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Andy Knight
Marisa Bortolussi
David Kahane
Connie Varhangen
Janice Williamson
Open stage is a place for Arts instructors to share ideas and showcase their efforts in using technology in their teaching. Interviews were conducted with each instructor. They talked about the innovative ways technology is incorporated into their courses, and their perspectives and experiences as teachers and researchers. These stories are full of insights and inspiration.

Designed and maintained by Arts Technologies for Learning Centre, University of Alberta.

For question or comment, please contact Tracy Chao


Bruce's Responses:

What are the benefits for your students?
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Do your students resist the change and the new course format?
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How do you foresee the future of instructional technology in your discipline?
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What advice will you give to your colleague if they want to start using technology in teaching?
(RealMedia, Windows Media)

Nothing But the Blues: A Strong Sense of Learning Community
Interview with Bruce Stovel

How about an anthology of blues songs for a course on blue music and poetry? Professor Bruce Stovel started his English 483 course web site with this idea. He has long wanted to teach a course on blues music and poetry with non-traditional methods. He believes that students should be engaged in exploring blues as an art form. - a performed poetry . He thought a dynamic class supplemented by the Web could help him achieve this goal.

In 1999, the adventure began. Bruce designed the course with many activities: some are classroom-based; some web-based. The first two hours of the class is devoted to lecture and group discussion. Students listened to music CDs, discussed their discoveries in groups and then present to the entire class. The last hour of the class was organized as 'fun' time - 8 live performances by local blues musicians. On one occasion, the class was to interview a well-know musician in Virginia via a live chat room on the course web site. Although the plan fell through due to technical failure on the part of the interviewee, the interview was conducted through telephone. The course web site was also used as the alternative vehicle for communication: students submitted their assignments online, conducted dynamic discussion and consulted a variety of resources posted on the web pages. Bruce received students' weekly assignments, which were transcriptions and commentaries of blues songs, electronically and compiled them into "Nothing But the Blues". This anthology becomes the most valuable resource on the course web site and served as the core content for the course. In short, 'old' as well as 'new' technologies were integrated into this course to enrich students' learning.

Students were very positive about their learning experiences. Although some students were apprehensive toward this course format in the beginning, almost all students realized the advantages of sharing their work in the anthology and using technology to communicate with one another. They perceived their contributions to the anthology as a form of publication, thus demonstrated a high degree of professionalism. They learned the intriguing subtlety and quality of blues music through the different perspectives musicians and fellow students brought to the class either online or offline. They also made very good use of the music resources in the libraries and on the Internet.

Bruce is convinced that technology has become essential in his teaching. He also found that learning how to use technology in his course is challenging and rewarding. He is appreciative of the support he had from various units on campus.

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