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Effective Teaching with Technology in Higher Education

reviewed by Kathleen Matheos - 2004

coverTitle: Effective Teaching with Technology in Higher Education
Author(s): A. W. Bates and Gary Poole
Publisher: Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco
ISBN: 0787960349, Pages: 306, Year: 2003
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Having been fortunate to have both heard presentations and read books and articles by Dr. A. W. (Tony) Bates I was eager to read this latest book, a collaborative effort of Bates and Dr. Gary Poole, both with the University of British Columbia, Canada.

In Effective Teaching with Technology in Higher Education, the collaboration of these two authors seemed an unusual alliance. Tony Bates brings years of experience in the research, development, and administration of open and distance learning while Gary Poole brings a perspective on classroom teaching and working with faculty to become better classroom teachers. As I delved into the book I realized this was a timely and much-needed strategic alliance. Neither discounted the various forms that teaching could take, nor had they created an adversarial relationship between distance learning and traditional classroom teaching. Rather the book brings together these two traditions in a manner essential to the university of the 21st century; a manner to best serve students in today’s society.

The book succeeds in bringing together both the theory and examples of good practice for the integration of technology into higher education. Bates and

Poole recognize the importance of feedback, for improvement within teaching and learning, and to this end, they have set up a website for the book http://www.batesandpoole.ubc.ca to encourage this feedback. A quick visit to the site reveals postings by Bates and Poole , but disappointingly the discussion forums were a void. I hope that readers will take advantage of this opportunity for interaction.

The book is well laid out with three sections. Part 1: Fundamentals of Educational Technology consists of four chapters and provides an overview of technology highlighted with examples. The section concludes with Chapter 4, outlining a framework for selecting and using technology. In this very useful and relevant chapter, Bates and Poole introduce a SECTIONS model. The SECTIONS model reflects the diverse student body, on-campus, off-campus, undergraduate, graduate, and adds two new criteria: students and ease of use.

Part 2 of the book focuses on Course Design, Development, and Delivery. Chapter 5 illustrates a spectrum of approaches in the use of learning technologies in higher education that both enhance and expand learning opportunities. Chapter 6 focuses on planning courses and Chapter 7 on course design while Chapter 8 takes the reader through the development phase. Part 2 culminates with Chapter 9, Supporting Technology-Based Learning. This chapter draws upon preceding chapters in discussing the delivery of technology-enhanced learning. The authors stress the importance of a coherent approach to course delivery, an approach that involves both academic and administrative components. It is Chapter 9 that provides the critical information for senior administrators, faculty, instructional designers, information technology specialists, and administrative support personal for the successful delivery of technology-based learning, and it should be read by all these constituents. It is a very readable and articulate chapter providing concrete examples ranging from policies for computer use to online discussion guidelines.

Part 3 contains the final chapter of the book, Change and Stability in Teaching with Technology. This concluding chapter brings the reader back to the reason for technology-enhanced learning: “to make a significant difference to teaching and learning” (p. 253), and recognizes that technology in itself cannot create good learning experiences. A somewhat visionary chapter, it outlines new technology developments and looks at how these may be further refined and developed in the future. In the preface the authors clearly position learning at the center, noting that “an understanding of both learning and the nature of technology is essential to the appropriate use of technology for teaching” (p. xiv). Chapter 10 reflects on the continuum of learning from the face-to-face traditional classroom to fully on-line delivery and calls upon educators to look along this spectrum while considering learners, content, and resources in order to develop the best learning situations.

Writing collaboratively is always a challenge, and it often results in a somewhat bumpy read. This is not the case with Effective Teaching with Technology in Higher Education. The two authors have successfully and smoothly melded their thoughts and perspectives. For Bates, this endeavor illustrates the shift in distance education from a once marginal activity in traditional universities, to technology-enhanced learning, critical and central to universities in this century, serving learners both on and off campus, nationally and globally. For Poole, it is an opportunity to bring to the fore, an often missing component in faculty professional development, technology-enhanced teaching.

This book provides valuable information for all those involved in higher education. If you are a new faculty member interested in teaching with technology, if you are an administrator determining how technology-enhanced learning will serve the academic agenda of your institution, if you are an award winning face-to-face instructor, if you are an academic or administrative support person, you will find the insight and information contained in this book worthwhile.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 106 Number 5, 2004, p. 938-940
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11253, Date Accessed: 12/3/2021 3:04:12 AM

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About the Author
  • Kathleen Matheos
    University of Saskatchewan
    E-mail Author
    KATHLEEN MATHEOS is an assistant professor in the Centre for Distributed Learning at the University of Saskatchewan. Prior to this she was the Director of Campus Manitoba, a consortium of Manitoba post-secondary institutions involved in distributed learning delivery. Her research interests focus on institutional change and policies and practices for distributed learning.
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