Curriculum and Technology Breakout


At the 1998 Fall Plenary Session breakout on Curriculum and Technology participants were updated on aspects of using technology as a tool for communication and for delivering community college courses. Issues and concerns such as effective curriculum planning, pedagogy, and instructor contact with students were discussed by presenters Roberta Baber of Fresno City College, Ken Guttman of Citrus College, and Ric Matthews of San Diego Miramar College, who shared information on how they use technology in communication and delivery of curriculum.

For colleges lacking available classroom space because their rooms are scheduled at 100% of capacity at popular hours, Ken Guttman explained how pairing courses and sharing a classroom at a specific meeting time effectively doubles a college's ability to offer more sections of high demand courses. For example, Ken explained that an Introductory Psychology class could be paired with an Introductory Sociology class. Both would be scheduled at 9:30-11:00 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but Psychology would meet on the even-numbered weeks, and Sociology would meet on the odd-numbered weeks. The weeks when Psychology does not meet would involve student assignments in Psychology using the Internet, online assignments, chat rooms, research work, and field trips. Ken pointed out that an alternate strategy for the doubling of classroom capacity would be to have Psychology meet on Tuesdays, while Sociology met on Thursdays. Not only did Ken maintain "regular, effective student contact," he also was able to maximize classroom utilization.

Ric Matthews shared his experience teaching Genetics using a remote classroom site paired with an onsite, live presentation classroom. The advantage of this pairing process is to gather sufficient enrollment between the two colleges to allow the course to run. If you have two small enrollment classes at two different colleges, why not pair the two smaller enrollment classes together, connect them using technology, and operate a specialized course? Ric alternated between the two colleges each week as the "live presenter," so that each college experienced the presentation via distance technology in alternate weeks. He set up the "smart-camera" so that it would follow him as he moved through the classroom. Ric was able to maintain eye contact with both classrooms, answer questions, dialogue with students and present materials in the same way as in a traditional classroom. In short, he practiced regular, effective student contact while teaching using distance technology. Roberta Baber explained the @ONE Project and how faculty and groups can post information about their events, conferences, workshops and meetings. The process involves accessing the @ONE web page and requesting that the information be posted. There are ten "mayors" who help to decide on posting and who determine policy on posting of content on their part of the @ONE web site.