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The Idea

We're working on an Academic Technology Vision Plan . We know smart people. We'd like some help. The idea is you can either post your own pass at an AT vision, or post a revision of someone else's pass, or revise a document in concert with others. (Or comment. Or lurk. It's all good.)

In other words, We'd like to use a net-enabled approach to write our Networked Learning plan.

 While this wiki does has no official or institutional status, ideally the ideas and drafts here would help us write our own plan.

 The password is highway61

 Remember: If you have something you'd like to capture, but don't know where it fits, just make a new page and we'll see if we can find a place for it.

 The current suggested structure of the document is in the sidebar. It's main focus is to show how modern trends in academic technology mesh well with our institutional goals.

 The vision statement was written some time ago, and may need some revision now that we've been through this goal-alignment exercise.

 Post multiple ways of doing it if you want. Post one that looks like a manifesto, and one that looks like an accountant wrote it. And if you have nothing to post, please comment!

 Tag your creation with the tag 'vision', then view a list of vision statements, list of questions, or go see the list of all pages w/ authors.


--Mike Caulfield & Jenny Darrow


 Great comment from Martha Burtis (University of Mary Washington):

Interesting. You still need a plan, you just need a kind of plan that is different than what we've always imagined a plan to be in the past. You need a plan that creates frameworks and opportunities rather than that dictates solutions and products. You need a plan that empowers leadership rather than merely "defining" it. You need a plan that has some ability to "self-heal" and adapt. Ultimately, a plan like this has values and vision at it's core, not answers.

 What I worry about is that if we push the conversation about the potential of technology to it's current limit, then we ultimately need to push our conversation about higher education to a similarly precipitous limit. (And I worry that we're both not doing this or we are doing it and then not knowing where to go next.)

 We need to question our values, not about technology, but about education, learning, knowing, sharing, community, activism, citizenship -- and we need to find a place for higher education to occupy in that conversation that makes the use of its inherent strengths (leadership, knowledge, passionate commitment) not its weakness (administration, management, standardization). Increasingly, we play the game in higher ed. of trying to fix our weakness instead of trying to value our strengths, and in doing so we dilute ourselves and we allow a conversation to emerge around us about what we're doing (and if we're doing it well) in which we play little role.

 Technology could be the transformative agent in this conversation. It could help us shift the conversation back in a rigorous (but not stifling) direction. Instead, more and more institutions seem to approach technology merely as an administrative panacea or a tool for collecting, analyzing, and regurgitating more data and information in a desperate attempt to justify our existence.



  • To be clear -- While we are helping to write the AT plan for our institution, this wiki should not be considered an official Keene State workspace, but rather a scratchpad where people at Keene State are learning from other institutions
  • Anything posted on here will be considered to be posted under a Creative Commons non-commercial license, unless otherwise stated. If you post your institution's current vision statement, that's wonderful, but be explicit as to what copyright it is under.
  • I think we're looking for a vision statement that's inspiring, but also accessible to students and faculty at large.


Introduction and History


The purpose of the Academic Technology Strategic Plan is to provide an overarching vision and direction for academic technology first within Academic Affairs and then more broadly for the campus.  While there has been academic technology at Keene State College, the planning and direction for it has largely been reactive.  This plan is our first look specifically at academic technology, not driven by specific equipment and tools, but rather by the vision for what kind of learning environment we desire for our students, faculty and staff in pursuit of the values of our campus mission statement and shared values (see http://www.keene.edu/planning/ for the draft mission statement and values, and http://www.keene.edu/admin/cpd/goals.cfm for the campus contributed strategic plan document).




There have been previous groups contributing to directions in academic technology for Keene State College.  The Information Technology group and specifically the College Information Technology Committee (CITC), now led by the Chief Information Officer, has provided policy, procedural and financial governance, in addition to doing the physical work of project implementation for hardware and software.  For several decades the Academic Technology Committee, comprised mainly of faculty, helped shape the classroom and desktop hardware and software needs of the faculty.  Some of the many noteworthy accomplishments of these groups have been a replacement cycle for computers, helpdesk support, an instructional technology group to assist the Schools in the development of classroom applications, and course management software.

