The College of Education Moves Into a Digital Age

Students and faculty at the University of Oregon expand their usage of technology in the learning environment. 

By Chelsea Fullmer

Digital media is gaining momentum in teaching, learning and communicating amongst students and faculty at the College of Education at the University of Oregon.

With the rise of technology, many students and faculty members use online and digital resources such as Blackboard, Facebook, Prezi, and flip cameras for lectures, homework, research sessions, and communication for easier transcription and organization.

 Blackboard, which is a common online tool used by students and faculty, organizes courses and creates portals for students and faculty to learn and communicate outside of class. Common uses of Blackboard consist of posting assignments and lectures, taking quizzes, and forming groups for outside communication.

Educational foundations major, Miriam Choi, says many of her instructors create Wikis on Blackboard that form different groups so that students can find out the members of their group, what readings are assigned, and be able to discuss the questions or homework assignments on those readings.

Choi also uses Prezi, an interactive online power point tool, and is familiar with Microsoft Word as well as other computer software and programs that she has found useful.

“It can come into use later when we are teachers, and they are good resources to use for students other than us and we mainly learn those techniques so we can apply them later in our lives.” 

Kathy Roberts, major director of the Communication Disorders and Sciences program within the College of Education, says the use of digital devices in counseling sessions conducted by students is common, but remains confidential due to standard confidentiality requirements.

“Our students use little flip cameras and things like that to record sessions but then they are using that privately, like after therapy sessions, to go back and analyze someone’s language or something like that,” Roberts said.

Videos are also commonly used in American Sign Language classes for assignments, communication, and evaluation. 

“Students may record themselves signing a story and then that’s turned into the instructor who then can evaluate their expressive skills,” Roberts said.

Social media and networking is used in classroom settings for easy communication and collaborative work. Facebook is a common site for students to interact with each other on assignments.

“We have our own Facebook page and we also make groups and pages if we have a certain assignment or it’s a group project so we can just invite people and talk on there because it’s just easier to communicate with others,” Choi said. 

American Sign Language professor, Valentino Vasquez, who is deaf himself also uses digital media such as Facebook and face-to-face videos to communicate with other professors.

“When I’m communicating with other sign language teachers or my deaf friends, I type very little. I mostly send videos of me signing,” Vasquez signed.

Digital media’s prominence in the educational field extends into various forms where students and faculty are able to take advantage of the organization and easy communication.

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The College of Education uses email, Blackboard, and Facebook to learn and communicate with each other.

About cfullmer

Chelsea is a sophomore at the University of Oregon majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in business administration. Growing up in a large, sports family, Chelsea hopes to focus her reporting and business skills to become a sportscaster for ESPN.
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