CTLT Dialogues

The Blog of the Center for Teaching & Learning with Technology

The Center for Teaching and Learning With Technology

Posted by Cathy Kelley on May 11, 2007

Most of you know by now that the Office of Educational Technology no longer exists. We changed our name and the overall structure of our office effective January 2, 2007. During the past few months, many people have asked me or others on the staff about why we felt the need to change our name. One faculty member still insists on calling us TOFKAET, or “The office formerly known as Ed Tech.”

The restructuring was undertaken to accomplish several goals. First, we wanted to clarify the most important part of our mission, which is to encourage good teaching through the use of technology. This is a point that has often been obscure to the community.

Many have seen us as “the distance learning office.” This is inaccurate, as distance learning is a very small part of our business. The Adult Learner Center in Petrocelli College incorporates the former Office of Online Learning, for whom this description is far more accurate.

Others have seen us as “the Blackboard office,” and have understood our mission to be primarily about administration and support of the Blackboard course management system. While it is certainly true that our business includes these roles, again, it is only a piece of our overall mission.

Some have seen us as an extension of or alternative to the Help Desk. In fact, when we get calls for basic technical assistance, we have no choice but to forward them to the University Technical Assistance Center as we simply aren’t equipped to handle most Help requests. For example, we have no responsibility for or special access to the campus e-mail system, Datatel, library systems, or indeed any other systems on campus other than Blackboard. This confusion about our role has been frustrating to many faculty members, and we wanted to make sure that people went to the right place for the right kind of work.

In fact, our work has always encompassed two major areas. These are the thoughtful integration of technology into the teaching and learning process, and the support of hardware and systems specifically designed or purchased for teaching. In order to make these two areas clearer to the community, and to make more efficient use of our staff, we created two new offices.

The Teaching and Learning Center, headed by Sandra Selick, handles all activities related to the improvement of teaching and learning. TLC runs the Instructional Design studio on the Metropolitan Campus, and also hosts many faculty development events throughout the year. Most of these events are not strictly “about” technology; they are instead about quality teaching.

The Office of Academic Technologies, headed by Manish Wadhwa, is in charge of all hardware and systems designed to improve the teaching and learning process. The OAT works very closely with the Office of Information Resources and Technology on many of these projects, but also works very closely with the Teaching and Learning Center.

Yet we still operate as a close, single team. In that sense, there has been no change in our operation. And of course you can still expect the very high level of service that we always strive to provide. We think that the name change and re-structuring makes us an even better, more effective organization, and we hope that you agree.

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