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Georgine, Your questions are right on target.  Here at the University of
Maine at Augusta, our Learning Lab (a multipurpose computer classroom that
caters to developmental and 100-level classes, testing, workshops and
walk-ins) is in the last year of Title III funding, after which the ed.
tech. fee will support it and the folks in charge will have to decide to
keep the present focus or make a change.  I am in charge, and my background
is in developmental reading and writing.  I've learned a great deal about
technology on the firing line, and can troubleshoot many problems, but I do
my share of hollering for help, too.  We have a LAN Manager, a Technician,
and a Trainer on staff and all are wonderful. Our other walk-in lab has
student assistants, who can often answer simple questions when I can't.  We
also have a new facility in our library that includes Robotel, a program
that allows the instructor to control each computer. Those who use it must
be trained, and that room is open only to classes.

UMA has two other campuses with computer labs and classrooms.  In both
cases, the people in charge have technical skills but are not primarily
educators.  None of our facilities has people in charge who are competent
equally in both areas.  That is, as Shakespeare said, "..a consummation
devoutly to be wished." And I can't imagine such a job description coming
any time soon, unfortunately.  Technical skills are most desirable now, as
we create the appetite for technology.  Students pay a fee and they want the
machines to work. This often comes at a price:  no help with
homework/projects/papers or, worse, hostile help.  Sure, some aides are
fabulous, giving 150 per cent every time, and they are to be commended.  But
their effort should not be viewed as unusual, in my view.  Nor should we
expect that faculty will do it all.

In my dreams, I see us centralizing training for every student we employ,
providing them with ice-breaking skills, basic tutoring strategies, and a
repertoire of techniques and resources they can use to make students feel
that they have received good service.  We don't have to do homework to help
students.
Many schools have uniform student hiring and payment procedures.  Training
and monitoring would not stretch their budget.

At the same time, faculty should receive ongoing training in the use of
pc's, computer-aided presentation technology, and software applications.  We
do offer workshops in the last area, and will provide one-on-one assistance
in the first two, but it's not enough.

Anyone out there with a model program for integrating computer and teaching
skills?





Mary F. Leslie,
Director of Developmental Skills
University of Maine at Augusta
253 Augusta Civic Center
46 University Drive
Augusta, ME  04330-4910
(207) 621-3151
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http://www.uma.maine.edu