New OIT Directors
 

OIT has two new directors- Jonathan Leamon, previously a technology specialist in Instructional Technology, and Seth Rogers, previously the Associate Director of Desktop Systems. We’ve kept them quite busy since their promotions, but they took a quick break to answer a few questions about their vision for technology at Williams.

Jonathan Leamon – Director of Instructional Technology

Jonathan Leamon

How will you promote pedagogical use of technology at Williams?

“I feel strongly that technology doesn’t need to be promoted for its own sake: Technology is opening new opportunities for faculty and changing student expectations of their instructors. The role of the Instructional Technologist is to work with faculty to help them make informed choices as new tools become available.“

What is your vision for Instructional Technology at Williams?

“Williams is in a near unique position: Unlike schools that need technology to help distance-education students or students who are having trouble keeping up academically, at a school like Williams the reasons to use new technology in teaching are much more subtle. At Williams, some of the roles of technology are to help already capable students learn deeper or faster, to help faculty use the face time of the classroom better by off-loading material that doesn’t need direct faculty involvement, and, increasingly, to help faculty produce research or teaching tools that just wouldn’t be possible without computer support.”

What do you most want faculty to know about Instructional Technology?

“The range of services that the ITech group has to offer: Technology is becoming an integral tool of almost every discipline, and the ITech group has staff available to collaborate on many different kinds of projects, such as creating maps and data visualizations, developing presentation materials for conference or classroom use, facilitating communication with peers at other institutions or creating new tools for students to use to grasp complex material. Instructional Technology today is much more about the instruction and publishing than about technology.”

Seth Rogers -Director of Desktop Systems

Seth Rogers

What are some of your short and long term goals as the Director of Desktop Systems?

“Short term: Our goals in August and September are always focused around managing a successful start to the school year. New faculty and students show up at the end of August and need to be up and running before the start of classes- it’s a tremendous amount of work concentrated in a two week period. Long term: I hope to take a vacation someday.”

What is your vision for Desktop Systems at Williams?

“The goal is to achieve the unattainable balance in computers between ease of use, security, and reliability. And to provide a cooperative, friendly and helpful environment both for the Desktop staff and our patrons.”

What do you plan to change about Desktop Systems at Williams, and what do think should stay the same?

“It is clear we need to focus more of our efforts on computer security and training. Unfortunately we now live in a world where viruses, spyware, and phishing scams are money-making tools. Stealing information and identities is a business model. As for staying the same – it is critical that we maintain our human touch.”

How can Desktop Systems better contribute to the college’s mission?

“There is hardly an aspect of college life for faculty, staff and students that does not involve computers in some way. Mark Hopkins on a log may be the only exception. So we’ll plan on providing Mark with an iMac.”

What’s been the biggest challenge in adjusting to your new position?

“Seeing the forest for the trees is difficult when you are solving so many individual problems a day. Another challenge is that as security concerns arise it is now our responsibility to affect behavioral change in the way people use their computers – I used to just fix hardware.”

How will you encourage technical literacy among the Williams faculty and staff?

“The computer isn’t quite as mysterious as it once was. But if you are unsure about something, check Wikipedia, or Google. You can’t trust everything you read but you can still learn from the experience.”

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