 Within the last few years, with the inauguration of a new president and hiring of a new provost, and with the 2006 revised New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) standards, especially for Standards Seven and Eight, there has been a clear mandate for a vision for academic technology.  A progression of elements to creating this vision commenced with the announcement in February of 2007 of a leader for academic technology in Academic Affairs, then Mason Library Director and now Dean of the Library, Irene Herold.  It was followed with a revised charge for the Academic Technology Committee, now the Academic Technology Steering Committee.  Additionally, the Instructional Technology Group with Manager Jennifer Darrow, which reported to the CIO in Information Technology, was moved in Fall 2007 to report to Academic Affairs and has been renamed the Academic Technology Group.  Finally, Michael Caulfield was reassigned 20% to Academic Technology.  In October 2007, Irene, Jenny and Mike were then charged by the Provost with drafting an Academic Technology Strategic Plan to bring forward in November.



Current Trends


The current major trends in learning and teaching technology do not all pull in exactly the same direction, but they do share this one attribute: a stepping away from seeing technology as simply a delivery mechanism and a stepping towards a more integrated view of technology as a tool used by students and faculty to achieve their own ends. In this move there is a recognition that technology will be central to their learning and achievement far beyond postsecondary education, that students should be presented with technological tools and techniques that they will be able to use outside the classroom, and that these methods be suited to meet the challenges of the new world of work.

 The Rise of Participatory Culture

 What is this new world of work? What is the nature of the new academic and civic engagement?

 It is a world that is increasingly collaborative and participatory, and a world where that collaboration and participation is technology mediated. The MacArthur Foundation, in discussing the challenges of media education for a "participatory culture" states "Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from one of individual expression to community involvement. The new literacies almost all involve social skills developed through collaboration and networking." More particularly, they identify the following as crucial skills for engagement with that culture:

·          Play — the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem-solving

·         Performance — the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery

·         Simulation — the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes

·         Appropriation — the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content

·         Multitasking — the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details.

·         Distributed Cognition — the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities

·         Collective Intelligence — the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal

·         Judgment — the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources

·         Transmedia Navigation — the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities

·         Networking — the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information

·         Negotiation — the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms.


While the examples here are phrased to support the MacArthur Foundation's digital media focus, they also provide a more general sense of the skills necessary for success in the current world. [It can be argued, of course, that these are not new skills, but that current technological trends have merely made more salient the skills that have always been the focus of a liberal arts education.]

Faced with this new reality, many academic technology departments are carefully evaluating their toolsets, and pushing to prominence those technologies that support such modes of work and thought: wikis, which support new modes of collaboration and collective intelligence; blogs, which provide a platform for appropriation, synthesis, and meaningful reflection; RSS, which provides an open framework for aggregation, and material for synthesis.

It is important to note that these particular technologies reflect the technologies of today; we in no way mean to indicate they will be the tools of tomorrow. In today's world it is assumed that tools will constantly evolve and change. What is important are the core skills mentioned above: the use of current tools is an entry into teaching students new modes of work and research which will serve them as specific tools evolve.



The Move from an LMS to a PLE approach

 One of the more recent trends has been the move toward so called PLEs. A PLE, or Personal Learning Environment, is not so much a product as a way of reconceptualizing learning systems. Depending on the theorist, it can be seen as either opposing to the LMS, or Learning Management System, approach to education, or as supplementing it.

 The idea was first introduced as part of a larger discussion at CETIS in late 2004, and while the debate has moved away from its initial software focus, the core idea is still the same:

 We need to move from a provider or institution-focused set of capabilities to an environment where users 'assemble' their environment to suit their needs.

 Stephen Downes recently described the transition as follows:

While the learning management system succeeded in emulating the classroom online, a second wave of applications and approaches, drawing on what has come to be described as Web 2,0, is redefining the concept of online learning. This second wave is characterised by the ‘personal learning environment’ (PLE). The values that underlie the PLE and Web 2.0 are the same: the fostering of social networks and communities, the emphasis on creation rather than consumption, and the decentralisation of content and control.

The are many reasons that this transition from an LMS to a PLE approach is necessary:

  • LMS systems, with their focus on course delivery and centralized storage do not integrate well with participatory culture.
  • As noted above, the skill of assembling technical solutions on the fly is a core skill in new technological literacy: LMS's come prepackaged, and modification is institutionally controlled
  • Students need to leave college set to learn for a lifetime; yet LMS's have no corollary in the outside world. Colleges need to graduate students with a knowledge of the types of tools they will use to accomplish their lifelong learning.


