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A Faculty Member’s Guide to Computers in Higher Education

People who enjoy this book will likely also be interested in Moursund's next free book A College Student's Guide to Computers in Education. It is currently being written, and part of the book is available.

From this Website you can download at no charge, and make non-commercial use of, the following book:

Moursund, D.G. (April 2007). A Faculty Member’s Guide to Computers in Higher Education. Access at

This book is mainly intended for people who teach in postsecondary colleges and universities. It is the ninth in a series of books written by Dave Moursund and made available (free) under a Creative Commons license.

PDF file of the April 2007 book, with minor corrections 5/10/07.

Microsoft Word file of the April 2007 book, with minor corrections 5/10/07.

References for material that might be used in a revision of the book.

Brief Summary

“Fortune favors the prepared mind.” (Louis Pasteur)

The unifying goal of this book is to help improve college and university education. The primary audience is people who teach college and university courses. This includes guest lecturers, graduate assistants, adjuncts, tenure-track faculty, tenured faculty, researchers who teach an occasional course, and others. When I say “you” in this book, I mean a person interested in and involved in improving the education of college students.

Two major aspects of computers in education are discussed in this book. The primary focus is on Information and Communication Technology (ICT).  Note that this is often called Information Technology (IT), but that term fails to capture the importance of the communication aspect of the computer technology field.

The secondary focus is on Computer and Information Science (CIS). CIS is a relatively new academic discipline, with its own collected body of knowledge and achievement. It also provides an important way of thinking, called computational thinking. This refers to human intelligence working together with computer capabilities (including artificial intelligence) to solve problems and accomplish tasks.

ICT can be thought of as the technological applications that come out of the theoretical foundations provided by CIS. ICT and CIS both contribute to the content of each academic discipline and to teaching and learning processes.

At the current time, our system of higher education is struggling to develop and integrate appropriate and effective uses of ICT and CIS. This is proving to be a challenge to every person involved in teaching or helping to teach college students. This book will help you to understand some of the problems and potentials of ICT and CIS. It suggests a number of things you can personally do to help to address these problems and achieve these potentials.

Dave Moursund

April 2007


References of Possible Use in Future Revisions

Boulton, Clint (March 5, 2007) Get Ready For The Data Dump. retrieved 3/5/07:

DeZure, D., Kaplan, M., and Deerman, M. (2001), Research on student notetaking: Implications for faculty and graduate student instructors. Retrieved 4/30/07: Quoting from the article:

Many studies of notetaking find that review of notes (one’s own, borrowed notes, or notes provided by the instructor) significantly improves recall of lecture material. Kiewra et al. (1991) found that students who take notes but do not review, earn lower exam scores than students who review notes prior to the exam. Additionally, students not present at the lecture but given notes to review (either the instructors’notes or notes taken by other students) did almost as well as the students who reviewed their own notes and significantly better than students who did not review.

Note by Moursund: The research supports the value of an instructor making notes available. However, I am somewhat suspicious of the overall research. The measurement of success is performance on tests made up by the instructor. If a student's goal is to score well on tests, then note taking and review of notes (self-taken, taken by other students, provided by the instructor) will help increase test scores. But, what about long term retention of important ideas, or doing well on tests not made by the instructor?

Notes provided by the instructor can be thought of as a condenced book written by the instructor.

Connexins (n.d.). Retrieved 5/23/07: Quoting from the Website:

Connexions is an environment for collaboratively developing, freely sharing, and rapidly publishing scholarly content on the Web. Our Content Commons contains educational materials for everyone — from children to college students to professionals — organized in small modules that are easily connected into larger collections or courses. All content is free to use and reuse under the Creative Commons "attribution" license.

OER Commons (n.d.). Open Educational Resources. Retrieved 5/23/07: Quoting from the Website:

OER Commons is a teaching and learning network of shared materials, from K-12 through college, from algebra to zoology, open to everyone. Open Educational Resources, or OER, offer new ways to engage with free-to-use learning content. Find college courses or K-12 lesson plans. Search lectures, labs, or syllabi that are open to adapt for your own use. Browse the Categories or Collections for what interests you. Many resources we point to have a Creative Commons license. Create a free login to tag, rate, review, comment, and save favorites to your own portfolio. See how others are using teaching and learning content. Join now!

Public Education Network (5/31/07). Quoting:

It has been said that a government's budget isn't only a statement of priorities, but also a reflection of a society's values. California's proposed budget reveals skewed priorities and hollow values. For the first time, and unique among large states, California will soon spend more on its prisons than on its public universities. It has been projected that over the next five years, the state's budget for locking up people will rise by nine percent annually, compared with its spending on higher education, which will rise only by five percent. By the 2012-2013 fiscal year, writes Maya Harris in the San Francisco Chronicle, $15.4 billion will be spent on incarcerating Californians, as compared with $15.3 billion spent on educating the state’s citizens. More prison spending will mean better pay for the highest paid, most politically influential prison personnel in the nation, as well as more prisons, but no one is certain it will result in a better corrections system. However, there's no uncertainty about the benefits that flow from investing in education. Nothing predicts future success better than a good education, and nothing guarantees failure more than the lack of one. The correlation between the lack of educational opportunities and imprisonment could not be more direct. We not only continue to feed the prison system at the expense of funding education, we've also blurred the lines separating the educational and criminal justice systems, creating a school-to-prison pipeline with a predictable and steady flow. Police have become an increasing presence in our public elementary, middle and high schools. Schools are spending millions of dollars to hire their own police forces or contracting with local authorities. Kids are routinely searched before being allowed into the building, under surveillance by video cameras in hallways and subjected to random searches of their backpacks and lockers.