reframing Ourselves: Perspectives from a Virtual Paladin." http://www.microsoft.com/education/hed/vision.htm.

Porter, Lynnette 1997. Creating the Virtual Classroom : Distance Learning With the Internet. New York: John Wiley.


These materials were prepared with support from
the S. W. Davis Educational Foundation
© 1996 Robert Beard