Does this mean institutions will throw away Blackboard, Sakai, or Moodle and start from scratch? Probably not. For delivery of course materials LMS's such as Blackboard may remain the best option. What the PLE trend makes clear is that LMS's serve specific needs of the institution -- serving the lifelong needs of our students is a different matter.

 For those lifelong needs, loosely-coupled systems of multiple interchangeable pieces have proven to be the most robust. At its most abstract, a PLE may consist of several class blogs, an RSS reader, a Facebook page, several wikis, a del.icio.us account, the Google search box, a YouTube account, a system of email alerts, and a protopage to tie much of it together.

 In such a system the student is in control of the evolution of their learning environment, and learns how to modify and extend their system as needed, swapping out pieces as their needs evolve or better solutions emerge. The student graduates understanding how to mix and mash their own solutions to problems they encounter.


Connectivism and the new World of Work

 In his seminal article on Connectivism, George Siemens identifies the changes in the workplace that all current pedagogical practice must address:


·         Many learners will move into a variety of different, possibly unrelated fields over the course of their lifetime.

·         Informal learning is a significant aspect of our learning experience. Formal education no longer comprises the majority of our learning. Learning now occurs in a variety of ways – through communities of practice, personal networks, and through completion of work-related tasks.

·         Learning is a continual process, lasting for a lifetime. Learning and work related activities are no longer separate. In many situations, they are the same.

·         Technology is altering (rewiring) our brains. The tools we use define and shape our thinking.

·         The organization and the individual are both learning organisms. Increased attention to knowledge management highlights the need for a theory that attempts to explain the link between individual and organizational learning.

·         Many of the processes previously handled by learning theories (especially in cognitive information processing) can now be off-loaded to, or supported by, technology.

·         Know-how and know-what is being supplemented with know-where (the understanding of where to find knowledge needed).



This change has been underway for some time: one can trace the discussion of the effects of an information-rich society to Vannevar Bush's As We May Think, and Siemens observation that "The pipe is more important than the content within the pipe. Our ability to learn what we need for tomorrow is more important than what we know today." has its roots work by Marshall McLuhan and others.

The issues under discussion here, then, have been evolving for quite some time. Siemens, however, argues that the Networked Age tips the balance dramatically, in ways most people engaged in the modern workplace will recognize. The questions raised are many:


·         How are learning theories impacted when knowledge is no longer acquired in the linear manner?

·         What adjustments need to made with learning theories when technology performs many of the cognitive operations previously performed by learners (information storage and retrieval).

·         How can we continue to stay current in a rapidly evolving information ecology?

·         How do learning theories address moments where performance is needed in the absence of complete understanding?

·         What is the impact of networks and complexity theories on learning?

·         What is the impact of chaos as a complex pattern recognition process on learning?

·         With increased recognition of interconnections in differing fields of knowledge, how are systems and ecology theories perceived in light of learning tasks?



According to Siemens, learning has to be seen as a network phenomenon, and that network is often (although not always) technology-mediated. The ways in which we encourage students to interact with the multiple networks to which they belong is a core part of their education, and a large factor in their future success.

 Whether one wishes to go as far as Siemens in theory, the fact is educational practice must now grapple with these questions -- in how we encourage our students to interact with technology there is no pedagogically neutral ground. How we encourage them to use technology should be guided informed response to these concerns, and a desire to better align education with the challenges and opportunities of an information-rich networked world.



Selected reading:

Jenkins, H., Clinton K., Purushotma, R., Robinson, A.J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Chicago, IL: The MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved Novemeber 3, 2007, from Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century

 Hart, P. (2006). How should colleges prepare students to succeed in today’s global economy? Retrieved November 1, 2007, from http://www.aacu.org/advocacy/leap/documents/Re8097abcombined.pdf

 Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved Novemeber 1, 2007, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

 Downes, S. (2007). Emerging Technologies for Learning. Coventry, U.K.: Becta. Retrieved Novemeber 1, 2007, http://partners.becta.org.uk/page_documents/research/emerging_technologies07_chapter2.pdf




Relation to KSC Goals (index)

(Goals taken from Campus Planning Web Page.)

 1. To significantly enhance and become recognized for the quality of our academic programs and the academic achievements of our faculty and students. 

