Technological literacy of students and junior faculty

"This generation of grad students are more insistent on being iterative in their work. This isn't just a software development methodology, but occurs in graduate student research behaviors. Tolerance for smaller failures, recognition that progress isn't linear." (Ex 6a, 1b-B)

"Research is important, people are hired on the premise that they will do a lot of research, they arrive professionalized. Mostly traditional. Self-selected for accepted and routinized methodologies. Undergraduates use technology in a transparent, conventional manner. Everything non-standard is terra incognita. But wikis and blogs for examples are fringe. So for example, didn't know how wikis work, and so didn't know how to engage with it." (Ex 6a, 1b-C)

"Practices for new hires. Already know video editing, digitizing. Already solves problems in these areas. AV presentations (powerpoint, keynote). Phenomenal amount of background training. Broad questions. Connected with "cyberspace" / electronic world. In art history, it's extremely common for students to use new approaches. Student developed podcast-like installation in which you move through a city receiving poetry, music. Scholar was blown away. When delivered, all the artists said it was "derivative". [laughter] -- meaning there's no artistry in the composition." (Ex 6a, 1c-A)

"Surprised to find that most students, younger hires have little experience in blogging and such. Know mobile phones (handy) better than the internet" (Ex 6a, 1c-B)

"Increased digital literacy? We are seeing a significant change in the aggregate when we interview students for media literacy. This varies by campus and the communities they draw from." (Ex 6a, 1d-A)

"Harder for [students/junior faculty] to get involved in digital projects even though they know more than senior faculty. Why not? Their projects need to be too broad - no support for small, focused projects." (Ex 6a, 1d-A)

"incoming graduate students have a high level of tech literacy, but limited understanding of how that can be used for research" (Ex 6a, 1d-B)

"In music, what do incoming students bring in? - nothing. Because of the kind of undergraduate training they get. They have a superficial fluency, but not a deeper curiosity about they way things work. Occasionally, some do. But computer music programs can attract people with very deep and specific skills. But it varies greatly between areas." (Ex 6a, 1d-C)

"For new hires, colleagues are not looking for technology skills" (Ex 6a, 1d-C)

"For grad students - Nothing. It's shocking what they don't know. I have to introduce them to the new technologies. It may because many of our grad students are coming from Europe. I don't find that their information seeking skills are very good" (Ex 6a, 1d-C)

"undergrads and grads may be very good at SMS, facebook, but don't know databases. that's not where their tech experience comes from. we assume that because they're raised with computers that they have those skills, but their skills are social." (Ex 6a, 1d-E)

"New guys have been heavily mentored, taught to refuse service assignments, know all the lawsuits. Incentive to take risks in investing in learning technology is low. Get tenure first then invest." (Ex 6a, 1d-F)

"In general, grad students don't come in w/ depth of knowledge related to technology. Flexible and agile with guidance. 12 grads got hooked - Wiki, Twitter. Not showing up with more experience but take to it." (Ex 6a, 1d-F)

"intersection of science and rhetoric; didn't know much about computing but became interested in text and code. Became fascinated by the idea of text encoding and markup. She's not remarkable. There is some network of support indirectly, but not officially approved." (Ex 6a, 1d-F)

"younger generation has a different view of intellectual property, particularly undergraduates. What do we want to do about intellectual property? Do we need to enforce the rules?" (Ex 6a, 1d-G)

"generation gap isn't really true, "luddites in the pipeline" or familiarity with computers is not the same thing as computer literacy -- beware the "mouse kiddies"" (Ex 6a, 1d-G)

"undergrads more amenable than graduate students, history graduate students aren't reward for thinking digitally but the younger the student the more willing they are to learn -- generation gap will only" (Ex 6a, 1d-G)

"under 30s, understand problems really quickly and start working on them, older generations have more baggage or just don't understand them (ex. persistence, sustainability of web presence)" (Ex 6a, 1d-G)

"New Art historians are using GIS. Willing to design web courses. Blogging discussion lists. Rudimentary HTML. The perverse individuality of humanities scholars may hinder such technological adaptation. There may be a generational attitude towards not accepting digital works as scholarship. Why are people in the Humanities so suspicious of Digital?" (Ex 6b, 1b-C)

"Younger researchers are nimble at moving between technologies, drawing valuable content out of each one and wanting to put them together in a new way" (Ex 6b, 1d-C)

