Bringing ET to UC Davis
New Training Program to Partner Faculty with Students
by Jeff van de Pol
A new program, developed through IET-Mediaworks, will partner selected faculty with specially trained students for one-on-one technology training. The goal is to help instructors learn about and use educational technology effectively. The coordinator for this new program, Educational Technology (ET) Partners, will hire and train the student partners and begin selection of the faculty partners during fall quarter 2001. In subsequent quarters, each student partner will be assigned to a faculty partner for one quarter at a time (or longer, depending on project length). While the ET Partners program is modeled after a successful faculty-student partnering endeavor at Wake Forest University, UC Davis is the first University of California campus to offer this type of program.

Program Comes at Perfect Time
The ET Partners program arrives at precisely the right time, as educational technology is becoming increasingly important to individual faculty members and the campus. "UC Davis has an excellent network of faculty members who are early adopters of educational technology," says Dr. Harry Matthews, director of IET Mediaworks. "These early adopters have shown that appropriate uses of technology enhance the quality of education and simplify course administration."

However, according to Matthews, expanding the use of these technologies campuswide is no easy task. "There are substantial obstacles delaying the optimal use of educational technology by the majority of the faculty. Principal among these are faculty time and expertise."

The ET Partners program was developed to address these challenges in a reciprocal manner. "UC Davis students bring both a familiarity with technology and an expectation that their education will be enriched by the appropriate use of modern communication tools," Matthews shares. "The faculty supports this expectation in its reciprocal expectation that incoming undergraduate students have computers and Internet access. The ET Partners program exploits this synergy, helping all members of the community of learners realize the potential of these expectations."

Fall: Training Students and Selecting Faculty
First steps for the ET Partners program include the hiring and training of the student partners. According to Chris Sarason, manager of the ET Partners program, each student partner will receive extensive training in a variety of software applications used in teaching (including PowerPoint, Web page creation software, and MyUCDavis), while also developing interpersonal skills related to learning and understanding technology. Initial plans call for 12 student partners to be trained as a group.

Once trained, each student partner will be paired with an instructor. Together they will develop a plan for bringing appropriate technology into the instructor's teaching program.

The anticipation for the ET Partners program is starting to build around campus. "I think the ET Partners program is a fantastic idea," shares Andy Jones, lecturer in the English Department and coordinator for the Computer-Aided Instruction program. "The program should raise technical literacy expectations for faculty and students alike, especially when they see our faculty using new tools to communicate and collaborate on academic and pedagogical projects…. I'm sure that many faculty members on campus are already wondering how soon they can be assigned a student ET partner."

A call for faculty proposals will go out in late fall quarter. The proposal form and program information will be posted on the Mediaworks Web site in the Educational Technology section. Faculty partners will be selected by the end of the fall quarter. For more information on the ET Partners program, stop by The Arbor in 161 Everson Hall or contact Chris Sarason, by email at or by phone at (530) 752-9545.

 Other Resources

 The Arbor


Teaching Resources Center


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