PKAL Faculty for the 21st Century

Louis Keiner

F21 Class of 2004 Statement

Louis Keiner is Assistant Professor of Physics at Coastal Carolina University.

I am writing to request membership in Project Kaleidoscope’s Faculty for the 21st Century community. I believe that membership in this community will be beneficial for my growth as an effective faculty member, and have positive effects on my department and college. I have taught for six years at Coastal Carolina University, having recently being promoted to Associate Professor. In addition, I have just been appointed to be director of the Center for Effective Teaching and Learning (CETL) - a position that will be greatly aided by the resources of Project Kaleidoscope.

My personal interests intersect with those of Project Kaleidoscope, especially in the area of the application of technology to effective learning. A large part of my responsibilities as director of the CETL are to direct the acquisition and deployment of new educational technologies campus-wide, and to train faculty and direct the assessment of these new technologies. I have attended two Project Kaleidoscope assemblies dealing with educational technologies (at the U.S. Air Force Academy and the University of Colorado); these meetings have helped me greatly in my own use of technology in the service of teaching.

Technology has great promise to transform the educational process. Effective use of technology has the potential to increase student understanding of science beyond what was possible a few years ago. At the same time, however, the indiscriminate application of technology runs the risk of wasting time, money and other resources - if it is ineffective.

This is what I see as the primary questions and challenges for our college (and possibly others):
Identifying - Which technologies will be effective in improving student learning? There is a bewildering number of possibilities - which ones are appropriate for us? Along with this comes the question of long-range planning - how do we integrate technology into our long-range plans when technology is changing rapidly and has a life-cycle that is much shorter than the buildings that it inhabits?
Implementing - coordinating the financial and human resources needed to effectively apply the technology - Is it cost effective? Can we get persons needed for support and training? Can we convince faculty members to use it?
Assessing - critically looking at the effectiveness of the technology. It may be pretty, but does it actually have a positive effect on student learning? Can the lessons that we learn at our college be transferred elsewhere?

These are my thoughts and questions at this stage in my career. I believe that Project Kaleidoscope, and the Faculty for the 21st Century community, can assist me in finding answers to these. I hope that you look favorably on my application.