2 The lecture series
3 Statements on IT provision
3.1 University Management
3.2 The Department
3.3 The Students
"Digital Futures": A Case Study in a Faculty of Art & Design
3 Statements on Lecture Theatre I.T. provision
3.3 Students attending the course
The students who undertook these assessments were/are competent in their use
of I.T. and familiar with the intricacies and potential of the Internet. Their
assessments do not particularly focus on "I.T. equipment in the lecture
theatre" but rather the effect - and failings - of the Lecture content as a
3.3.1 Informal comment on Lecture Series by Jonny
Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 1998 12:28 PM
To: Smith, Barry
Subject: Re: Return of assignments...
"Carry on series" for dig-fut ?
You mean you need somewhere else to take it ? Or you wish to have the class run
by Sid James ?
I think your initial concept was a good one, however I think that you needed
better facilites to run the module. I think access to some of the more
specialised packages was needed. I got the feeling that the module was aimed at
technophobes a bit, I think they only conqure their fear through experience.
Hands on practice of "digital" applications was lacking imo. Email is a good
starting point but I think that other applications like Cubase and Photoshop
needed to be looked at.
I'm not sure what your initial brief was though, so I may be taking the module
away from the original idea.
I think that your problem will always be that there is too much stuff to cover
and too little time to deal with it in any detail. I think the talents of the
more computer literate students should have be used, maybe some sort of skill
share session. People will familiarity with different applications taking
others through the basics of them. Well good luck in the (digital) future
3.3.2 Formal assessment of Lecture Series by Jode
IT equipment in the lecture theatre
I never really considered that technical support could be so difficult to
organise in the lecture theatre. Indeed I would have considered access to these
resources a trivial or minor detail in the presentation of a seminar. However
as Barry Smith has adequately demonstrated in the recent 'Digital Futures'
lecture series such modes are a vital and integral to the future of lectures. A
scopophilic sensibility or 'synesthetic' appreciation of information. A world
well inducted in the gambut of multi-media influences brought to our
institutional space of learning for the purposes of education. Giving us a
sensory input second only to the tactile application of such resources, a lack
which was duly noted by several members of the group, a lack not remedied, or
addressed with any satisfactory solution. Indeed the limitations of the lecture
theatre and available resources far out weighed the interest in practical
application and Barry is to be commended on using what was available so
What was it then that was so agreeable about the use of video and computer
technology? It is simply that their has been, in recent years, a marked
investment of research, a preoccupation with areas of knowledge though
understood but reworked under new impetus resulting in new thinking.
Demonstrative archives of information exist covering a huge array of topics and
can be located on the WWW or on Video. These areas of knowledge become
immediately accessible through the investment of 'time' and of 'passivity' on
the part of the watcher, who through the assistance of information's pseudo
visual counterpart may recall details lost in the common teaching process.
These visual maxims create areas of entertainment which aid the learning
process however they must never gain a status beyond being the tools of such
attainment. We cannot underestimate their value nor can we place them as more
important than the other tools available too us. Engaging with the problematic
operation of an object or discussing a conceptual idea cannot be
underestimated. It is fundamental that we do not become a nation of automatised
people echoing the trivia of a badly worded documentaries, that is why I invest
the word Pseudo not with notions of the sham but more an element to be dealt
with, with caution. The use of technological equipment in the lecture theatre
requires a sensitivity to the pace of presentation. This can be undermined in
value if - for example - we were to receive a comprehensive set of
demonstrations in the lecture space and find that it is where the information
remained; locked in a cerebral sphere of semi-useful, non- practical
applications of technologies beyond the un-inducted students capabilities.
Certainly we were taught strategies for acquiring the data we required to build
- for example - a web site but the reality of achieving this was something of a
nonsense without additional guidance. The broadening of perceptions in a
rapidly expanding genre of interdisciplinarity could be so enhanced by simply
having better equipment available to students and tutors alike. For this reason
I would like to mention that Barry was clearly struggling to demonstrate what
modern technology was capable of in the series largely due to the unportability
of powerful P.Cs from resource rooms, but also because the actual quality of
programs available to him to demonstrate were limited.