 2. Three very important curricular initiatives, the move to a four-credit curriculum, the new general education program, and the service-learning initiative, will support this goal; the faculty is already fully engaged in these efforts. 

  3. To clearly and continuously communicate our mission and values in all that we undertake, and to foster a strong sense of community on campus in pursuit of academic excellence. 

 4. To invest in faculty and staff so they can provide leadership for the College's transformation. 

 5. To actively engage our students in a learning process that is grounded in service, citizenship, and ethical awareness. 

 6. To provide high-quality academic programs that are affordable and accessible to a wide range of learners. 



Integrative Learning

The Goal:

Three very important curricular initiatives, the move to a four-credit curriculum, the new general education program, and the service-learning initiative, will support this goal; the faculty is already fully engaged in these efforts.


 Integrative learning leads students to synthesize learning from a wide array of sources, learn from experience, and make significant and productive connections between theory and practice. This approach to teaching and learning is necessary in today's world where technology and globalization transform knowledge practices in all disciplines and professions: disciplines are now less bounded, with new areas of scientific knowledge emerging on the borders of old ones, and with a significant exchange of concepts, methods, and subject matter between the humanities, the social sciences, and the arts (University of Southern California).




In the past curriculum design in higher education has often been fragmented, without much allegiance towards the education of the whole student. The intent of the codified approach was well meaning in that it would provide the student with a deep and focused examination of a given subject. However this often led to limited internal coherence in curriculum or programs, and little opportunity for integrative learning. Our current emphasis on academic technology further enforces the traditional approach in higher education and does little to make transparent the interconnections of seemingly disparate information.

Presently our measure of technology adoption has focused on the use of our learning management system (LMS) to deliver course material. Whether a course syllabus, email, discussion posts, or more administrative tasks such as online grading, the use of the LMS has been primarily focused on content presentation. While a very useful tool when taken in context, its architecture and intended use limits how a student might engage with the subject and does little to encourage cross course learning or knowledge building outside of the classroom. If our current understanding of academic technology starts and stops with the use of a LMS then we will be able to do little to support integrative learning and student engagement. Showing, sharing, and educating campus on how effective use of technology can be a path to engagement pedagogies is key to moving beyond the LMS as the lone academic technology metric.

 Contributing to our heavy reliance on the LMS as our academic technology metric has been the absence of a strategic plan that places value and importance on technology integration. Many faculty considered technology innovators have done so on their own or with limited support from the college. Pockets of early adopters soon followed and some success was seen but widespread use of technology (non LMS) has never really flourished. There are many factors that contribute to this but perhaps the biggest obstacle has been the lack of a clear and concise message to campus that technology used to engage learners and enhance teaching and scholarship, is a priority. 



Pedagogy first, then technology.

In order to realize its benefits, we need to intentionally promote the intelligent use of technology as a way to explore new approaches to learning, teaching, and scholarship. We have a solid foundation in place which will help us move forward including curricular changes that make visible student learning outcomes, the expectations of our 'connected' students, and the ubiquitous nature of technology and the birth of Web 2.0. We are poised to use technology to create learning environments that challenge students to become actively engaged, independent, lifelong learners inside and outside of the classroom.

Alma Clayton-Pedersen states that "technology used in the service of learning will require more—not less—sophistication on the part of students as they engage in processes of integration, translation, audience analysis, and critical judgment. The learning outcomes of a 21st-century education will enable us to meet new challenges here and abroad, ranging from information "overload" to persistent inequality and pressing social issues. These challenges require educators who can think in interdisciplinary, multimedia ways to construct the 21st-century curriculum. Faculty with expertise in one or more subjects, who have been exposed to what we know about how people learn, can determine how to enhance this learning through the use of technology. But simply understanding how to use technology will not provide the integration needed to reach the desired learning outcomes".

When guided by pedagogical objectives we have an opportunity to support students and faculty with existing and emerging technology tools that "support knowledge creation, knowledge gathering, and knowledge sharing" inside and outside of institutional settings." <Natriello>. 


Desirable Outcomes:


  • Support intentional learners by helping them connect disparate information and draw on a wide range of knowledge to make decisions.
  • Find ways in which technology will be used to balance the "playing field" by developing and recognizing talent.
  • Support the 21st century student by championing innovation, creativity, and citizenship.



