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1. An effective teacher/instructor with skills in:
(c) Developing instructional strategies

1c1 With the Leadership Technology Task Force

Development Plan Portfolio Documentation

Develop the use of the following technologies and resources among Leadership participants and faculty through fostering an active Leadership Technology Task Force:

  • Discussion group software.
  • Virtual Meeting.
  • Explain and interpret computer jargon and applications of technology.
  • Develop a “toolbox” of reference materials, templates and standard procedures.

For the Technology Task Force: Include surveys conducted with responses and actions taken, web, email and other materials developed, reactions and responses.  Reflect on strategies used to encourage participation and collaboration from the Task Force.

  1. Surveys and Results
  2. Virtual Meetings and Online Discussions
  3. Computer Glossary
  4. Technology "Toolbox"
  5. Reflections

1. Surveys and Results

In August, 1998, I prepared a survey to ascertain participant's use of various technologies, and discover what software packages and versions were being used. I had been in the Leadership program for just one month, and I guess that in my role as CIO for Andrews University, I had become aware of some of the technical difficulties some participants were having with basic web browsing and email. One of the faculty suggested that I might try to use my resources and background to address this situation.

I thought that the way to go about this was to conduct a survey to determine what software was being used by participants, with a view to compiling a list of tips for the most commonly used. So I prepared the survey, and sent it out via email. The following items were included in the survey:

  1. Platform
  2. Word processor
  3. Spreadsheet
  4. ISP
  5. Email reader
  6. Browser
  7. Web authoring
  8. News Reader
  9. FTP
  10. Internet meeting
  11. Internet phone
  12. Video conferencing
  13. File Compression
  14. Other Technologies
  15. Other tips, tools, techniques, templates

Three additional items I should have included are:

  1. Bibliographic software
  2. Database software
  3. Presentation software

I received 33 responses to the survey.  They show that a wide variety of email readers is being used, and that word processors are split mainly between Word and WordPerfect.  One important lesson that I learned is that I should have done a trial run on my survey to ensure it was understandable and would yield useful results. I received some feedback suggesting that the format of my survey made some participants feel intimidated or inadequate, supposing that they ought to have been familiar with, if not proficient in, all of the software packages I was collecting data on.

I intended to do a follow up survey, but was discouraged by unintended consequences of my initial survey. In time, the data became stale, I have taken other approaches to addressing technical support for all distance students as part of my responsibilities as CIO.

2. Virtual Meetings and Online Discussions

Leading up to the 1998 Leadership Roundtable, some research was done in the School of Education to set up a discussion board for the exchange of ideas among Leadership participants. This was done in part to reduce the amount of email being sent to the LeadAll listserv. A product called Ultimate Bulletin Board was installed and set up, and I presented a brief training session in its use at the Roundtable. However, this technology never caught on.

This product did not have the ability to "thread" or group together messages relating to the same discussion. I experimented with using an older technology, namely Internet News, since it offered this capability. However, it was much more difficult to configure user client software to work correctly, so this approach was not promoted.

Another technology we experimented with was NetMeeting. In October 1998, I met with the Berrien Dissertation Regional Group to try this technology. We able to get voice communications to work over the Internet, and even had video working for a short period. However, there were even greater technology hurdles in getting this set up correctly than there were with Internet News. Maybe this will get easier to do one day.

A year or so later, the University adopted a "courseware" product called WebCT (Web Course Technology). This included its own bulletin board, and has come to be used extensively for discussion based courses that are conducted outside of classrooms. It also has the potential to be used for other more general types of online interactions, such as within Regional Groups, or for the whole group of participants. Another useful feature of WebCT is the Chat Room. This allows real-time, synchronous interaction, and includes the ability to capture a log of the whole discussion.

