New learning, teaching powerhouse created

December 02, 2004, vol. 31, no. 7
By Christopher Guly

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The amalgamation of the learning and instructional development centre (LIDC) and the eLearning innovation centre (eLINC) in November positions SFU as a teaching and learning powerhouse in Canada, according to LIDC director David Kaufman.

“This merger will see the university not only be recognized for the quality of its teaching, but also for the amount and quality of support we are able to give our faculty in support of excellence in teaching,” says Kaufman, who will head the new entity.

Formed two years ago when the Technical University of British Columbia (TechBC) became SFU's Surrey campus, eLINC collaborates with professors and subject-matter experts to develop course content for a blended learning environment that includes face-to-face and online instruction.

Based at the main campus in Burnaby, LIDC was established in 2001 and combined the previous centre for university teaching and instructional media centre to provide SFU with technical and media services, and to provide faculty and other instructional staff with new approaches to teaching and learning.

Having eLINC and LIDC - each of which employs about 20 people - join forces will reduce any overlap between the two, says eLINC director Ron Marteniuk, a member of SFU's learning technologies coordinating committee that recommended the administrative marriage. The new organization has yet to be named.

“If we can decrease redundancy, we can better target our resources to increase our contact with faculty.”

Both centres have already been working together on various projects, including the creation of online courses leading to a technology-focused master of business administration degree, a graduate diploma in business administration and a nutrition certificate offered through the school of kinesiology and the centre for distance education.

Kaufman is aiming to have a strategic plan outlining the new eLINC-LIDC infrastructure in place by February.

“We're embarking on a process that will support technology-enhanced classrooms of the future while building on the keen interest already shown toward technology.”

He says that recent SFU statistics indicate that an estimated 11,000 out of 19,000 undergraduate students use WebCT online course management system software to work on assignments and communicate with their professors, and more than 70 per cent of faculty members use computer-based technology for teaching.

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