University of Southern California (2007).  Center for Excellence in Teaching.  Retrieved November 2007 from http://www.usc.edu/programs/cet/resources/learn/integrative.html

 Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) (2007). Chapter 2: Barriers to Readiness. Retrieved November 2007 from  http://www.greaterexpectations.org/

 Moore, A. (2007). “Active Learning and Technology: Designing Change for Faculty, Students, and Institutions” EDUCAUSE September/October 2007 . Retrieved November 2007 from http://connect.educause.edu/Library/EDUCAUSE+Review/ActiveLearningandTechnolo/44994

 Claton-Pedersen, A. , O’Neill, N (2005). “Educating the Net Generation”. Curricula Designed to Meet 21st Century Expectations. http://www.educause.edu/CurriculaDesignedtoMeet21st%2DCenturyExpectations/6065

 Gary Natriello, "Imagining, Seeking, Inventing: The Future of Learning and the Emerging Discovery Networks", Learning Inquiry, vol. 1 no. 1 (April 2007): 7-18



Foster Academic Community

The Goal:

 "To clearly and continuously communicate our mission and values in all that we undertake, and to foster a strong sense of community on campus in pursuit of academic excellence."


 While our LMS approach to education does build communities around classes and courses, we provide little outside the classroom in the way of net-enabled academic community. As a result, there is a strange disconnect between the academic life conducted in the "walled garden" of Blackboard, and the relative radio silence online outside the classroom.

Why is this? Stephen Downes explains:

 Probably the greatest misapplication of online community in online learning lies in the idea that a community is an adjunct to, or follows from, an online course. This is perhaps most clearly exemplified by the existence in itself of online class discussions. It is common to see the discussion community created with the first class and disbanded with the last. The community owes its existence to the course, and ends when the course does.

 There are a point worthy of note here. The first is that the online community created by the class is lost to the community at large. By allowing these discussions to expire with the class, the campus community is deprived of the energy these discussions could bring to the campus. Under a pure LMS implementation, students are encouraged to make connections to one another within the context of a class, but no effort is made to achieve academic community on a higher level than the class.

 But there's an even more pernicious effect. Even were we to build a campus-wide academic community that included all students and faculty and staff, but no one outside of the college, we would still not have a healthy online community. Net-enabled communities are strong because unlike walled gardens they allow a single identity to belong to multiple groups, and it is the multiplicity of weak membership ties that keep communities strong, vibrant, and engaged with new ideas and perspectives.

 In other words, there is no such thing as a healthy online community that does not allow some level of connection to non-members. Those connections might be weaker than internal connections, and they may be more selective, but they must be possible.

 Suggested Approach:

 We must make available options for public academic discourse, preferably allowing multiple levels of access. We need not force discussions out from behind classroom doors where professors feel it would not be fruitful, but for those willing to experiment with public engagement with ideas we must provide suitable spaces for campus-wide, community-engaged discourse.

 Desirable Outcomes:  

  • A highly engaged community existing at a higher level than the course or club.
  • A community which fosters some level of connection with the outside world.


Also see:

 Wegner's communities of practice: http://www.ewenger.com/theory/

Become Recognized for Academic Excellence

The Goal:

"To significantly enhance and become recognized for the quality of our academic programs and the academic achievements of our faculty and students."


The Challenge:

 Currently our approach to Academic Technology hides our light under a bushel. We allow the public to see things which are not core to who we are or what we do (e.g. the student disciplinary policy), but when it comes to the core endeavor of Keene State -- instructing students and enabling them to achieve their life goals -- there is little of that made visible to the world at large.

While this is a result of many factors across campus, academic technology has traditionally exacerbated the situation by putting our rich academic life into walled gardens such as Blackboard. Blackboard is a great tool for classroom management, but can also be a profoundly xenophobic technology, whereas Web 2.0 technologies are tools of engagement, inviting the world at large to view and engage with our academic life.



Suggested Approach:

 While classroom management tools remain important for institutional efficiency and student convenience, the new plan will go far beyond seeing Course Management Systems as the only elearning solution, and instead shift some focus onto the current tools used to engage the world at large: Blogs, Wikis, Social Media. We will use technology not only as a tool for course delivery, but as a tool of engagement with the broader world: academic, civic, social.

This approach dovetails nicely with the effort to Foster Academic Community, since the the development of a robust and visible online academic community is the key component to the academic technology component of reaching this goal.



