CAL-laborate Volume 3 October 1999

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Computers in Teaching Initiative

The current phase of the Computers in Teaching Initiative (CTI) was launched in 1989 with the mission 'to maintain and enhance the quality of learning and increase the effectiveness of teaching through the application of appropriate learning technologies' in UK universities. In order to promote and support change in teaching practices, a network of 24 discipline-specific support centres was established, together with a Support Service to provide coordination. Each Centre was hosted by an appropriate university department, ensuring that the focus remained on the real priorities of teachers and learners. These centres covered a wide range of subjects, with centres for science distributed between the Universities of Surrey (Physics), Liverpool (Chemistry & Biology), and Birmingham (Mathematics).

The centres' brief has been:

  • to support academics who wish to use computers or other educational technology in their teaching; and
  • to act as an information resource and centre for expertise for the computer-aided teaching of science.
  • CTI Centres also maintained databases of resources for computer based teaching, many of which have been reviewed by lecturers in the field, and published regular newsletters. Contact with institutes was maintained through workshops and site visits, where interested educators could gain hands-on experience of a selection of the latest teaching software. For those educators who were unable to attend workshops or who wished to browse the available software at their leisure, CTI Centres have more recently maintained web-accessible databases of teaching software, both commercial and shareware. Furthermore, subject-specific mailing lists have been available to all teachers for open discussion about the use of computers and the impact on teaching techniques.

    The CTI service is being closed down early in the year 2000, and is being replaced by a "Learning and Teaching Support Network" that will subsume some of the CTI activities, as well as providing broader support for learning and teaching in higher education.

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    CAL-laborate Volume 3 October 1999

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