Levin addresses emerging topics of academic tech in UC Davis blog

E-textbooks. Hybrid and online courses. Using learner analytics to assess experiments involving academic technology. The future of SmartSite.

These are a few of the areas that David Levin has begun to discuss, and address, as director of Academic Technology Services for Information and Educational Technology (IET-ATS). Over the next several weeks, The Wheel instructional technology blog will present some of his thoughts and suggestions on these subjects in a series of short posts.

Levin came to UC Davis in April 2012 after terms as director of academic technology for California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and California State University, Northridge, and as director of distance learning at DePaul University. Earlier, he was a philosophy professor at University of Wisconsin-Parkside for 15 years.

Levin did not begin as a technologist, but as his career advanced he saw its potential to support higher education and research. "Technology, especially modern Internet-based technology, seems to have so many possibilities," he said, and the possibilities drew him in.

Samples from the posts:

  • "Online learning is an area of growth, and most institutions are beginning to look at what the future is for them. I think we need to do that, and with our eyes open."
  • "As we build our tools to help faculty, we also want to build up what I call 'learner analytics.' As we develop our online courses, introduce a new technology, or make changes to SmartSite, what data can we collect to see the effect in teaching and learning?"
  • "I always say, with any of these ideas: Don't start something without starting an experiment. There are many good reasons to experiment. We don't want to make changes that don't have success."
  • "We have to be very cognizant--as we think how to move to an e-textbook world, and why it's going slowly--that we are very, very concerned that our students succeed in their learnin g. The move to an e-text world is a cultural shift, and we have to design things so they will lead to student success."

The Wheel is produced by Andy Jones, academic associate director of IET-ATS and continuing lecturer in the University Writing Program. (A complete copy of the interview with Levin is also available.) Read posts or subscribe at wheel.ucdavis.edu.