Desirable Outcome: 

  • More recognition, from both media and colleagues at other institutions, for what we accomplish here.
  • A media "ecosystem" which provides a window into our academic life for our multiple audiences: alumni, local community, legislators, potential students, etc.
  • Potentially, the fostering of partnerships.



Invest In Faculty and Staff Leadership


 To invest in faculty and staff so they can provide leadership for the College's transformation.



 We train staff and faculty on technology but we often treat it as enforcement, rather than empowering them to lead. We need to encourage to innovate in their use of technology, rather than simply comply with set systems.

 Additionally, faculty that do take innovative approaches are often not rewarded by the current system. As the 2007 Educause Horizon report notes:

Academic review and faculty rewards are increasingly out of sync with new forms of scholarship. The trends toward digital expressions of scholarship and more interdisciplinary and collaborative work continue to move away from the standards of traditional peer-reviewed paper publication. New forms of peer review are emerging, but existing academic practices of specialization and long-honored notions of academic status are persistent barriers to the adoption of new approaches. Given the pace of change, the academy will grow more out of step with how scholarship is actually conducted until constraints imposed by traditional tenure and promotion processes are eased.

 We need to provide an environment where: 

  • Faculty and Staff have the support they need to lead on these issues, and
  • Faculty and Staff are rewarded for that leadership.



While ensuring base-level compliance with certain enterprise software is important, we also need to focus on empowering and assisting those faculty who are taking the leadership roles in innovative use of technology. We need to support a culture of experimentation and intelligent risk-taking.

 Part of this effort is encouraging faculty to use the free Web 2.0 solutions that are available and providing training in the use of them, so that they can roll their own solutions rather than be limited to what can provided centrally (e.g. by ITG).

 Where free solutions do not exist but low-cost third-party hosted solutions do, a small fund might be set up to provide micro-grants so that faculty might purchase those services if their project or application advances the goals stated in this document.

 Aligning rewards with participation in these new arenas is a more difficult matter, and beyond the scope of this document (and beyond the scope of the Academic Technology group in general). As we go forward, however, this element will be crucial: we leave it up to Academic Affairs, the Senate, and other parties to address this issue, but note here that such realignment is critical to the success of our endeavor.


Desirable Outcomes: 

  • Faculty and Staff leading technological innovation, in a way decentralized, but consistent with the goals of the institution
  • A system of rewards that correctly reflects the commitment of the College to innovation in Academic Technology


Note on Capacity building

Unless an institution’s faculty learn how to improve their ability to teach in a way that promotes greater student engagement and more significant learning, all other institutional changes will have limited impact on the true bottom line in higher education: higher quality student learning (Dee Fink)



Support Academic Achievements of Faculty and Students


To significantly enhance and become recognized for the quality of our academic programs and the academic achievements of our faculty and students.


Challenge :

Our challenge is immediate. With an anticipated decline in graduating high school seniors we are challenged with finding new methods for reaching and attracting students. Traditional marketing efforts have worked well in the past but are unable to showcase achievements that are not easily measured. GPA's, Dean's List, Honor Society membership, conference presentations, and other formally recognized awards are important accomplishments to be honored however we need to think hard about 1) the definition of achievement and recognize that students and faculty achieve in a variety of venues and 2) capitalize on new technologies to spotlight our success. Limiting our definition and our scope does a great disservice to our students, faculty, and our institution.

 "The public discourse suggests that the time has come to show – more transparently than ever before – that our approaches to teaching result in the kinds of learning we have identified as important for students today. Aligning our learning outcomes assessments with the multitude of creative technology-enabled faculty and student activities already under way is a significant step toward understanding the progress we have made in higher education to this point, and it might also provide useful pointers to progress in a new economy". <Moore>. Providing the outside world an opportunity to experience what authentic learning is (and what authentic teaching is) is the first step towards transparency.

 There is no loss for high quality material that represent the achievements of our students and faculty. Many of the achievements are familiar gems that we regularly showcase as evidence that we are educating intelligent, creative, critical thinkers. Unfortunately many of the greatest accomplishments aren't shared beyond the classroom walls. How then do we capture and share with the world the great intellectual work of our students and faculty?




