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6. A competent scholar with a working knowledge of:
(e) Educational technology and its application

6e2 Reflections on Leadership Technology Task Force

Development Plan Portfolio Documentation

Build the Leadership Technology Task Force into an effective, functional unit, benefiting leadership participants, faculty, and task force members individually.

Document and reflect on the actions of the Leadership Technology Task Force and its impact on leadership participants and the leadership program.

1. Time Log

2. First Leadership Bulletin Board

At the 1998 Leadership Roundtable some research was done in the School of Education to set up a discussion board.  This was done partly 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 forum never caught on.

3. Formation of Leadership Technology Task Force

Jaclyn Kostner's presentation on her book, "Virtual Leadership: Secrets from the Round Table for the Multi-Site Manager", stimulated an interest in putting technology to use in staying connected with our regional groups.  In order to master what was new technology for most participants, a group was formed as a Technology Task Force, to identify needs to training and skill development.

At this stage, collaboration among members of the Task Force has been non-existent.  There has been little or no response to specific requests for input.  There is a great opportunity here for an injection of revitalizing energy.

4. Technology Survey

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.   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

There were three glaring omissions from this list:

  1. Bibliographic software
  2. Database
  3. Presentation

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 thing 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.

5. WebCT

The Andrews University Academic Computing Committee with Lorena Bidwell as Chair gave study to the matter of courseware for facilitating instruction.  Blackboard and WebCT were the two products chosen for evaluation.  The features the committee were looking for included discussion board, chat rooms, course outline and other content, online quizzes and grading, whiteboard, and  several others.  Both of the products had all of these features, but WebCT was chosen on the grounds of allowing greater flexibility.

WebCT was used successfully used in EDUC632 Issues in Education Foundations, and at the 1999 Leadership Roundtable, WebCT Forums were set up for each of the Regional Groups.  This was offered as a way of allowing discussion and contact among group members without all being physically present at the same place.  A WebCT administrator was appointed from each group to maintain the discussion board, chat rooms, and membership.  This group could also serve as technology advisors to their group, and may provide another opportunity for Technology Task Force matters to be dealt with.

Following the failure of The Ultimate Bulletin Board software to gain acceptance among Leadership participants, the discussion board feature of WebCT was seen as a venue for the unsolicited email that some participants send to the LeadAll listserv.

6. Technology Issues

Some computer proficiency is expected of participants in the leadership program.  In fact, one of the specific requirements for Leadership is "Access to a computer and skills in communicating via e-mail, the Internet, and other forms of telecommunication."  

Regular email is important for sharing and discussing  matters of general interest in the program.  Andrews University has adopted WebCT as its "courseware" technology, and this requires familiarity with using a web browser, and being able to set certain configuration options so that functions like the java-based Chat Rooms function correctly.  Access to the James White Library's online databases requires the use of an authorized username and password, as well as configuring proxy settings.

Because of these technology issues, the specific requirement for computer skills is not an idle one.  Both participant and support staff experience a great deal of frustration when participants are admitted into the program without basic computer skills.

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Created: Sunday, August 08, 1999 1:34 PM
Last Modified: Thursday, June 6, 2002 10:03 PM