Teaching and Technology
John Unsworth chaired the ACLS Commission that authored Our Cultural Commonwealth. In a conversation with Kevin Guthrie, he offers his own well-developed definition of cyberinfrastructure, talks about why and how the needs of the humanities should be considered separately, and explains how the report's framework has been useful already in developing new implementation strategies.
This gripping account describes what the process and products of a new cyberscholarship might look like in the age of the Semantic Web, in which cyberinfrastructure’s potential as a "facilitator of a vast social process of meaning making" might be further developed.
Three art historians discuss how their most urgent needs might be addressed by cyberinfrastructure. While they hold themselves responsible for fostering new forms of scholarship as they appear, the bottom line, they agree, is that CI will be useless if it can not revolutionize image access and metadata management, and cannot help us think differently about vision and objects: "what kind of image work is the work that matters most?"
Provost O'Donnell, author of Avatars of the Word, is fascinated by how "institutions full of creative, innovative, iconoclastic people" are paradoxically "bastions of conservatism." Guiding us through the texture of change since the Internet hit 15 years ago, O"Donnell posits that incremental change is perhaps the best we can do until the fundamental instruments of scholarly communication and the academic reward structure change: "until the problem we have to solve is defined persuasively enough that we get enough people interested in solving it."
The director of Skidmore College's Tang Museum proposes a dynamic new relevance for the college museum, whose tasks of addressing students' visual literacy and in more effectively deploying the multisensory exhibition in global curricula could be dramatically facilitated through cyberinfrastructure.
Many themes of this collection are encapsulated within this new facility in an old library at Bates College. Blending a 21st-century codification of Liberal Arts Education, with cyberinfrastructure-ready facilities, the Bates Imaging Center, in Professor Coté’s words, "presents the campus hub for collaborative and interdisciplinary projects, especially those that are computationally intensive, apply visualization techniques, or include graphical or image-based components."
We present here a collection of short profiles, specially written for
Academic Commons, on key service organizations and networks that will
be poised to assist and lead others who are working to bring a rich
cyberinfrastructure into play. Some are older humanities organizations
for which cyberinfrastructure is a totally new environment, others have
been created specifically around the provision of digital resources and
ARTstor is a non-profit organization created with several aims:
1) To aid in the transformation of education in the arts and humanities through the innovative use of digital technology;
2) To achieve economies of scale and reduce costs for the community by providing digital images for teaching and scholarship;
3) To facilitate efficient dissemination of content from a broad range of time periods, cultures and disciplines, making accessible large portions of our cultural record scattered across libraries, museums, archives, galleries and private collections around the world; and
4) To work with the community to find answers to commonly shared problems, including the development of standards and best practices for the creation of useful visual materials.
As of July 2007, 750 colleges, universities, schools and museums have access to ARTstor's evolving library of close to 600,000 images and its accompanying software tools.
ARTstor seeks to play a role in the international network connecting educational institutions with content contributors, ranging from artists (such as the Roy Lichtenstein Estate) and photographers to museums (such as the Getty) and libraries (such as the Harvard College Libraries). In doing so, we work with the community to develop policies around sharing image collections, as well as to develop and enhance harvesting software and schema that promote interoperability (such as the Open Archives Initiative and CDWA-Lite), leading to the aggregation for users of images from disparate sources. We believe the coming years will bring continued expansion of an ever more decentralized environment. ARTstor's role in such an environment will not be that of the single source of image content, but rather that of a value-adding node in this increasingly networked environment. Toward this aim, much of our time has been spent creating or improving upon existing inter-relationships and networks, building bridges across the community and demonstrating both the potential and the challenges of facilitating the use of digital images.
Ithaka promotes innovation in higher education by
helping pioneering initiatives to thrive. Leaders of new not-for-profit
projects, and their funders, must navigate a challenging path from early-stage
funding to long-term viability. At the same time, long-established institutions
are finding that they must fundamentally rethink the way they serve
their constituents in a changing world. Ithaka supports entrepreneurial
leaders in higher education with a range of services.
Our research group works to understand how new technologies are
changing higher education and how colleges and universities can best
manage these changes. Its work is guided by an advisory committee of community leaders, and it is presently
emphasizing three areas of interest:
NITLE is a non-profit initiative focused on advancing learning through the use of digital technology. NITLE's participating institutions represent more than 100 primarily smaller independent colleges and universities in the U.S. and world-wide.
NITLE provides professional development programs and managed information services that strengthen higher education by enabling the collaborative sharing of resources, expertise and effective practices. In addition, using collaborative technologies such as multipoint, interactive videoconferencing and open-source systems for learning and collaboration, participants in NITLE programs and services are able to engage in on-going, peer-to-peer exchange across disciplines, professions, and institutions and to build communities of practice that create and share solutions for learning that are useful and relevant to smaller, teaching-centered colleges and universities.
NITLE's programs--both face-to-face and virtual--engage faculty, instructional technologists and librarians in reflective discussion and hands-on practice focused on good teaching and the appropriate use of technology as well as effective, mission-centered strategies for adopting instructional technologies and enterprise tools on campus. NITLE's services lower institutions' risk in testing and adopting technology systems by aggregating community needs and providing managed services that meet those needs. NITLE services currently provide its participating colleges with access to multipoint, interactive videoconferencing (MIV); open-source learning management systems (Moodle and Sakai); and institutional repository services (DSpace).
In all its activities, NITLE leverages the expertise inherent in its participant community and provides a forum and resources to enable the strategic understanding and effective adoption of digital technologies.
For more information, visit www.nitle.org or subscribe to NITLE's blog, Liberal Education Today.