by Barbara Black
Professors in the humanities have taken up educational technology much
faster than those in engineering, and when Gosha Zywno first tried to
tell her colleagues so, she was stumped by their cold, even hostile,
Not much has changed, said the professor from Ryerson Polytechnic University,
who gave a teaching workshop last week on hypermedia-assisted instruction
to members of Concordias Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science.
As well as being an expert and researcher on educational technology, she
herself is a professor of electrical and computer engineering.
For most students, she said, its still a case of the Sage
on the Stage instead of the Guide by their Side. Faculty
see themselves as content experts, not educators. Almost invariably, they
have no educational knowledge and no training in educational design
and in her experience, not much interest in it, either.
Zywno is blunt about the need to bring her colleagues up to speed, because
she feels that time is pressing. The same handful of intrepid engineering
professors turn out for seminars on technology-assisted teaching at institutions
around the world, while most of their colleagues stay away.
One remedy, she said, might be to make expertise in teaching a condition
of new hires, though this might be unfair to the candidates.
Another would be to make courses in educational theory a condition of
graduation for graduate students, who will form the next generation of
professors, and should be competing for jobs as teaching assistants.
Zywno, who is working on a PhD in the field, presented some of the results
of her current research into the relationship between hypermedia instruction,
learning styles and learning outcomes to an attentive audience of about
20 Concordia faculty members. She also demonstrated some of the hypermedia
components she uses and the WebCT site she has developed to support her
course at Ryerson.
This was the first in a series of workshops by outside experts organized
by Concordias Centre for Teaching and Learning Services. The next
ones are called Grading and Giving Feedback that Improves Student
Learning, on March 6, and Strategies for Teaching and Assessing
Linguistically-Diverse Learners, on March 7. See the Back
Page for more information.