David Colburn, Interim Provost
As you are aware, the University of Florida has undertaken a significant effort to upgrade the technology infrastructure in order to support its teaching and research mission. In addition, we have launched an effort to support the faculty use of technology in the classroom. The Office of Academic Affairs now proposes a second stage in our planning for the use of this infrastructure, one designed for enhancing students’ computer skills. We call this program Access to Information Technology (AIT).
The goals of AIT are to identify those computer skills, which are most relevant, for the various curricula offered at the University and which best prepare our students for future employment. The program is intended to enhance learning, not solely to provide training. We seek to develop a program to provide support to faculty to incorporate technology into the curriculum. Demonstration of computer skills may take many forms. In some instances, basic level skills may best be taught through general education courses. Requirements for more advanced skills may vary by discipline and skill and be taught within courses or learned independently with support from the University. While the University currently offers a number of alternatives for attaining computer literacy, AIT will combine and supplement these alternatives to create a comprehensive, coordinated program to ensure that students leave UF with a solid foundation in information technology appropriate for the workplace. The Office of Academic Affairs has enlisted the support of the Office of Instructional Resources (OIR) to develop, with the faculty, a comprehensive computer literacy program. OIR will work with the Colleges to identify the relevant skills that should be a goal for all students, and the more advanced skills that students in particular disciplines require. OIR will develop a pilot program, with the Colleges, for supporting student learning outside the classroom. This program will provide a collaborative learning environment in the Teaching Center that will target the computer skills adopted by the University as a goal for all students. The program may take many forms. For example, the Teaching Center may offer supplementary instruction outside of class to support computer skills taught in particular courses. Or, the Teaching Center may provide more support for more generic computer skills that students may choose to learn independently through the NetG courses or other on campus training programs.