Fairfield University conference explores use of technology in the classroom

Media Advisory

'Point and click' replaces blackboard drills:

Fairfield University will host cutting-edge talks on how technology can be used to enhance teaching and learning during a two-day conference, Tuesday, June 11 through Thursday, June 13. The conference - part of Fairfield's continued quest to integrate technology into its own classrooms - opens the discussion to college-level instructors from across the state and around the country, in disciplines ranging from English to chemistry to communications.

"What Works and What Doesn't: Technology, Pedagogy & Course Redesign II" will feature a mixed format of formal presentations, panel discussions and hands-on workshops. Keynote addresses will be delivered by Dr. Kathy Christoph, director of academic technology solutions at the University of Wisconsin at Madison; and Dr. Helen Scott, associate dean of the college at Grinnell College in Iowa.

Topics include: the use of wireless laptops in the calculus classroom; how to encourage technologically-challenged colleagues; and how to balance "point and click" technology with chalk and blackboard drills. On June 12, Fairfield English professor David Sapp will give a talk on "Holding Office Hours in a Virtual Chat Environment."

"What Works and What Doesn't" is a follow-up to a conference held last year on retooling large, introductory courses via technology. A broad exchange of ideas is welcomed this year, but the emphasis will be on results. Is technology helping students to learn better? Which programs work and which do not? How can we expand the use of technology to other parts of the curriculum? The seminar is sponsored by The Humanities Center at Fairfield University and organized by Dr. Laurence Miners, professor of economics.

Fairfield faculty have a history of fusing technology and academics; in the early 1980s, professors set up Latin tutorials on a mainframe computer. Among the school's latest initiatives is Mathonline, a system that randomly generates and sends multiple-choice questions to students enrolled in introductory mathematics courses. When combined with peer tutoring, the online quizzes help students master basic skills-and free up classroom time for higher-level concepts. Mathematics professors Laura McSweeney and Joan Weiss reveal just how effective the program is during their June 12 talk, "Math Online: The Lessons Learned."

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on June 13, 2002

Vol. 34, No. 250

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