Technology will never replace faculty, President Bateman says

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    By EMILY SMURTHWAITE

    New online courses, a digital library and technology training for faculty are in BYU’s future, said President Merrill J. Bateman on Thursday to over 300 faculty members.

    President Bateman reported on BYU’s past and future technology projects at the Instructional Technology Conference. President Bateman, who was the keynote speaker, spoke about the purpose of instructional technology and gave a presentation that highlighted technological applications by faculty on campus.

    There are two problems faculty at every university in this country face, he said. First, building and integrating instructional technology into the classroom and second, general technology support.

    The conference focused on these problems and offered ten workshops to help faculty solve them.

    President Bateman spoke about a few of the projects under construction. Next semester, two classes, Statistics 221 and Physical Science 100, will be available as pilot on-line courses, he said.

    “We need to understand as we move forward, technology will never replace the faculty,” President Bateman said.

    The on-line course developers are trying to reach thousands of people off campus.

    “Our first objective is to take care of the students on campus,” President Bateman said.

    He announced a new digital library is being developed. President Bateman said it’s silly not to capture all the virtual objects available and put them in a library. He said a virtual chemistry lab has been built where students can perform chemical experiments. Students can choose what chemicals are needed, how much are needed and can virtually use chemistry equipment.

    President Bateman said there will be an increased availability of course information which will enable faculty to organize and present web resources for their classes including documents, quizzes, surveys, grades and discussions.

    He announced Adobe Pagemill and Photoshop will be a available free for faculty and staff. Training will also be available for those programs.

    In addition, President Bateman said a new 800 square foot room in the library will open next semester. It will be a place where faculty can receive assistance and training in creating electronic materials for classes.

    President Bateman said further details will follow on all of these issues.

    His address also included a presentation about the technological accomplishments of BYU faculty.

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