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Gloss: Looking to the Future of Liberal Education
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The subject of this issue of JEP is not exactly electronic publishing, but it is about the people we serve with electronic publishing, and their interaction with electronic publishing. We think it is a valuable look at some of the issues that ultimately affect the entire electronic-publishing industry. Enjoy!
We are delighted to welcome you to this special issue of the Journal of Electronic Publishing, for which we have served as guest editors. The focus for the issue is "New Information Technology and Liberal Education."
During the past academic year, we joined twenty-four of our Furman University colleagues and several faculty from nearby Wofford College for a year-long seminar on the role of information technology in the future of liberal education. This seminar was one component of a major collaborative project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that focused on cost-effective uses of new information technology to support liberal learning. To date, over 75% of Furman faculty have participated in one or more of the intensive workshop and course-development programs offered under this project. More information on the Mellon-sponsored project may be found at http://www.furman.edu/academics/grants/mellon/ [link no longer active]. As an outgrowth of the Mellon-funded activities at Furman, this past spring Furman sponsored a national symposium on "New Information Technologies and Liberal Education." The articles in this issue of JEP began as some of the best papers presented at that symposium.
The wide interest and diverse participation in the national symposium suggests that the subject is timely, not only for liberal-arts colleges, but for anyone concerned about the future of university education in general. As Cynthia L. Selfe has argued in her Technology and Literacy in the Twenty-First Century: The Importance of Paying Attention, educators today must "pay attention" to technology — not just to the plastic shells and digital components on our desks, but also to the people who interact with these new machines and who need to make sense of them in order to be successful in school or to earn a reasonable living for their families.
No simple answers exist to the complex challenges we educators are now facing. This issue offers several responses, from a range of voices — administrators and faculty, graduate students, scientists, humanities scholars, and others:
In "The Engaged Learner: Strategies for Helping Liberal Arts Students Become More Active Learners Online," Richard Cain describes the problems passive learners face when working in a Web environment and suggests ways that the teacher may assist passive learners to become more active.
In "Who's On-Line? Gender Morphing in Cyberspace," Daphne Desser describes her experiences with synchronous interaction in a writing and pedagogy course and relates these experiences to important discussions about the nature of gender online and about how diversity may be preserved.
In "The Ideology of Ease," Bradley Dilger describes manifestations of his concept "ideology of ease" in the world of information technology, an ideology which, he argues, threatens to divide users into those who adapt easily as the technology changes, and those who will remain dependent on guides for "dummies."
Tomoko Hamada and Kathleen Scott's ""Anthropology and International Education via the Internet: Collaborative Learning Model" offers a detailed description and assessment of a shared classroom project between the College of William and Mary and Keio University in Japan.
In Gail E. Hawisher's "Accessing the Virtual Worlds of Cyberspace," the text of her keynote address to the Furman symposium, she offers a theoretically rich delineation of access issues in the contemporary academy, grounding her observations in examples of active learning pedagogy and women's representations on the World Wide Web.
Building on the notion that technological literacy impacts teaching and learning across the disciplines, Billie J. Jones' "Wired on a Shoestring: A Site and Some Insights" provides a detailed definition of that literacy, including the impact of communities and student agents, as well as even the idea that sometimes being technologically literate means choosing not to use technology.
Challenging readers to imagine narratives of experience as valuable knowledge, Pamela E. Mack and Gail Delicio's ""The Authority of Experience: Assessing the Use of Information Technology in the Classroom" shares lessons learned from a history of science course at Clemson University.
In "Collaborative Learning and Cultural Reproduction in Cyberspace: Publishing Students in Electronic Environments," Darin Payne analyzes how technology touted as producing a desirable "heteroglossia" and fostering critique of the dominant culture can in practice become a means of reproducing and reinforcing existing patterns of cultural hegemony.
Describing an innovation developed at the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of Pittsburgh in "Andes: An Intelligent Tutor for Classical Physics," Kay G. Schulze, Robert N. Shelby, Donald J. Treacy, Mary C. Wintersgill, Kurt VanLehn, and Abigail Gertner offer readers a multimedia-enhanced look at the array of issues involved in constructing and implementing such a new technology.
In "Paradigms Restrained: Implications of New and Emerging Technologies for Learning and Cognition," Mary B. Shoffner, Marshall Jones, and Stephen W. Harmon survey past, present, and future technologies and explore their potential and realized impact for teaching and learning.
We hope that these articles will begin some conversations and will encourage sustained engagement of these key issues for university education in general and liberal education in particular. We welcome your feedback.
James A. Inman is Director of the Center for Collaborative Learning and Communication at Furman University, where he also teaches courses in writing and pedagogy. His publications include Taking Flight with OWLs: Examining Electronic Writing Center Work (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2000) and articles and reviews in Writing Center Journal, Writing Lab Newsletter, the Journal of Technology Law and Policy, Technical Communication Quarterly, and The Writing Instructor. Inman's current projects include humanities.team@edu: Exploring Electronic Collaboration in the Humanities, a book under review by the Modern Language Association, and Cyborgs in the Midst: An Alternate View of Computers and Writing, a large-scale revision of his dissertation. He is Co-Editor and Co-Publisher of Kairos: A Journal for Teachers of Writing in Webbed Environments, a leading journal in computers and writing, and Co-Coordinator of the Netoric Project [formerly http://bsuvc.bsu.edu/~gsiering/netoric/], an initiative that encourages and fosters sustained conversations among scholars interested in computers and writing. Inman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and his home page is at http://www.furman.edu/~jinman/ [link no linger active].
Hayden S. Porter is the Daniel Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at Furman University. He has authored or co-authored four textbooks and over forty journal publications. He received the University's meritorious-teaching award and authored or co-authored invited presentations at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, the American Geophysical Symposium, IAGA, COSPAR, and the University of Cincinnati. He completed a sabbatical at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and is the author of software that will support NASA's TIMED satellite mission. He has served as a software consultant to a number of national and international corporations including Michelin, the Liberty Corporation, and the Computer Sciences Corporation. He developed and directs Furman University's Andrew W. Mellon Projects, which focus on cost-effective and pedagogically sound uses of new information technology to support liberal learning. These innovation projects, in which over 75% of Furman faculty have participated, have been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education and The New York Times. These projects helped Furman's earn the prestigious Innovision Award for Technological Leadership in Education in South Carolina. Hayden also serves as campus director of the South Carolina Space Grant Consortium. He enjoys managing the woodlands at his home in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and fishing in region's many lakes and streams. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
William Rogers was born in Greenville, South Carolina. His degrees are from Yale University (B.A.) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Ph.D.). He is the Bennette E. Geer Professor of Literature at Furman University, where he has taught since 1974. His scholarly interests include lyric poetry, medieval English literature, and literary theory. He is the author of books on Middle English religious lyric, genre theory, Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, hermeneutic theory, and William Langland's Piers Plowman. He may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Sloughter is a professor of mathematics at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. He holds a B.S. degree from Gonzaga University and A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Dartmouth College. His interests range from the philosophical foundations of probability and statistics to the uses of technology in mathematics. You may contact him by e-mail at email@example.com or check out his online calculus textbook at http://math.furman.edu/~dcs/book/.
Selfe, Cynthia L. Technology and Literacy in the Twenty-First Century: The Importance of Paying Attention. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1999.
Links From This Article
Furman and Wofford Joint Andrew W. Mellon Project In Information Technology: http://www.furman.edu/academics/grants/mellon/ [link no longer active]