Getting the latest instructional technology in the hands of UC San Diego faculty is a top priority for Academic Computing & Media Service (ACMS). To help make that a reality, the Instructional Technology Services team is dedicated to doing just that. One of the newest members of the team is Joan Holmquist, Instructional Technology Specialist. Joan helps faculty use services like Ted, Turnitin, and iClickers.
According to Joan, most faculty are now using some sort of instructional technology in their courses. Ted (UC San Diego’s learning management system) is one of the most commonly used tools. Joan says that interest in Ted “has grown steadily over the last couple years that we’ve been using it and it continues to grow every term.” She noted that not only are more students using Ted, but faculty are using Ted’s online discussion board feature more in their courses. Online interactions, like those that happen through Ted, were recently shown to boost student performance in a study done by a UC San Diego professor. Student enthusiasm for Ted is so high that they are even requesting that faculty use it. In the Winter 2013 term more than 700 courses used Ted and a similar number used it in Fall 2012.
One of the things that Joan enjoys most about her job is showing faculty how Ted makes it easier to manage their courses. “If you use Ted, you can save yourself from getting 300 emails from your class and [the emails] can all go to Ted,” Joan said when describing the features of Ted, “You can have your students turn in their assignments electronically so they’re all in one place and they’re not emailing you at all hours of the day. You can confirm when assignments get turned in. There’s a set time, you can really look at it, it’s very clear, and you can do your grades right there.” Joan finds that faculty are enthusiastic about using Ted in their courses once she explains the benefits.
Joan and her colleagues in Instructional Technology Services have recently finished working on a pilot of Blackboard Collaborate, a web-conferencing program integrated with Ted. This application allows faculty to do things like hold virtual office hours (think Skype or FaceTime—but better). With the pilot completed, implementing Collaborate on a wider scale is the next step in the process, but there are other exciting developments in the works as well. “There’s so much going on in education and educational technology,” Joan said, “whether it’s flipping the classroom or looking at how tools can enhance teaching.” Joan stressed that the goal of introducing educational technology is to improve the learning experience for students.
When she is not keeping UC San Diego on top of the latest and greatest new technologies, Joan can sometimes be found reading mystery novels, taking pictures of her dogs doing silly things, and or searching for new spicy foods to try.
The next time you log in to Ted, remember Joan and Instructional Technology Support Services at ACMS, and everything that they do to make sure that UC San Diego continues to provide faculty with the instructional technology that they need to create an outstanding student experience. Thanks Joan!
ACMS Aces is a series of articles that highlights the dedicated employees of Academic Computing & Media Services at UC San Diego. Keep checking back to find out more about the people behind the magic at ACMS!