A Brief History of Teaching and Learning with Technology at CCRI
In September 2001 President Tom Sepe created the position of faculty mentor to support and advise CCRI faculty who were interested in using technology in the classroom. He appointed George Ruggiero, a faculty member from the Business Department, to fill this position. George began by soliciting faculty who were interested in sharing their use of technology with others. From this group, he created the Sharing Pedagogy in Technology (SPIT) group, which met for the first time on October 22, 2001. The initial membership included Jean Dietrich, Dan Donovan, Lynn Fontaine, Don Fontes, Brenda McGill, Don Paquette, Beverly Pepe, Bill Pellicio, and Jim Twining.
SPIT provided a unique forum for faculty interested in using technology in their classes to meet and share their experience. The only similar forums were the campus professional development seminars and they were often more formal and totally task-oriented. This group allowed regularly-scheduled time for faculty to communicate and identify areas of interest. It also provided the opportunity for faculty to see each other's work and to exchange work-related ideas. Group members felt that there was a tremendous amount of knowledge sharing that took place. At some meetings faculty would present some of their work and at other meetings the group would have formal training and hands-on projects.
At the end of the Spring 2002 semester, George Ruggiero became ill and was no longer able to facilitate the meetings. Jean Dietrich and Bill Pellicio agreed to take responsibility for seeing that the meetings would continue. They suggested that until another format was developed all the members of the group would take turns organizing each monthly session. The group managed to keep the meetings going and decided to continue meeting monthly during the summer of 2002.
The group also decided to change the name of the group to Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) to better reflect the nature of their previous accomplishments and future goals. In addition, the group felt that because each session provided invaluable knowledge and mutual support, it should be opened up to all faculty and staff that would like to attend.
In August 2002, President Sepe decided to continue the faculty mentor program and appointed Bill Pellicio, Department of Human Services and Debra Grande, Department of Computer Studies, for the 2002-2003 school year to work in conjunction with Linda Beith, Manager of Instructional Support from the Department of Information Technology.
In August 2004, Vice President Sherman appointed Tony Basilico of the Computer Studies Department and Luis Malaret from Biology as the mentos for the academic year.
The monthly TLT meetings not only provide faculty with an opportunity to break the isolation that sometimes happens when working on new projects or struggling to learn new technology, but also provide support and expertise for faculty to be exposed to and get involved in even newer adventures. As one group member noted:
"As a direct result of the group organizing two sessions with IT department and Don Paquette, I was able to put my class evaluations on line. I now have my class evaluations and an overall evaluation of WebCT computerized with workable output! After seeing the results of the online evaluation, several other faculty have done the same. On a personal level it is great way for me to manage student feedback. On an institutional level what a great way to measure our goals and become familiar with student needs and their perceptions of how we are doing! Each meeting has left me with a new possibility to explore, familiarity with a new technique used by one of my peers, and/or a real sense of camaraderie with other faculty."