3.3.3 Formal assessment of Lecture Series by Toria Power
DIGITAL FUTURES - IT REPORT
There are certain basic technologies that one comes to expect to be used within
lectures such as slide projectors, O.H.P's and videos which are able to be
installed in any lecture environment with relative ease. The digital futures
lecture series used these and also took the use of technology one stage further
(as was its purpose to inform us, the students, of the capacity for technology)
Within the lecture environment we were mostly shown videos showing the
capabilities of IT which was very good, it enabled me to understand what was
The videos and other technology used were a useful learning tool, it broke up
the lecture and used sensitively can impart knowledge well. It is however very
scopophilic, encouraging looking rather than personal practical application.
For example, we were shown a video about William Lathem, a man who made
computer art. It was inspiring being able to watch the video, we could visit
the web site in our own time but we could not have a go (unless we purchased a
computer and the correct CD ROM !) I found that the teaching was very brief,
there was no detailed coaching. I believe this will have been due to having
only one hour contact time per week and there being so many students with many
different levels of understanding, from never having used a computer to being
able to create ones own web page.
When we were shown how to guide around the Internet by the computer screen
being projected (somehow, one bit of technology not explained)onto a large
screen in the lecture theatre, I found that I could have done with a higher
level of teaching, whereas after being taught about media presentations through
a computer slide package which was available on certain computers in
university, I do not know where I might find these computers or how I would use
the package. It seemed very "go and look in your own time" there was no nitty
gritty. Perhaps being given some good old fashioned handouts on the subjects we
were being taught about so that when we were actually in front of a computer we
had a guide to follow, or small learning groups would help.
I do consider that the IT was advantageous as I believe when being taught
something that will eventually be a practical skill you need hands on teaching,
the information needs to be tangible. Rather than someone just saying "you can
do this and that" we are able to see evidence, practical and visual
3.3.4 Formal assessment of Lecture Series by Conor Healy
Dear Sir/Madam, March 28, 1998.
It is important to show students how easy it is to access the Internet. The
demonstrations given should be followed up immediately with practical
experience. A few hours should be spent on the first lecture so to ensure that
the knowledge is gained by the majority. Students must see to believe. However,
it is impossible to teach 70 fresh students anything in the Bonington theatre
regarding Dig. Fut., so only a small portion of time should be spent there. The
time it takes to set up the equipment which should really be there in the first
place slows down the momentum that you should be trying to build
I felt the first 3/4 lessons lacked a coherent structure because of this. The
most interesting aspects will always be what you learn yourself, the least
being what you know already. So it is important to guide those who want to
learn to where they should be heading. It is one thing to say that the internet
can take you anywhere, it is another to know where you want to go and how to
Each art course has basic desires, and so a list of museums/galleries where we
can see works of art/photography would be a good start. For others, it could be
where and how to get tickets to the W. Cup. or how to download the latest
Rolling Stone magazine or Prodigy concert/CD. Some research into 'hot' websites
prior to a demonstration will bolster enthusiasm while naff sites only
It is important to counter frustration that many feel with the internet. By
investing in books on how to get the most from the internet or how to create
websites will allow those who really want to go all the way the opportunity to
do so. Software such as Photoshop could be introduced. Students need to pick up
something tangible fast otherwise the gobbledygook wins through. IT is a
language and so Dig. Fut. should explain how to communicate. What is a server?
What does html stand for? What is Yahoo? How can I download jokes, newspapers,
images? All this should be explained and each student should have to pick at
least one item a week to download onto disk? A project should be set within the
first month. It can be to build your own html or find out as much information
on a particular subject, where they are going on an exchange or on an artist.
Students should have a disk from day one so they can save anything that they
Overall I found Dig Fut. valuable. Barry Smith showed great enthusiasm in a
class where it was lacking from the students. I hope that changes next year.
P.S. - I sent an e-mail to my sister and a letter on the same day. Guess which
got there first! The snail won while the rabbit fell asleep on Microsoft
exchange! Technology at least in University sometimes has it's limitations!