IET-Mediaworks and the Teaching Resources Center (TRC) recently announced they are teaming up to analyze faculty technology needs and to provide new student-focused, software solutions to address these needs. "This partnership, along with the new communication channels it opens up," explains Dave Shelby, Assistant Vice Provost for Information and Educational Technology (IET), "will help us identify additional tools to meet the needs of faculty and their students."
The TRC's campus commitment is to enhancing pedagogy and pedagogical ideas related to teaching. Doing so involves developing writing skills, training teaching assistants, and supporting the creation of new courses through the University Undergraduate Instructional Improvement Program (UIIP).
TRC + Mediaworks = Upgraded Course Management Tools
To kick off the TRC/IET-Mediaworks partnership, Mediaworks Faculty Liaison, Andy Jones, and Kirk Alexander, Manager of Educational Technology at Mediaworks, held an open meeting on October 14, at which they unveiled the initial plans for two new campus technology upgrades: an advanced version of MyUCDavis and a new collaboration software program entitled Macromedia Breeze. "MyUCDavis was built many years ago and because it's used so extensively, the system is becoming increasingly difficult to support, extend, and scale," explains Alexander, who will oversee the transition to the new MyUCDavis. "The new system will address key collaborative needs and learning requirements, and it will enable significant innovation of new tools."
The improved MyUCDavis will be powered by open source course management software developed cooperatively by over 82 institutions, including UC Davis. With universities across the country developing and sharing course management tools and features, faculty can expect a variety of useful options at their disposal. Lesson builders, quiz and test designers, student portfolios, discussion boards, chat rooms, online assignment submissions, file-sharing, and integrated Web content are just a few of the tools in the works.
MyUCDavis Pilot Project
A MyUCDavis "preview" pilot is expected to launch in Winter 2006 and the switch-over from the current to the newer version is expected to begin Fall 2006, with the transition lasting about one year. To ensure a smooth conversion, the Faculty Mentoring Faculty Program, headed by Andy Jones, will assist trained faculty in providing support and instruction to their colleagues. "I'm looking forward to mentoring many faculty," explains Jones, "and, through the Faculty Mentoring Faculty Program, we expect a snowball effect that will provide everyone with the support they need."
Breezeware: Sending PowerPoint through the Internet
A new tool already available through Mediaworks is Macromedia Breeze, a software program that allows faculty to stream PowerPoint presentations over the Internet. Such presentations, complete with audio and video content, are viewable by all students, even those who do not have PowerPoint installed on their computers. Breeze includes various interactive features that allow for live online office hours, discussion with remote groups, live collaboration between students, and more. A UC Davis team is working with Macromedia in an effort to merge Breeze with MyUCDavis, permitting seamless integration of presentations with the new MyUCDavis course management tools.
Care to Get Involved? Want to Learn More?
If you were unable to attend the first Mediaworks/TRC meeting, you can still get involved. To volunteer or identify faculty for the new MyUCDavis pilot, or to try out Macromedia Breeze, contact Kirk Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about how you can support your colleagues, join the Faculty Mentoring Faculty Program, by contacting A ndy Jones at email@example.com.