Members of the UC Berkeley faculty spent part of this week learning how computer technology can aid their teaching styles and improve the quality of their classes.
Thirty-two professors participated in the Summer Technology Program at the Haas Business School from Monday to Wednesday, where 10 faculty members gave various presentations on emerging technology.
“The times are changing,” presenter Michael T. Hardie said. “People are finding out this year that if they want to know how to do something, they want to learn how to do it. A lot of people felt that they had to rely on their Teacher Assistants to do things, and they wanted more control.”
In its third year, its second at the Business School, the Summer Technology Program has expanded to include more professors than in previous years.
“It’s a great program for opening faculty members’ eyes to what is possible, and it’s a real smorgasbord of tools that can be used in all different ways in people’s courses,” French professor Rick Kern said.
Faculty members attended hands-on workshop sessions on how to build a course web site, conduct Power Point presentations, scan images, and learn how to incorporate the Berkeley Internet Broadcasting System (BIBS) into their lectures.
BIBS allows professors to broadcast their lectures live on the Internet and then archive them. This gives students who could not attend a lecture the opportunity to watch the lectures on their computers and not miss out on anything. It also allows students to review parts of lectures they had difficulty understanding.
In a session Wednesday morning, three technology staff members went over WebCT and CourseInfo, two programs that professors can use to build web sites for their classes. These web sites feature discussion boards, notes from the professor, and other course information and materials that can benefit students.
“For me, what is really helpful is just to know about the different possible uses of (technology), so that when I am ready to work on it, I have a way of starting,” said Yu-Wen Ying, who works in the Social Welfare Department.
Not all of the faculty who attended the workshops had previously used any of the computer programs for their courses. However, some were already incorporating computer technology into their teaching methods, and learned about new technology.
“I’ve been using technology quite a bit in my classes over the last 10 years or so – using email and having students design their own web pages,” Kern said. “So my interest is developing multimedia assessment tools.”
Kern and other faculty who attended the session will work with colleagues to find ways of including this technology into their departments beginning in the fall semester.