As the number of participants in the program grew, the volume of email on the LeadAll list began to get out of hand. With the availability of WebCT, a person from each Regional Group was appointed as the WebCT Administrator for the group. I prepared instructions outlining the responsibilities of the administrator, and posted them to a WebCT Administrator forum. At the 2000 Roundtable, I assisted in a Technology Presentation prepared by Bill Morelan, and presented for discussion the idea of a moderated LeadAll. Instead of using the LeadAll listserv for any and all communications, participants agreed to use the LEADALL WebCT forum. Participants could still use the LeadAll listserv for important announcements or news of happenings in their group, and for posting minutes of group meetings, by forwarding the items to their Regional Group WebCT Administrator. Posting to the listserv would be restricted to these Administrators and the faculty, who would act as moderators for the members of their group. I have prepared a log of the email discussion that was generated during the proposal and implementation of the moderated LeadAll.

3. Computer Glossary, Application Tips

Glossary Links

    Accessed
Compu-pedia 28-Jun-2004
University of Chicago   
Family PC Fun  
Packard Bell 28-Jun-2004
CNet.com 28-Jun-2004
Matisse Enzer 28-Jun-2004
Compu-pedia 28-Jun-2004

4. Technology "Toolbox"

TimeLog Database

I have developed an Access database for tracking time spent on various activities while developing and documenting competencies (TimeLog.mdb). This is particularly useful for coursework where there is a requirement to log a certain number of hours. I have not placed the database on my web, but will make it available to anyone who is interested. I can be contacted via email at dheise@andrews.edu. There are tables for holding the 6 competency group headings and the sub-headings for each of the 20 competencies, as well as the breakdown within each competency according to the individual's IDP. Then there is a data entry screen for recording date, start and end time, competency group and sub-group, and a description of the activity that was performed. The database produces summary and detail reports for hardcopy, and also generates the HTML for time logs for my web portfolio.

Web Portfolio

I am using the web to present the documentation for fulfilling my competency requirements. In order to maintain consistency in the appearance and navigation style of my web portfolio, I have developed a series of templates and style sheets.  I gave a presentation called "Virtual Banana Boxes" at one of the concurrent sessions at the 2001 Roundtable Conference. The aim of the presentation was not to teach HTML or web design fundamentals, but to explain some of what I had learned about organizing such a project, and some of the standards I had developed for myself.

The session was well attended (40+), and there seemed to be a high degree of interest in this alternate to having to transport lots of large heavy "banana boxes" to the portfolio defense. However, there has been next to no follow up interest, so I very much suspect that the pressures of work, family and studies has pushed this to the background for most people.

Items listed in on the Leadership Participant Website

I have started compiling a list of tips and tools on the Leadership Participant website.

5. Reflections

While the idea of a Technology Task Force from within the ranks of Leadership Participants seemed like a good idea, it has actually been a total flop. I had minimal response from general requests sent to the list for volunteers. When I specifically selected individuals I knew to have interest and expertise in technology and invited them to join, the response was little better. With the advent of WebCT and the setting up of Regional Group WebCT forums, there was in increase in interest, especially for some of the more active groups where members had significant amounts of travel time to get to group meetings. This step had necessitated appointing one person from each group as the WebCT Administrator (see instructions for a description of responsibilities), and this person seemed to be the logical person to act as technology mentor for the rest of the group. It is also this person who is authorized to post minutes of group meetings to LeadAll, and this seems to be working well in most groups.

The Leadership program continues to experience growth in numbers, and at the same time, its dependence on technology continues to increase. The burden of providing technical support to this growing body of students would have become overwhelming, but for the development of a number of tools to semi-automate trouble shooting password problems, etc. Most participants are able to have their problems resolved by Carol Castillo in the Leadership office, and she provides efficient and effective service using the tools that have been developed.

Although many improvements have been made, there is probably still some dissatisfaction with the quality of technical services and support. As Chief Information Officer for the University, I am constantly working on improving the level and reliability of services we offer to students, faculty and staff of the University. I also believe that users of our services in ITS (Information Technology Services) are becoming more skilled and proficient in their use of these technologies.


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Created: Tuesday, February 20, 2000 04:54 PM
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 11:01 AM