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May 30, 2008

Media Contact: Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769

Creating Solutions: The Sky’s the Limit for UT Tyler Instructional Design

Cindy SmithThe new Office of Instructional Design at The University of Texas at Tyler is contributing to the university’s efforts to enhance online education.

Working with faculty to develop strong online instructional programs across the university, the staff reports to the Office of Academic Affairs through Dr. Donna Dickerson, vice provost and dean of graduate studies.

 “It is exciting and challenging to be working with faculty who are open to innovative ideas that promote student success,” said Cindy Smith, instructional design coordinator.

UT Tyler’s first Ph.D. program is a prime example of the possibilities for the university in online educational technology. The office has been assisting faculty in developing online coursework for the nursing doctoral program, which was approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in October 2007 and will begin this fall semester.

 “She (Smith) is incredible and such an asset to the university,” said Dr. Barbara Haas, nursing doctoral program director. “The whole department is going to be an asset as we enter into a new era of teaching.”

Online educational technology also is being utilized by faculty.

Elluminate, an online Web conferencing tool, enables instructors as far as away as Houston and Shreveport, La., for example, to meet virtually to brainstorm, transfer files and show presentations.

Other items used are online journals, or blogs, and Wikis, a collaborative online tool used within the virtual classroom realm.      

And it’s just the tip of the iceberg, according to Smith.

“We will work with faculty to integrate technologies that actively engage our students into new and existing course offerings,” she said. “We’ve come along way in online course development. The possibilities are endless.”

 “This time last year, we had no one doing instructional design. Now we have a real office with staff and students working with faculty across the campus,” said Dickerson. “As we continue to build this unit, I am hopeful that more faculty will use it to explore innovative ways of delivering courses or parts of courses.”

For more information about the Office of Instructional Design, call Smith, 903.565.5626.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.

 

 
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