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COMMUNITY REPORT 2001: Katherine Burton Jones
Katherine Burton Jones
Director, Office of Information Technology & Media Services
Harvard Divinity School
To paraphrase the great radio pioneer, Robert Trout, we have the technology we just needed an opportunity.
Over the last few years we found many opportunities to use the technologies that emerged in the mid to late 1990ís to develop educational resources primarily for the web. We have pushed technology into areas of teaching while at the same time measuring the effect that these technologies have on the pedagogical process. We are beginning to explore newer technologies such as live video streaming and will continue to experiment with Internet tools as well.
At Harvard we have engaged in successful collaborative projects such as the Visual Information Access (VIA) project (now a Harvard Library Catalog: http://via.harvard.edu:748/WebZ/Authorize?sessionid=0:next=/html/VIA.html:style=via) and the development of the necessary infrastructure and funding sources (see Library Digital Initiative) to support efforts like this in the future.
The Office of the Provost has been a key factor in the development of innovative projects in each school that provide proof of concept for the use of technologies in teaching and learning. The Provostís sponsorship of the Harvard Academic Computing Committee (HACC) and the work of the Committee have added greatly to the creation of an environment where collaboration and innovation in the academic use of information technologies is fostered. The recent development of iCommons, Harvardís own course tools platform and support group, has given ready access to online tools for the classroom and learning at distance.
At the Divinity School we have worked with and in parallel to the Harvard-wide initiatives to expand our academic and research capabilities. We are working with our Faculty to show them what is possible, reward innovation, and support the development and growth of web-based teaching and learning resources. We are working with our Faculty and with our Library to increase access to licensed materials that are available licensed and made available through the Harvard Libraries. In the latter we plan to use deep-linking to journal articles and other resources.
We are interested in leveraging the resources that we have and are open to collaboration when it is feasible. We plan to build on resources that our faculty members have created for stand-alone access or at other universities and make them available to our academic community. We have benefited from our participation in NINCH and specifically in the Working Group for Best Practices. We look forward to the increased work of the Building Blocks Project as one that will inform the work that we do with our Faculty.