Technology as a Liberal Art

I recently came across this excellent article by Laura Blankenship published in Inside Higher Education. The article starts as a defense of technology in the liberal arts, but goes far beyond that to make another case for University 2.0. As an instructional technologist at Bryn Mawr College, Laura is in an excellent position to speak on this.

Here is just one of several interesting example she provides:

No matter how much instruction is offered on the Web, the core of these schools is the classroom experience. Technology can do a lot to enhance that experience [emphasis added]. At Bryn Mawr, Michelle Francl, a professor of chemistry, is recording all of her lectures for her physical chemistry course. She’s capturing her computer screen and her voice, saving the video and the audio file, and posting them to her blog. For now, these recorded lectures, or screencasts and podcasts, serve primarily as review for the students. In the future, however, she plans to assign these recorded lectures much as she would assign a text and use class time for something more engaging than a lecture.

Laura also makes a compelling case for blogging as a tool for teaching the liberal arts. Perhaps most importantly, she addresses several questions of interest to many faculty:

Aren’t we losing control if the students are creating the content? If all the content is online, what need is there for books? What need is there for a teacher then?

Her answers, which I won’t reveal here, are encouraging. Welcome to University 2.0.

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