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Faculty workshops focus on technology, research


Leann Lesperance, left, assistant professor of bioengineering, gets some pointers from James Pitarresi, chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department, during a Jan. 22 faculty workshop called “Technology: What’s Available, What You Can Do With It.” The w

Several recent workshops provided Binghamton faculty members a chance to learn from each other and find out more about resources available on campus.

The Center for Learning and Teaching organized Technology: What’s Available, What You Can Do With It, a series of sessions focused on technology ranging from PowerPoint to tablet PCs.

Student Research in the Age of Google, offered by the Libraries and sponsored by Sean McKitrick, assistant provost for curriculum, instruction and assessment, dealt with difficulties that students encounter when conducting library research.

Decker School of Nursing faculty participated in a workshop focused on simulation and technology in nursing education.

During Student Research in the Age of Google, about 30 professors and librarians shared their perspectives on students’ critical thinking and information management skills, and talked about how to help undergraduates and graduate students make better use of the resources available to them.

One faculty member noted that the “information maelstrom” on the Internet makes it especially difficult for students to evaluate online sources. Others said they wanted to offer some guidance about research projects but were concerned students wouldn’t know how to tackle other assignments independently if they provided too much help.

Several professors said students must learn the difference between peer-reviewed journals and what’s available through Wikipedia — and why only the first are appropriate for most research papers.

Librarians suggested that faculty members check on library resources before making assignments and said they’re willing to meet with classes to discuss subject-specific resources, too.

The bottom line? Students may have a better research experience if professors and librarians introduce them to relevant sources of information and get them oriented to the library before they tackle assignments.

Technology: What’s Available, What You Can Do With It offered instructors a series of mini-workshops focused on specific tasks. The roughly 60 participants learned how to record lectures using audio equipment and video cameras; how to add voice narration to a PowerPoint presentation; how to use tablet PCs to capture written notes during class; how to use clickers to record students’ classroom participation; and about making files available online through Blackboard.

Faculty presenters spoke about what they’ve done in their own classes and took questions from peers considering using various kinds of technology.

Some have used iPods to record lectures and then made them available online. Others were curious about using their laptop computers’ built-in microphones or cameras.
The bottom line? Capturing audio and video may or may not be something teaching faculty want to do for every class, but understanding the technology allows you to record special lectures and demonstrations for later listening or viewing.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08