"Students in this entry-level class used a high-end video-editing tool, FinalCut Pro, to complete the assignment. There was some discussion in class about why the faculty member had students using FinalCut Pro rather than an easier-to-use tool. The professor explained that part of the goal of the assignment was for the class to "move beyond iMovie," an easier-to-use contemporary video-editing tool, and get a sense of more advanced tools in the field. The professor and an academic support professional made sure that training specific to the videoediting assignment was available to the class. Students already experienced with FinalCut Pro were encouraged to assist their peers as well. tudents had one class session's worth of training during which they learned about working with cameras and FinalCut Pro. This session was led by a full-time, permanent staff member and an educational associate. Given that 25 students were enrolled in this course, students worked in shifts on their assignments in order to ensure access to the cameras and other equipment necessary for the assignment." (SN-0036 Film Short Creation, Andrea Nixon)

"In terms of support for faculty members, the professor suggested that it is important to provide efficient opportunities for faculty members to learn to use technologies. Learning about technologies is not sufficient; it is also important to prompt faculty members to consider working with academic support professionals while assignments are still in their formative stages. Finally, the professor noted that it is important for people who provide the technical infrastructure to realize that once an assignment is developed, it is likely to change. 1) Provide opportunities for faculty members to learn relevant technologies . 2) Advertise the sources of support and remind faculty of the importance of seeking help while creating or fine-tuning assignments. 3) Recognize that the process of creating assignments is a fluid one. 4) Make technology seamless. 5) Provide equipment collections sufficient to support larger classes. 6) Share the support burden between faculty and
academic support staff. 7) Provide support for student work that facilitates departmental efforts to recruit majors. n terms of technology, the professor noted the importance of making the technologies as transparent as possible. This helps students communicate ideas visually as "fluidly" as they are accustomed to doing with the written word. The second suggestion in this regard involved working to have equipment collections sufficient to support larger enrollments in courses. The professor's first suggestion highlighted the importance of giving faculty members the option of working heavily with academic professionals when providing opportunities for students to learn a given technology. Some faculty members may want to teach their students a given technology themselves. Other faculty members may opt to have academic professionals set up and conduct class training sessions, as happened in this particular case. Furthermore, academic support units should be aware that some courses can serve as gateways for future majors in a given department. Academic-support mechanisms should be designed in ways that facilitate departmental recruitment efforts rather than undermining them. This may mean, in cases where a given department has a physical lab, that training is held there or in other cases that the training sessions are contextualized within the academic department rather than foregrounding the role of the support organization." (SN-0036 Film Short Creation, Andrea Nixon)

"In terms of the complexity of technologies involved, three students noted three separate barriers. Student 2 made particular note of having to use an operating system other than the one this person was most comfortable with as well as not liking FinalCut Pro itself. Student 4 discussed the fact that while there was ample help in terms of learning FinalCut Pro, having to use software "that I was not really comfortable with to start" posed some difficulty. The student's remark about "they could have done more explanation" was indicative of the complexity of this particular video-editing tool, but given the nature of this particular assignment the student ultimately agreed with the judgment to limit instruction about FinalCut Pro. Finally, Student 5 noted the complexity of turning in the assignment. This student opted to work in the academic department's lab as well as a campus-wide video-editing lab. Working in multiple locations made turning in the assignment more complicated. With regard to hours of availability, Student 4 noted limitations in access to the resources necessary for the assignment, including limited hours during which both support and the equipment were available. The class was divided into small groups, and each group, for a limited period of time, was given extended access to the lab beyond the standard supported hours. Student 4 noted frustration with the lack of help during the extended access period. Two students also commented on equipment issues. Student 2 noted that it was difficult to gain access to cameras for the assignment, and Student 5 noted that she/he would have enjoyed having access to high-end equipment such as a crane but also noted that such equipment was typically only available in film studios." (SN-0036 Film Short Creation, Andrea Nixon)

"The analysis group discussed the importance of supporting students in the places and times during which students work on their course assignments. In this particular case, participants logged a combined total of 23 hours working on this assignment and 20 hours and 15 minutes of this time were worked between the hours of noon until midnight (13:15 from noon until 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 from 5:00 until midnight). The remaining 2:45 hours took place between midnight and 5:00 a.m. Four of the five students worked exclusively in the departmental lab. The academic department did make extended hour access available to students as they were scheduled to work intensively on their projects. There was a clear interest on the part of students to have even greater access to the equipment associated with the assignment. In addition to recommending extended access to editing equipment, the analysis group also suggested support come from a mixture of advanced students as well as full-time employees of the College. In this case, help came from a permanent, full-time employee; an educational associate (comparable to a paraprofessional); and students enrolled in the class who had previous experience with FinalCut Pro. The analysis group also recommended the role of advanced students be further formalized so that they might be able to help students new to video production in terms of learning to work with FinalCut Pro, storyboarding (as evident in the work of one study participant), or other techniques that would assist students composing assignments in advance of filming or class screenings." (SN-0036 Film Short Creation, Andrea Nixon)

