CTA Assists Faculty
NMU professors who want to incorporate more technology into their teaching, but aren’t sure how to proceed or what resources are available, can receive help from the Course Technology Alliance (CTA). This “working group” of individuals from the Learning Resources Division and Academic Information Services (pictured at left) meets weekly to review requests and map out action plans.
“The CTA is comprised of staff members who are providers of technology services on campus,” said Darlene Walch (Academic Information Services). “Meeting regularly allows each of us to know what the others are doing and better coordinate the services that exist. Sometimes people aren’t sure where to go for help because there has been more overlap as the technology has evolved. Now requests can be funneled directly to the CTA. There’s a cohesiveness that makes it easier for faculty to know where to turn. We’re able to assemble resources and put them together in a way that helps faculty achieve their objectives.”
Through its Web site, the CTA provides support to faculty interested in developing one of three models of instruction: a technology-rich, face-to-face model that takes place in a traditional learning environment, but uses technology to disseminate some of the information; a hybrid, in which the traditional classroom environment is enhanced by various technologies, including tools in the learning management system WebCT; and an online model, in which course work is presented, disseminated and evaluated totally online.
The Web site also offers a glossary, an outline of elements that make up a successful online course, and links to other relevant information.
Walch said, “Many of the questions we are asked deal with pedagogy more than anything: ‘What makes a good discussion list? How do I administer tests online? How can I be sure the person on the computer is really registered for class?’ Quality is another big issue. We’re not here to encourage or discourage people. We’re just offering support as they explore new directions.”
The CTA is comprised of staff representatives from Academic Computing, Audiovisual Services, Instructional Technology, Instructional Media Services, Olson Library, and NMU Public Television and Radio.
“Another benefit of this alliance is that it supplies valuable data that could be used to drive future technology purchases,” said Eric Smith (Broadcast and AV Services). “Based on the requests we receive and the level of support we’re able to provide, we can determine whether we are sufficient or deficient in areas and make decisions on which technology to invest in accordingly.”
For more information, or to submit a request for assistance, visit CTA.