UW News

October 3, 2000

UW honored for use of information technology in education

News and Information

The University of Washington has received the first national award for excellence in campus-wide programs in information technologies that support teaching and learning.

The award, presented by EDUCAUSE, an organization representing more than 1,750 higher education institutions and more than 180 corporations, recognized the UWired program for unleashing the instructional potential of new information technologies in a way that is sustainable across the entire institution.

“Our Recognition Committee was very impressed with the many UW initiatives that have created a thoughtfully considered, mission-directed atmosphere of collaborative use of technologies to support your teaching and learning efforts,” said John E. Bucher, director of information technology at Oberlin College and chair of the EDUCAUSE Recognition Committee.

UWired is a collaboration among four campus units-Undergraduate Education, University Libraries, Computing & Communications, and the Office of Educational Partnerships, as well as with UW faculty.

UWired’s major accomplishments include:

  • The Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology-a faculty-oriented drop-in demonstration facility for research, professional development and outreach;
  • Catalyst, a Web-based initiative that encourages innovation in teaching and learning through the use of technology by providing online tools and resources, available anytime and anywhere.
  • Ongoing efforts to improve student engagement with technology and information literacy, through Freshman Interest Groups and information literacy instruction;
  • The Program for Educational Transformation through Technology, which conducts research on the science of learning, with the results disseminated through Catalyst, thus promoting exploration of next-generation technologies and strategies for teaching and learning.

The UWired partnership has extended services and support to thousands of students and faculty. Nearly half of all freshmen are enrolled in a weekly one-credit seminar, “University Resources, Information and Technology,” which introduces students to university resources and helps improve their information technology skills.

Faculty workshops conducted through the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology have served more than 2,500 participants, and the Center itself has logged as many as 1,800 educator visits a year. That number is dropping, however, due in large measure to the success of Catalyst, which provides the same kind of support on-line.

Praise for UWired has come from the campus and beyond. “UWired has fundamentally and permanently altered the culture of education at the University of Washington, through the use of state-of-the-art information technology in a unique and visionary, but easily replicated way,” said Ed Lazowska, chair of Computer Science and Engineering

“UWired is the healthiest strategy for the development of undergraduate learning communities I have seen in the country,” said Philip Tompkins, former executive director of libraries at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. “The quality of the participants reflects on the seriousness of the institution as evidenced by the unique collaborations of the Undergraduate Education Center, with the University Librarians, their fellow computarians and others.”