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1 Introduction
2 The lecture series

3 Statements on IT provision
3.1 University Management
3.2 The Department
3.3 The Students

4 Observations
5 Appendices

Case Studies

"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 whole!

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 innovatively.
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
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 actually possible.
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 demonstration.

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 get there.
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 hinder.
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 find interesting.
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.
Kind regards,
Conor Healy.
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!

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