During the last week of May approximately 40 faculty from the four USNH institutions: Granite State College, Keene State College, Plymouth State University and the University of New Hampshire gathered in Durham, NH to participate in the fourth annual USNH Academic Technology Institute (ATI). The ATI, established in 2011, brings faculty together to explore the theory, tools, practice as well as new thinking around using educational technology for teaching and learning. Most importantly, faculty from diverse disciplines are given the opportunity to interact and work together with their colleagues across the institutions.
Each faculty member comes to the ATI with an instructional challenge from their own course(s) that they would like to address by using some form of educational technology. Over the course of four days faculty are exposed to new ideas and approaches to help them rethink their course design strategies. And on the last day, faculty present their projects and findings.
|“This was a fantastic conference. I feel very fortunate to have been invited to come. It is extremely beneficial to me to have the opportunity to dialogue with my colleagues, and I particularly appreciated the focus on teaching. Nearly every academic conference I’ve attended in the past has focused on scholarship, not teaching. The marriage of teaching, technology, collaboration, and camaraderie at this conference are extremely unique and perhaps the best part. I truly loved the UnConference! Thank you!”
This year, the program included an UnConference for the first time which provided participants to present topics, ideas and tools themselves. This fast-paced spontaneously generated sessions covered such topics from Jing to Brainshark to online assessments. One faculty commented, “I was initially skeptical about the UnConference, but I found it really fun and educational; probably the highlight of the week for me. It is most beneficial to see how others are actually using technology in the classroom.” Read more here.
The keynote speaker this year was Dr. Cable Green, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons and he gave a fantastic presentation about Open Education: The Business and Policy Case for OER (Open Education Resources.) If you are new to the concept of OER, you may find this very brief (3 min.) video a good overview: Why Open Education Matters. The broad theme touched on the changing educational horizon and disruption due to the Internet, MOOCs and plethora of free and accessible high-qulaity resources coupled with the current economic situation. He made a compelling argument to adopt OER (textbooks included!) And for those who were unfamiliar with the Creative Commons licensing options which provides some middle ground between copyrighted and public domain materials. To watch his full presentation or download his Powerpoint presentation (chock full of resources!) see the session page here.
Both the participants and the organizers left the ATI energized and had lots of ideas of how to keep the momentum going once they returned to their campuses. GSC faculty expressed their hopes for ongoing events at the college to provide more options for other faculty to be engaged. The USNH Academic Technology Steering Committee introduced the concept of an Academic Exchange as a forum for fostering cross-campus interactions among faculty. We are all looking forward to next year’s ATI!
The ATI is a project of the USNH Academic Technology Steering Committee which is a collaboration of the Academic Affairs and Academic Technology units at each of the four colleges/universities: GSC, KSC, PSU, and UNH. The members include faculty and the Academic Technology Directors from all of the institutions. The charge of the committee is to find ways in which together they can support faculty in using technology and integrating rich media into their courses. The current GSC members of the committee are Reta Chaffee, Director of Educational Technology and Chuck Bagley, Lecturer and Director of Faculty Development. Starting this fall, Heidi Wilkes will be the faculty/Academic Affairs representative.