The rapid growth of user friendly technology specifically the birth of social networking applications have transformed how we interact with and understand information. Stephen Downes points out that the participatory nature of the web has shifted from being a medium in which information was transmitted and consumed, into being a platform, in which content is created, shared, remixed, repurposed, and passed along. We are no longer tied to traditional avenues of information-getting but instead have we've shifted, as John Seely Brown states, "from an intellectual economy of push to one of pull".

 What does this mean for us? Simply put it means that we embrace social networking technologies to become authors of our own story. By using it creatively and thoughtfully we, every student and every faculty, can produce and make available to the world, content that highlights their own academic achievements. It means that we publicly recognize innovation even if "innovation" stretches our imagination and forces us think outside of what we know. It means that we encourage students to chronicle their own learning and that we publicly recognize and celebrate their achievements.

 Desirable Outcomes:

  • Broaden our definition of achievement
  • Recognize that technology nurtures creativity and supports knowledge building
  • Recognize that transparency and openness are key to promoting our academic achievements




Moore, H. A. (2007). The New Economy, Technology, and Learning Outcomes Assessment. Retrieved November 2007 from  http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eqm0730.pdf


 Hagel, J. and Seely Brown, J. (2005). From Push to Pull-Emerging Models for Mobilizing Resources. Retrieved November 2007 from http://www.johnhagel.com/paper_pushpull.pdf


Civic Engagement


 To actively engage our students in a learning process that is grounded in service, citizenship, and ethical awareness.


Opportunities integration of civic engagement in coursework has often been limited. Service opportunities, for example, may not exist in the local community for a given discipline, may have too much management overhead, and are often limited by the risk of applying undergraduates to problems where the cost of failure was high.

 Additionally, in an increasingly global economy, citizenship must be seen in global terms, and by increasing opportunities for communication with diverse views and backgrounds.


 Use of the web as a tool of engagement. Students can help communities that are distant as well as those that are close, and the nature of web-mediated work is that much of it can be attempted in an environment where the cost of startup is low and the cost of failure very contained.

 By incorporating net-enabled projects into our service-learning options, and supporting them, we hope to offer students more opportunities to engage in meaningful civic engagement in their area if study.

 Desirable Outcomes:

  • We create more opportunities for civic engagement by broadening scope beyond local community as well as seeking out local opportunities for net-enabled solutions.
  • Students engage with communities larger and more diverse than our campus can provide.
  • We service options to our students where the cost of failure is lower than traditional options.



Further, studies indicate that student reflection is a predictor of openness to new ideas, ability to see issues in a new way, “increased commitment to use of public policy to achieve social justice, and a more systemic locus of problem causes and solutions" (Eyler & Giles). While laudable goals they are not without challenges. In addition, technology can support open student reflection on their experience and how their understanding of civic engagement has changed.

Eyler, J., & Giles, D. E., Jr. (1999). Where's the learning in service-learning? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.




Enhance Academic Programs


 To significantly enhance and become recognized for the quality of our academic programs and the academic achievements of our faculty and students.



From Digital natives and immigrants: A concept beyond its best before date

 The school system is in need of overhaul, but as mentioned above, the overhaul is needed because society has changed, not because learners have iPods. Secondly, the discussion of immigrants and natives overlooks the fact that the younger generation often understands technology at a utilitarian level (i.e. how to use a piece of software for its intended purpose, but not much beyond that). Depth of understanding, social implications, trends, and other more advanced concepts are often not present.


Suggested Approach:

Most of what is described in Current Trends applies here. We need to use technology to build programs which reflect the modes of work and study of the world into which our students graduate. We need to encourage entrepreneurship, and allow students to build their own learning environments. We need to help faculty, students, and staff to use the new tools and techniques of the social web to advance their academic goals. We need to help students reflect on their use of technology to achieve those ends.

 Desirable Outcomes: 

  • Students better prepared for the world of work and further study



Affordability and Accessibility


To provide high-quality academic programs that are affordable and accessible to a wide range of learners.


Higher education is challenged with keeping the rising cost of a college education affordable and accessible. We are further confronted with maintaining our current set of academic technology applications while remaining nimble enough to address the varying needs of 21st century students.

 We need to begin to think laterally and begin to look at alternative academic technology solutions that are low cost, low barrier with enough flexibility to meet the learning outcomes of our academic programs. 




The next generation of web applications has grown from a collection of flat sites powered by search engines to become the center of a new digital lifestyle. Today's web is a shared network space that drives education, work, research, and social life. These familiar low threshold technologies factor into the educational equation by making accessible the tools that will help students engage in their own learning.