"The analysis group assembled a list of suggestions for support organizations based on Case 1 that related to: coordinating support efforts, providing supplementary instruction on high-end tools, aligning training and support with specific assignments and student schedules, and coordinating support efforts with curricular discussions. The team-based support of curricular assignments suggested above may well span individual support organizations. Implicit in this suggestion is a mechanism for coordinating work across support units. To date this coordinating function has fallen to faculty members. While some faculty members may like to retain this central coordinating role, other faculty members may opt for support efforts in which coordination is taken care of through an alternative mechanism. The College should also consider providing supplemental training, particularly in high-end tools such as FinalCut Pro, for students outside of class sessions. These training opportunities should be focused on the curricular work demanded of students. In keeping with the comments on student support above, students with advanced skills, educational associates, or academic professionals might conduct these training sessions. Training opportunities should be conducted at times and days of the week that align with student work schedules. In some cases, this will require that training sessions be held on weekends or after the standard business hours of the College. In some cases, existing online training materials may just need to be made available in a more coordinated fashion, e.g., available beyond the Web sites of the support units who originally created them. In order for support organizations to align training sessions and resources with assignments, the College should support a series of discussions that explore curricular aspirations of faculty members and student needs as well as the resources and assistance available through support organizations. Additionally, there should be a repository of current assignments that make use of visual materials available to people working in support organizations. This will help in ongoing efforts to align support with curricular exercises. This same collection of assignments might also prove to be a valuable resource for faculty members new to working with visual materials in constructing assignments. Carleton's Perlman Learning and Teaching Center and members of the Visual Culture/Visuality Initiative may be in good positions to host some of these conversations. One element of these conversations may be continued discussions in the definition(s) of the phrase "visual literacy" as it/they relate to work currently underway at the College." (SN-0036 Film Short Creation, Andrea Nixon)

"Three students described their use of institutional resources in terms of acquiring images for their presentation or of using PowerPoint. Student 1 described using a scanner to digitize sketches and using PowerPoint for the presentation. This student noted, "we didn't use that much technology" for the presentation. Student 3 also described using the scanner, specifically the one on the fourth floor of the library, noting the helpfulness of the instructions posted at the scanner. In terms of information sources, Student 2 described his/her group's decision to rely on Wikipedia rather than biological texts that would have described the species about which his/her group was presenting. "We find out the basic information, just how big it grows, what it's habitats are on Wikipedia and little things like that. We didn't want to get too intensely scientific because a) we probably wouldn't understand it and b) just wouldn't have time to go through all that information. So, I guess in that sense biology books wouldn't have been that helpful. But they might have, and we kind of just avoided [them]." Both Students 1 and 3 described using Google's Image Search. The former first noted surprise at using Google as a research tool and then described the Image Search as a "fabulous, fabulous resource for images." In these two instances, one student reported avoiding scientific information because of the potential for complexity and a high volume of information, and a second endorsed the use of Google Image Search as a source of images for that group's presentation." (SN-0037 Group Presentation, Andrea Nixon)

"Students 1 and 4 made specific mention of their lack of familiarity with some of the software available to students. Student 1's comments reflected on efforts to lay out the two-page handout for the group presentation. Student 4 described not knowing how to use available software that would have enabled him/her to edit images for the presentation. Students 3 and 4 both noted difficulties they experienced in manipulating images for their presentation. Similarly, Student 1 described having a sense that she/he might have asked for help in using Adobe Illustrator but not having time to do so." (SN-0037 Group Presentation, Andrea Nixon)

"Student 3 highlighted the importance of instructing students about the presentation technologies available in the classroom. One prompt in the photo survey asked students to take a picture of something they consider to be "high tech." In the interview, Student 3 talked about the presence of data projectors on campus. "You don't realize how accessible it is until you get up there and look at the little box [a touch-screen system controlling classroom technologies], and it pretty much tells you what to do, but making the fact that information is really accessible to students hasn't really been done." This comment points to the potential importance of providing students, in addition to faculty members, with instruction in the uses of classroom technologies." (SN-0037 Group Presentation, Andrea Nixon)

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