Media Expo Takes Over Wheatley

The Teaching with Media Expo attracted many faculty and staff who were curious about new technologies for the classroom. - Photo by Kory Vergets

The Teaching with Media Expo attracted many faculty and staff who were curious about new technologies for the classroom. – Photo by Kory Vergets

Gin Dumcius

Teachers and students alike had the chance to peruse new technologies and ways to enhance the classroom when the Teaching with Media Expo came to Wheatley Hall.

The Instructional Technology Center, normally located in the lower level of Healey Library, took over Wheatley Cafeteria for a morning, with teachers from the chemistry department to communication studies showing other faculty how to incorporate media into their classes.

The media includes PowerPoint, web design, and creating a CD-ROM. The point is to help the faculty, knowing that “a lot of them are terrified of technology,” said Harriet Wilt, of ITC’s Faculty Media Lab. Faculty are “starting to discover us more,” she continued, as she and others go out and show a department how to do something.

David Patterson, a professor of music at UMass Boston who teaches the UMass Online course, “Universe of Music,” showed off how he and students were able to hold classes via headset, communicating through a small microphone attached to the headset. Classes usually contain 39 students, with online meetings consisting of 8 to 9 students.

“We go all around the world, integrating… cultural study of music [with] psychology, anthropology, and history,” said Patterson, who studied at the Paris Conservatory and has a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Pointing to class surveys, done online, of course, Patterson said what students most liked about the course was the convenience of it. “They can go anytime to the computer,” he said. The students liked the least was technical problems, like slow downloads.

Echoing Wilt’s sentiments, Patterson said teachers and students were “scared to death” of the technology at the first. But by the end of the sessions, “everybody does the flashing smiley face,” he said, clicking on a small yellow oval with eyes and a big grin on the screen.

Gonzalo Bacigalupe, associate professor of the family therapy program at the Graduate College of Education, also teaches his courses completely online. For his substance abuse course, a class of 16 meets on a weekly basis for an hour in a live discussion, which Bacigalupe calls “even more intensive than a classroom setting.” Students also go out and do field work, like going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and interviewing psychologists.

Chancellor Jo Ann Gora and Provost Paul Fonteyn both toured and tried out many of the demos. Gora called the expo “fantastic.” “This is faculty teaching faculty and demonstrating what they learned at the Instructional Technology Center to enhance the learning process,” she said.

Faculty and staff who would like more information can contact the ITC at 287-3987, or log on at