Monthly Archives: December 2006

eSchool News online – Villanova heads most-wired college list

eSchool News online – Villanova heads most-wired college list

Villanova University is higher education’s high-tech hotspot, claiming the No. 1 ranking in a new list of “Top 20 Wired Colleges.” The school, in suburban Philadelphia, tops the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Indiana University in the rankings, a joint project of PC Magazine and The Princeton Review, a college advising and test-prep company. …

At Villanova, first-year students are given laptops–and replacements after their sophomore year. Nursing students get personal digital assistants, and engineers get tablet PCs. Over the internet, students can register for classes, download lectures, take exams, and get grades….No. 2 MIT boasts its own operating system and open courseware available via the web to educators and students around the world. On Dec. 13, the school also debuted a new private software system that allows users to locate friends on campus. MIT’s iFIND project turns laptops into something akin to a GPS unit that can spot users down to the room they are sitting in, then allows users to share their location with friends, all without uploading personal information onto a centralized network.

Ok, maybe it might take awhile for Western to break into this vanguard of the technetariat, but why couldn’t we become the most wired department on campus? No reason at all. We talk about engaging our students, let’s engage our faculty first.

Image Manipulation

Here is an image of an earlier and grander prequel to today’s Guthrie Bell Tower.

Guthrie Bell Tower--the Prequel

Would you like to know how I found the image and how I “stole” the image and how I put the image on a server so that it would always be here? I can show you and the technology committee is committed (well, of course we are) to helping anyone do this. If you are willing to share information like this, let us know. We want to know who our “expert” users are and we want to know how you are using technology in your academic life. Remember: a good tool isn’t always digital.

Stanford Magazine> Fiction Contest

Stanford Magazine> Fiction Contest
OUR TENTH ANNUAL CONTEST is open to alumni of Stanford undergraduate, graduate and fellowship programs. Submit double-spaced, typed, unpublished manuscripts of 2,500 words or fewer. Include a cover sheet with name, address, phone number and story title. The first-place winner will receive $750, and the story will be published next spring.

So why aren’t we beating down the doors to Western’s Alumni Magazine, Spirit, and getting them to sponsor a fiction contest/prize once a year? I don’t know and it sure doesn’t cost to ask. I didn’t think of it until I listened to Stanford’s amazing iTunes University. I was downloading a podcast on Sex, Lies and the Theater: Shakespeare for Today 54:50 Ronald Rebholtz

If you go there (and its free and deep), you will need to download iTunes. As a bonus, here is an image that I found fascinating from the last alumni magazine, the original conception for the Guthrie Clock Tower

Tech Knowledge-English

It is appropriate that the first post on our new departmental weblog should be a rationale for using technology as we teach. We are not pollyannish in our view of technology. It can have a dark or, even worse, a useless side. On the other hand Luddites are welcome here though unlikely to show up. If anything, this website recognizes the obnoxious realpolitik of technology: it is a done deal and resistance is futile. That doesn’t mean we adopt tech willynilly. Shouldn’t technology augment what works well for us? If it doesn’t make our teaching life better, then it’s is irrelevant, isn’t it? Yes and yes.

This weblog seeks to broaden your definition of technology so that, like Monsieur Jourdain ,you realize that you have been “speaking” it all your life. What will we write about here?

Would a good chair at work be a technology worth writing about? Yes and our posteriors would be ever grateful to us for that tech knowledge. Would magnetic paper for creating a business card for your students to put on their refrigerator be a worthwhile topic? Maybe, but if that one is too socially intimate, then how about taking a cellphone picture (or even better have students take pictures) of your whiteboard /blackboard after a particularly inspired class then share it. How about a cool writing desk at Levenger’s? Never been to Levenger’s? Please. Go there. A student needs to find an expert quickly? You don’t have the time to help? Send them to Ask Metafilter.

Of course we will address a gamut of digital technologies from free software for your usb drive to the mysterious new world you hear geeks refer to as Web 2.0. Then again maybe all you’re interested in is how use Word more effectively or how to create a marginally more interesting and useful syllabus. So be it. We will write about that as well.

More importantly, this site welcomes you to join in the debate, to become a part of the lively conversation that we hear among our students in Cherry Hall’s corridors that we aren’t always privy to. You can register below with your Western ID and become a working member of the tribe that seeks to enrich his or her teaching, scholarship, and personal learning. Or you can bookmark or subscribe to its feed and follow the never ending tech story that unfolds.

OK, you can swing the champagne bottle now.