He indicated that there are a lot of programs at Vanderbilt that focus on helping students and faculty learn how to teach. These programs are run by varying organization and departments. The Center for Teaching provides some of these, but also tries to keep tabs on what the departments are doing.
Given this, he indicated that while technology makes up a portion of the discussion in pedagogy at Vanderbilt, there isn't any one course/workshop that does the same thing that TLC does: a focus on technology as the means to pedagogical ends. He also said that Vanderbilt had had someone at the provost level who was head of instructional technology, but that the position was eliminated a few years ago.
In a subsequent email exchange with Derek (begun after I started this post), he indicated that much of the technology instruction takes place within departments as the disciplinary differences were more important than any divide between graduate students and faculty. I agree that this is important and is something that we particularly like to emphasize about TLC in its current configuration. As I replied to him, "The advantage of TLC was that we had a room of English grad students who were familiar with each other's research and with the basic format for the courses we are teaching. There is also a shared assumption of what methods one uses and what we feel to be important skills for our students to gain. All of these things make it possible for us to discuss specifically how we would use a particular technology to teach in our classrooms. These discussions are assisted by our having had the Director of Graduate Studies and one other faculty member attend all of the workshops. They can lead these discussions in a particular way that the staff in ECIT cannot." This is something that Vanderbilt and I (or we, if I can be said to speak for ECIT and those involved in the project) both value.
Derek also indicated that the Center for Teaching had originally focused efforts on graduate students and faculty separately, but now aim their programs to both groups at once. This shift appears to have come at the same time as the focus on discipline. (Thus, programs that differentiated between grad students and faculty become programs that differentiated between departments.) ECIT has had success with programs that put faculty and graduate students together--particularly Emory College Online (ECO). Yet I feel that there was something gained by the graduate students having a space for themselves--assisted, of course, by Drs. Rusche and Elliott. To my mind, I think faculty who learn new technologies are supplementing the techniques they have already learned over a few or many years. Graduate students are, instead, learning who they are as teachers and have very different questions about the implementation of a particular tool.
Finally, Derek pointed me toward an interesting consortium that Vanderbilt is a part of: the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL). CIRTL is a group of universities (read the list here) who are working to improve the teaching of graduate students and junior faculty in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Each campus has different initiatives related to this, but one of the most interesting are the courses that are being taught at the University of Wisconsin's Delta Program, the CIRTL center in Madison. These courses are available to graduate students and carry credit. Their topics range from "Diversity in the Classroom" to "Effective Teaching with Technology." This last looks very much like what we are doing with ECIT. Of course, it is limited to students in STEM, but Delta has made all of its course's syllabi and materials available via CIRTL as guidebooks. The idea is that any university could take the materials and more or less teach the same class from it. So with nothing more than a click you can have the 75-page guidebook. (It's when you read through this that you realize the differences between how we have talked about technology in TLC and how it might need to be done with people from other disciplines, say the GDBBS.) To me this seems like the ideal mode for scholarship and pedagogy: sharing our tricks.
Poking around Wisconsin's site lead to a couple more discoveries.
- They, of course, have workshops available to faculty and graduate students on different instructional technologies. There doesn't seem to be anything particularly geared toward graduate students, however, and nothing that focuses on pedagogy so much as the actual technology.
- The engage program appears to spearhead campus initiatives for the implementation of various technologies across the curriculum. This year there is a focus on podcasting (two English professors received awards for their use of the tool) and on simulations and games. The site has a very good summary of everything you might need to know about podcasting to get started, but I assume that there was hands-on training for interested parties.
- They also have a site that lists all the grants available to members of the university to begin work on a technology project.
- The strategic plan for the entire university calls for improving students use of information (scroll down to Roman numeral V).
- Finally, Wisconsin sponsors the Information Technology Academy, a "4-year pre-college technology access and training program for talented students of color and economically disadvantaged students attending Madison Public Schools. Our mission is to prepare students for technical, academic, and personal excellence in today's Information Age." Students compete to enter at the end of 8th grade. It would be great to see Emory providing a similar outreach program here.