Desirable Outcomes 

  • Students will use have access to a choice of low cost, low barrier technology to help them engage with their learning




Just as with any complex endeavor, there are multiple facets that comprise Academic Technology. These include:


  • Academic Technology: An umbrella term encompassing technology integration into the endeavors of Academic Affairs. 
  • Educational Technology: Support of the pedagogically effective use of technology for teaching, learning and scholarship. 
  • Instructional Technology: Support for the development of faculty, staff and students in the effective use of technology for teaching, learning and scholarship. 
  • Technology Infrastructure Directions in support of Instructional Technology: Identification of priorities for Academic Technology and the vision of what kinds of flexible infrastructure would be ideal for accomplishing this. 
  • Enterprise Information Systems in support of Academic Technology: Although outside of the scope of this ATSP, these are the uses of technology that are the backbone of functions that allow smooth operations in Academic Affairs, and include, but are not limited to: student information systems, registration, integrated library system, adaptive technologies, portals, email, and web services. 



Vision for Academic Affairs’ Academic Technology 

1) Technology is centered on the three concepts of excellence in teaching, learning and scholarship.

2) Acknowledging that the technology landscape is one of shifting sands, but that selecting and implementing technology in one direction does not preclude future change. To this end, technology in Academic Affairs is viewed as constructivist learning and therefore will provide opportunities to choose tools within the landscape to foster diversity of educational approaches on our campus and in our curricula.

3) To engage while guiding, Academic Affairs will create “spaces” for safe, protected, rigorous, uses of technology in support of academic excellence, but with a place to experiment with emergent technologies and test out uses.

4) Integrated information literacy and technological competencies are requirements of life in society and therefore are part of the educational process and core values at Keene State College of creating citizens who are able to provide service to the community and civic engagement that support active learning and the common good.



Conclusions and Next Steps


Inviting the world to view and contribute to the development of this draft has resulted in a vibrant and energized process for creation of a dynamic draft, while modeling the kind of interactive learning practices desired in our vision for the Academic Technology Strategic Plan.  There were no additional funds expended to incorporate a new methodology in the creation of this plan, just the charge from the Provost to look forward.  Sometimes it is through the invitation and the joining together of parties from not only Academic Affairs, but also drafting talent from Information Technology and College Relations that allow a new paradigm to emerge, reflecting past best practices, current ideas, but most importantly looking forward.   Sincere appreciation is expressed toward the President, Provost, CIO, and Director of College Relations for having the vision to create the Academic Technology leadership team. 


Next Steps: 

Although the world has been invited to review, contribute and comment on this document during this drafting phase, it will be reviewed by the Academic Affairs Council in early November.  Officially it next moves to the Academic Technology Steering Committee (ATSC).  As a policy, it is within their charge to review, revise and bring the Academic Technology Strategic Plan forward to the campus.  This may be done by continuing to invite participation in the wiki, campus forums, department and/or school meetings or other venues as they deem appropriate.  After this vetting, ATSC will move the next version of the Academic Technology Strategic Plan forward for consideration by the College Information Technology Committee (CITC).  Upon their support, the plan finally moves to the Principal Administrators for adoption.



How the Plan will be Used: 

This plan will be the building block upon which all academic technology issues and initiatives should stand.  Campus planning proposals, requests to CITC for funding, and curricular development initiatives involving academic technology should specifically reference the Academic Technology Strategic Plan and relate how their initiative supports and/or furthers this vision. 

Comments (1)

Anonymous said

at 4:03 pm on Jan 25, 2008

I like the idea of moving from a focus on technology use for learning to technology for personal expansion. It goes along with what I see in my life: I need to be able to respond to my students 24 hours a day by e-mail, I need to continually learn to use new resources like you-tube. I want to put in a plug here for making the IT office more friendly to smartphones, as I have found this technology is critical to keeping track of everything, and having access to student e-mails at all times. I also like the support the vision shows for using dynamic models in the classroom--I feel this is where economics teaching needs to go. However, I can't find any support for the learning I would need to go through to be able to do that, or for a funding process for me to be able to request a site license for a particular software. Sort of a continuous learning upgrade as new technology becomes available, with feedback from users to IT as to what technology is essential--that process is what I can't seem to figure out.

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