Johns Hopkins Gazette: September 18, 1995

Info Highway Moving Into Classrooms

Steve Libowitz

     There is a revolution in pedagogy. The advance of electronic
information technology on the classroom is becoming more swift
and sure with each passing semester.         

     And to make certain the march of this computerized and
digitized technology proceeds unfettered at Hopkins, the
Subcommittee on Electronic and Distance Education--a subcommittee
of the provost's Information Systems Coordinating Council--has
established a mini-grant program to make available $20,000 to
support innovations in electronically enhanced education for the
spring 1996 semester. 

     Deadline for a letter of intent is Oct. 16 with final
proposals due by Dec. 1.

     "I believe we will need to invent a new pedagogy in the next
two decades," says university provost Joseph Cooper," and this
program is an effort to move Hopkins in that direction and, I
hope, make it a leader in this field within higher education."

     The subcommittee, chaired by Candice Dalrymple, the School
of Engineering's associate dean for external programs, hopes the
funding--anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 per project--will
enhance teaching by encouraging faculty to rethink their
curricula and the way their students can and may want to access
course materials.

     The university is experiencing an increase in the use of
electronic information technology in the classroom, whether it is
in the form of distance learning (see sidebar), applying digital
media to biological sciences (see story on page 8) or expanding a
liberal arts course to the World-WideWeb, as the School of
Continuing Studies did last semester. In fact, it is that
school's pilot classroom project that the committee points to as
an exemplary model for the kinds of projects it wants to fund.

     "One of the challenges facing the School of Continuing
Studies is that we are located on five campuses in Maryland and
Washington, and our students need to be able to efficiently
utilize university library resources," says Elizabeth Mayotte,
director of the school's Columbia Center. "We have had a [Milton
S. Eisenhower Library]/SCS working team in place since 1991,
looking at library-related issues. A year or so ago we asked Todd
Kelley [the Milton S. Eisenhower's librarian for information
technology initiatives] to talk to a group of SCS faculty about
electronic reserves. As a result of several meetings, we realized
that what he was recommending was best tested through an actual
class that would serve as a pilot project."

     Mayotte and her SCS committee chose for the pilot a masters
of liberal arts course offered during the spring 1995 semester by
MLA director Nancy Norris

     "Nancy was excited about it, but didn't consider herself
particularly literate technically, so, therefore, her class was a
great model for the project," Mayotte says. "Her course [Evil
from Greek Tragedies to Goth-ic Tales] required students to use a
wide range of books, selected chapters from additional readings,
journals and other materials in the course of their class work,
so it seemed like a good starting point."

     What started as an experiment for students using the
library's electronic reserve capabilities grew from
"black-and-white to color," Mayotte says. Working closely with
Kelley and William Engelmeyer, chair of the Technical Department
in the school's Division of Business and Management, and his
students, the project integrated electronic communications so
Norris's students could communicate with each other and with her
directly, Mayotte says.

     A glance at the Web site for Norris's course--
--reveals ways for students to send a message to the entire
class, review all previous online discussions about the course,
access the course outline and assignments, find recommended
secondary sources, access study questions, refer to writing and
documentation guidelines for the class and view papers written by
fellow students.

     An interdisciplinary team from the Eisenhower Library and
SCS developed and implemented the project with about $4,000 of
in-kind services. Questions about the project should be directed
by e-mail to

     The SEDE Mini-Grant Program seeks to encourage faculty who
are both already comfortable or are already using information
technologies in their classrooms as well as those who are new to
the idea but who want to get up to speed," she says. "We want to
fund a wide range of thinking and ideas in all disciplines,
trying to spread experience and resources among faculty members
and departments."

Application Process
     The SEDE mini-grants are available to faculty and staff.
Letters of intent--due by Oct. 16--should be sent to Elizabeth
Mayotte, Director of the Columbia Center, School of Continuing
Studies, 6740 Alexander Bell Drive, Columbia, MD 21046. A
subgroup of the SEDE--members of both the subcommitee and the
evaluating subgroup reprenting all university divisions--will
review the letters and provide feedback on the possible match (or
lack thereof) between the outlined ideas and the goals of the
grant program.

     Those whose projects are considered a potentially good match
will be asked to submit a 2-to-3 page proposal that provides more
detailed information and addresses specific criteria, which
include: enhancing the ability for students to work independently
in terms of identifying and accesing resources; providing a
formal process to evaluate the benefits to students in the class;
providing enhanced student access to electronic information
resources; increasing collaboration among students and/or faculty
within a division or within the university community; cost
effectiveness; and, serving as a prototype for other projects.

     Final proposals are due by Dec. 1, and final selections will
be made by Dec. 15. Funds will be available Jan. 3, 1996 for use
during the spring 1996 term. Reports on the results of the
proposal activity (including evaluation tools and data gathered
through them) are expected by June 30, 1996.

     "There's a great phrase in the C-21 report about
strengthening Hopkins' capacity for excellence. This mini-grant
idea lets us do this very well," Mayotte says.


Pharmaceutical Firm Invests in 
Hopkins Distance Learning

     Glaxo Wellcome, the nation's leading research-based
pharmaceutical firm, has provided $50,000 in funding to the
School of Public Health to help the school provide long distance
learning for public health students who cannot attend classes at
the main campus in East Baltimore.

     The funds will be used by the school to redesign its
elementary epidemiology course for long distance transmission to
students nationwide and internationally.

     Epidemiology is a required public health course at Hopkins
and involves extensive laboratory work. The Glaxo Wellcome funds
will make all aspects of the course accessible to off-site
students through a modular approach, including videotaped and
live transmission of lectures, as well as computer-based learning
materials for lab work.

     "I'm particularly excited about this project ... because
understanding the principles of epidemiology is increasingly
important in today's environment, to practitioners in public
health, in managed care and in the private sector," said
Elizabeth B. Andrews, director of international epidemiology at
Glaxo Wellcome.

     "This is our chance to reach superbly qualified students who
cannot otherwise access a Hopkins education in public health,"
said Scott Zeger, senior associate dean for academic affairs at
the School of Public Health.  

     The school has already begun work on an integrated
CD-ROM-based education system that will make lectures, readings
and problems available in one medium. It eventually plans to
revise other core courses for distance learning, including
biostatistics, health economics and outcomes research.

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