WMU News

Teachers can get tips through new Web site

April 1, 1999

KALAMAZOO--Educators anywhere can pick up teaching ideas and innovations as easily as logging on the Internet, thanks to a new Web site created by Western Michigan University's Center for Teaching and Learning.

The site, <www.wmich.edu/teachlearn> , was launched in March and provides a forum for instructors to learn, share and discuss issues involving teaching. The site includes multi-faceted subjects related to the improvement of teaching and includes material from contributors as diverse as WMU President Elson S. Floyd, WMU faculty and undergraduate students.

"The important thing about the site is it creates a learning community," says Dr. Peter Saunders, director of WMU's Center for Teaching and Learning. "It provides a chance for educators to dialogue with each other about issues that affect their teaching."

Among the topics featured on the Web site are articles about disability awareness, medical emergencies in the classroom, understanding students, developing courses on-line, study skills and assessment. A special feature is the site's "Net Forum" through which faculty can share their ideas and opinions with colleagues from around the world regarding different aspects of teaching. In addition, the site includes an editorial by Floyd about the importance of the center.

Saunders says the advantage of the Web site is its ease of use. "Accessibility is the key thing," he says. "The World Wide Web is right at our computers. As long as the address is remembered, the knowledge is at the audiences' fingertips. No more newsletters or papers to misplace; there is only an address to bookmark."

It is Saunder's plan that the site, which is periodically updated, will utilize technology to offer multi-media instruction and information. "Technology has improved to the extent we can provide sound and video along with text," he says. "We can envision including video reels online with text explanation of great instructors' techniques for teaching their classes. Ultimately these technologies will create a stand-alone learning module online."

Formerly known as the Office of Faculty Development Services, The Center for Teaching and Learning supports faculty members in their efforts to achieve professional excellence, with a special focus on teaching excellence. The center helps faculty members, graduate teaching assistants and academic departments through a variety of programs, services and resources.

For more information, contact Saunders at the Center for Teaching and Learning, 3306 Sangren Hall,Western Michigan University, (616) 387-5305; or by email at: <peter.saunders@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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