Announcing New Council on Educational Technology & Learning Innovation

in News, Noteworthy
October 16th, 2012

Boston University Community

Robert A. Brown, President
Jean Morrison, University Provost

Council on Educational Technology and Learning Innovation

October 12, 2012

Much has been written in recent years about the potentially transformative impact of new, technology-enabled teaching methods on higher education. From higher education analysts and leaders to the popular press, new initiatives, research, and commentary on this topic appear daily, expressing enthusiasm, delivering rebukes, and sounding alarms. Simultaneously, the recession has brought into focus the dialogue about the sustainability of our model of higher education and the cost disease caused by its lack of scalability to student demand.

Over the last seven years, Boston University has focused on established strategic priorities to strengthen our position as a great residential, private research university. We have made considerable progress in many of the priorities that have come from this focus. We believe it is time that we conduct an assessment of the opportunities that exist for Boston University to advance innovative teaching and learning through technology, and begin to chart a course for investments of our collective energy and resources in this area.
The Council on Educational Technology and Learning Innovation (CETLI) is being established as a University-wide group charged with discussing key assertions about the potential role of educational technology both in our on-campus, residential programs and as a means for reaching new learning communities via synchronous and asynchronous technologies. The Council is co- chaired by Professor Elizabeth Loizeaux, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Affairs, and Professor Azer Bestavros, Director of the Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering. The current membership of the Council, thus far, is listed below.

We start this activity from a position of strength, as Boston University is a leader in online education among our major private research university peers. Last year 4,400 online students registered in graduate and professional programs offered collectively by Metropolitan College, the College of Fine Arts, Sargent College and the School of Social Work, accounting for more than $37 million in gross revenue for the University. These efforts have employed innovative web-based formats, coupled with synchronous community-building tools to create novel but effective learning environments for non-traditional students.

Even with these leading programs, there is much to assess about the impact of educational technology, both on our traditional residential learning environment and our ability to reach new cohorts of graduate and undergraduate students. CETLI is intended as a forum of informed colleagues who can make recommendations to University leadership about how we should move forward to take best advantage of developing technologies in all our programs and become leaders in adoption and application.

The charge to the Council is to answer the following questions and others that they believe need to be addressed:

  1. How should Boston University use technology to transform undergraduate learning and teaching, including in large lecture courses? How should we balance synchronous and asynchronous, online and face-to-face learning in our residential setting? What are the implications of these transformations for faculty hiring, graduate student teaching, educational technology support, and campus planning?
  2. How should Boston University review current and develop new specialized online program offerings, especially in graduate and professional education, to assure the highest quality and to maximize competitiveness in the emerging environment?
  3. What courses or programs, if any, should Boston University target to offer on a global scale in a massively open format? What would be the primary goals of that initiative? How could this material be leveraged in our on-campus programs?
  4. In light of new opportunities for online learning, should Boston University explore competency-based assessment and alternative paths to undergraduate degrees, enabling faster, less expensive degree completion? If so, in what areas? Should we explore providing new alternative learning credentials, such as badges, in any areas?
  5. Given the strategy developed by the Council, how should BU organize and allocate resources to provide educational technology guidance, course development services, and support for faculty?

You will be hearing more about their plans for engaging with our students, staff, and faculty in the months ahead.

We look forward to the recommendations of the CETLI.

Council on Educational Technology and Learning Innovation Membership


Elizabeth Loizeaux
Associate Provost for Undergraduate Affairs, Professor of English

Azer Bestavros
Director of the Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering, Professor of Computer Science, CAS


Jack Ammerman
Associate University Librarian for Digital Initiatives and Open Access

Andrea Berlin, Professor, CAS

Nancy Coleman, MET
Director of Online Learning

Chrysanthos Dellarocas, Professor, SMG
Chair of Information Systems

Bennett Goldberg, Professor, CAS/ENG
Physics, CAS, and Biomedical Engineering, ENG

Janelle Heineke, Professor, SMG
Chair of Operations and Technology Management
Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching

Vijay Kanabar, Associate Professor, MET
Computer Science and Administrative Sciences
Director of Project Management Programs

James Katz, Professor, COM
Director of Emerging Media Division

Eric Kolaczyk, Professor, CAS
Mathematics and Statistics

Wayne LaMorte, Professor, SPH
Assistant Dean for Education

Kevin Lang, Professor, CAS

Thomas Little, Professor, ENG
Associate Dean of Educational Initiatives

Tracy Schroeder, IS&T
Vice President of Information Services & Technology and Chief Information Officer

Scott Solberg, Professor, SED
Counseling Psychology
Associate Dean for Research

Selim Ünlü, Professor, ENG
Special Assistant to the Provost and President for the India Initiative
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs, ENG

David Walker, Professor, LAW
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

John Wiecha, Professor, MED
Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs
Director, Office of Medical Education, Academic Affairs


Judith Sandonato
Special Assistant to the President

Comments are closed.